This week, we’re proud to highlight an inspiring project in development: Cloud Eye Control’s Half Life. This exciting new work will premiere at REDCAT in January 2015. If you’ve never seen a Cloud Eye Control piece before, you won’t want to miss this stirring and vibrant examination of life in an age of catastrophe and decay. If you have seen a Cloud Eye Control piece before, you won’t be surprised that it hybridizes film, theater, and music to explore its intrepidly humanistic theme.
Inspired by the blog posts of Japanese housewives on the opposite side of the world after the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, this is an elegy for an unsafe and nervous world. Using Cloud Eye Control’s signature combination of animation, performance, and music, Half Life will be an imagistic, visceral show with the rawness of a requiem and the energy of a rock concert. The performance will feature custom built video screens, multiple video projectors, and live-feed video using animations of the sublime and unsettling worlds of decay. There will also be original music and vocals, performed live.
Cloud Eye Control (composed of Miwa Matreyek, Anna Oxygen, and Chi-wang Yang) premiered their last piece, Under Polaris, to great acclaim in 2009. The Los Angeles Times called it “a transcendently spectacular piece of theater,” while LAist called it “a multidimensional, seductively cinematic experience.” That piece also premiered at REDCAT, and went on to perform in Paris (Exit Festival), Austin (Fusebox Festival), Tulsa (New Genres Festival), and Santiago (Santiago A Mil International Festival).
It’s been a long time coming for this eagerly anticipated new work from one of the most dynamic performance groups in Los Angeles. The three met at Cal Arts while enrolled in different graduate programs, and each has achieved significant individual success, whether in theater (Yang), music (Oxygen), or animation (Matreyek). But none of their work is quite so easily categorized, because their collaboration with each other has started to influence their individual art. “It seems like there has been a full circle where initially we all had such specific métiers we were very clear about what each of us were contributing,” says Anna Oxygen, but “now we have each evolved in our personal work, have gotten incredible at communicating and can basically have a good interplay of giving feedback and then taking space to create independently.”
Half Life will offer plenty that will be new for audiences, but it will also, to borrow Sean Uyehara’s language when he encountered their work at the San Francisco International Film Festival, “tug at the boundaries of what’s possible with film and video.” Add to that: music, live performance, technology in live performance, and honest exploration of the relationship of technology to embodied experience. At the heart of it all is the daily human tussle in the wake of decay and disaster. The Fukushima Daiichi disaster was the largest nuclear catastrophe since Chernobyl, and it will take decades to comprehend its full effect.
As Oxygen says: “We are so constantly bombarded by information and then we have our own bodies and how they respond to our environment. There is a tension and liminal space where these intersect that I find fascinating. Can information and propaganda about our health actually affect how we feel? How do we know who to listen to in a world of cacophonous noise and constant rules about health and toxicity? On the other hand how do we listen to our bodies? Is self-diagnosis actually a worthwhile approach to health? These are all personal to me because of my lifestyle and the perpetual sense among myself and friends of mine that we need to constantly better ourselves. There is also a very palpable culture of fear that I relate to directly and also am trying to bring into the [performance]. To me this is the core of the work.”
Audiences can expect to feel the disconcerting nature of someone whose body is breaking down, while experiencing the beautiful and surreal imagery and sonic textures of a toxic landscape. The January premiere at REDCAT will be an event you won’t want to miss. In the meantime, there are only two more days to support their Hatch Fund campaign, which offers a menu of perks directly from the artists:
Post by Will Arbery
Half Life is produced and managed by Los Angeles Performance Practice