Looking for what makes us human is never easy, but it is one of the difficult challenges new performance, Carrion does achieve.
At the centre of this show is Carrion, a shape-shifting, post-human spectre that blurs the lines between human, animal and machine, and which speaks in multiple forms and languages.
Creator and lead performer, Justin Shoulder says the half-human figure is something that we are coming to understand more now that technology is on the rise. “It’s a show that combines puppetry, show, dance, and natural performance, and you can only see it once and then it’s gone. You could call it the muppets meets the terminator.”
Performing in a dream-like stage, the show is darkly sensuous, creating an imaginary world that is hauntingly brilliant animate, and that makes a statement about our modern excesses of simulation, consumption and worship, in an age filled with excess and acceleration.
“The show is partly a response and about my anxiety with the current political and environmental climate, and a take from that perspective. It has a lot to do with our position in the West and our position with the landscape and technology.”
Exploring much of the transformation that is possible in humans, Carrion expresses some of the
different personalities possible in one human being through identities like being queer, migrant, spiritual or intercultural.
Carrion (8 min excerpt 2017)
Aware that this show is not light-hearted, Justin says while the story does not have a traditional narrative, it does have a conclusion. “[The show] definitely has an arch of transforming and transfiguring - and it does have a narrative that is to do with evolution and devolution.”
As an artist who is a founding member of queer artist collective, The Glitter Militia and Club Ate (a gang of Asia-pacific sissies) Justin has performed and exhibited internationally, including most recently his collection of video works, Ex Nilalang, for AsiaTOPA and First Sight at Museum Macan in Jakarta.
Keen to push the boundaries of everyday performance, Justin says the audience will be sure to take some kind of meaning from the performance. “I guess there’s despair and hope,” he says.
See Carrion for yourself at The Arts House until the 30th of June.
Location: The ArtsHouse (521 Queensberry Street, North Melbourne)
Dates: 27 - 30 June 2018
Times: times vary – see website for details