Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Just Another Raleigh Friday Night: Part I - Granite In Reverse (7/14/17)

When I moved here about a decade ago, downtown Raleigh was a dead zone.  True, I was busy with two much younger kids and a wife.  I get out much more these days, as the former two are now much older, and the latter is no more... well no more my wife anyway, somebody else's :).  But even busy as I was with domesticity, when we managed to get downtown, there was NOTHING.  No events, no galleries, not even a decent restaurant (trailblazers excepted, I know there were a some brave pioneering spaces).

Now, it seems you can't throw a stick without that stick hitting something that challenges your artistic preconceptions or sates your creative palate.   One recent Friday night was a case in point.

I've appreciated the breath of fresh air that Ginger Wagg and Wild Actions have brought to the scene lately.  Wild Actions is a collective of performance artists, usually featuring Wagg moving silently and exploring a space in various ways (depending on the piece), accompanied by music, props, films, etc.  You might have seen Reflex Arc (Wagg and Crowmeat Bob on sax) opening for a band. Whatever the aim of the given piece--admittedly not always clear to me--you always come away with a different appreciation for the space, for sound (or silence), and for what art can be.

This time, the theme was somewhat more concrete (pun intended).  Granite in Reverse was a collaboration between Wagg and filmmaker Jaclyn Bowie.  It was inspired by Bowie's film, Geij, a short in which "a poisoned atmosphere is restored by a plant and its seeds."  In Granite... Wagg crawled and climbed around Exchange Plaza, stretching tendrils, leaves, and seeds over the cement and brick surfaces.  You could imagine in hundreds or thousand of years, that is inevitably what will happen... granite will degrade, nature will return.  On top of that, the "plant" offered the viewers a bounty!  Wagg placed little tamales of what tasted like corn and coconut.  Then, we placed the husks into a nearby sculpture, which took them in, "digested" them, and kicked out little pellets of totally natural um... fertlizer! (see video clips below).  It was a humorous end to represent the circle which will inevitably claim all that we, as humans, do.  Curiously, filmmaker Bowie was nowhere to be seen... ;)

As alluded earlier, there was a lot going on around downtown this night.  I caught Granite In Reverse before heading over to Kings for some live music, then Slim's for some DJ action.  More on that in Part II...

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