In the middle of a ballet of vehicles – here, instruments of repression here as much as they are objects of fascination – highly charged, rebellious bodies mix together. While dancers indulge in the jerky movements of hard dances popularised on YouTube, others stick together to better resist any order to disperse. Further on, a vandalised limo is the centre of a timeless kissing contest. All around this new raft of the medusa, a street cleaning ballet erases the slogan “tomorrow is cancelled” that had been tagged on the floor a few minutes earlier. The camera continues to film and you never know what side of the screen you’re on, whether you’re in the middle of a demonstration or a performance of it.
THE BEAST is Chapter 3 in the performative fresco of The Master’s Tools.
A vandalised limo is the centre of a timeless kissing contest. All around this new raft of the medusa, a street cleaning ballet erases the slogan “tomorrow is cancelled” that had been tagged on the floor a few minutes earlier. The Beast is the nickname Donald Trump has given his limo. A symbol of the world of the finance and of the 1%, the new fetish of modernity. In the past the poor couldn’t see the rich. Now there’s no distance between them, the proliferation of screens and speed of communications are reducing the planet to a village where everything is close by and instantaneous, where desires and frustrations, failures and successes, inclusion and exclusion simmer as if in a pressure cooker. The limo is a bubble, a protected, regressive place cut off from the real world, like the world of luxury and the obscene pay with which the moguls of contemporary capitalism surround themselves.
During the US presidential elections, riots broke out in major cities in the United States and, limos, a symbol of established power, were vandalised. Some of them had “WE THE PEOPLE” written on them, the first few words of the American constitution.
Kissing contests in the United States are competitions to win cars. They are broadcast live on the internet and on TV, and their number has proliferated in the last few years. To start with, these competitions involved touching a car for as long as possible before winning it. Following their success triggered by energetic video reports on social networks, the competitions turned into “kissing contests”. So it’s now all about kissing the car’s bodywork. Referees check that the competitors haven’t fallen asleep and that both lips are touching the car. Carmakers capitalise on individuals in need and stage a form of debasement for their product.
This form is reprised here by the performers, but the scene is less Manichaean. Are they embracing an object of luxury and power or its destruction? This ambivalent position ensures the performance oscillates between debasement and disillusioned rebellion, both symbols of our time. The various characters are embodied by several performers so that a rolling movement is created that allows them to manage time as they wish.
All around the limousine, performers in cleaners’ uniforms spray “TOMORROW IS CANCELLED” on the floor, an oxymoronic slogan used during various rebellions that reflects the general indifference to current struggles. Later the same performers, the writers of the graffiti on the floor, start a ballet of machines and push the cleaning machines to erase what they’ve just written. A way of showing that the same questions in society are eternally being repeated, using the continuous loop of the rebellion to challenge us about its real power for change.