“Junkspaces”, this is what architect Rem Koolhaas in his essay of the same name called the soulless, uniform spaces in which we are moving more and more often these days. Shopping centres, airports, conference halls...they've all become so superficial and similar to each other that we have lost an important aspect of human creativity in them, according to Koolhaas.
In his new performance 4, the world-famous Argentinian director Rodrigo García investigates with his company Humain Trop Humain from Montpellier how architecture and use of space influence the human being. What's more he also uses a quote by Rem Koolhaas (about modern cities) as subtitle for his own performance : “Incredible adventures for the brain, the senses and the erogenous zones.” Quite promising...
4 is probably the most offensive piece of theatre that I have seen in some time. Some audience members got upset at the sight of chickens in tiny shoes, getting shoved down one guy's trousers and being placed atop a guitar as another guy rocked out. Other audience members were a bit shocked by the two young girls dressed up like they were in the Minipops. Others walked out when an audience member was bundled into a sleeping bag and interrogated about her sex life.
Most of the audience had a jolly laugh, which suggests most of the audiences are fucking idiots.
García is clearly up to some heavy provocative shit: I'm still wondering whether I ought to have pulled an Audience on the show (for new readers, this refers to the time I lobbed a shoe at the stage during a performance, then had a big row with the actor). In the case of the chickens, far worse stuff happens in slaughter-houses, and it's a pretty easy game for García: upset by the mistreatment of animals are we? Then go vegan, schmuck. And by the way, my actors are about to ignore a woman's 'no' and dry hump her on stage. Fancy getting worked up by that, eh?
Because I didn't follow the words (performed in Spanish, French subtitles, and my French is all about pommes sur ordinateurs and le cheval dort at the moment). I missed much of what the show was about. So I got my share of horror from the two girls...
So, they doll them up all sexy like, get them on-stage where they do a dance - yes, it's the sexualisation of pre-teens - and then one of the cast encourages them to pose in front of a video screen. It's like watching grooming in action (and since these are real young girls and since it is unlikely they really understand what is happening, or if they do they have been made aware of a horror and that's just as bad and...).
Okay, it comments on the way that women are made into objects when they are still girls (questions of agency arise, but these are two girls who look very young, they don't get agency in the way, say, a teenager might)... but grooming is exposed as a process that makes abuse look like it is fun... hey, everybody, we are having a party!
I still don't know what to think.