Dance to the Infinite. Dance to Forget.
An Apocalyptic Rave on Mount Olympus
Reviewed by Brendan Daynes
Chunky Moves new work displaces audiences into an apocalyptic dance party that stimulates all of the senses.
Walking into The Substation to view Chunky Move’s latest immersive experience, it is clear the avant-garde world makes us all inquisitive. The audience enters the space and is encouraged to explore the dark industrial building that is set to host an apocalyptic dance party of epic proportions.
The central piece of the set, which could stand alone as a contemporary sculpture, occupies the middle of the space. Callum Morton has designed something that piques the interest of all who wander around taking the monstrosity in from all angles. This massive centrepiece is the merging of many things; from one angle it looks like a planet from outer space, with various textures on its surface, but from another a clear god-like face is depicted, complete with eyes that light up with smoke billowing from all orifices.
Surrounding the centrepiece is a halo of television screens constantly flickering images manipulated by Kris Moyes. These miscellaneous images, some confronting and disturbing, include news media, beautiful landscapes, and pop art as well as other seemingly disconnected visuals which are on a loop as the audience begins to anticipate the start of the performance.
Bosco Shaw’s lighting cleverly highlights the room with juxtaposition; the set is dark and looks like something from a Mad Max film but is strategically illuminated with Star Wars inspired light sabre fluorescent light tubes.
When the seven androgynous dancers enter the space and climb atop the set there is a slight change in mood. The curiosity and anticipation of the audience turns to excitement as the dancers start to climb, pose and slither all over the set culminating in a group with gladiator-like figures standing atop a rock ready for battle.
It is from here that we are thrust into the pulsating energy of the dance party. The thumping soundscape of Chiara Kickdrum is an eclectic mix of a variety of genres, sometimes manic but at other times more methodical and always heavy on the base. The beats compliment and highlight the movement of the dancers, as do the costumes, designed by P.A.M. The bright cyber-style costumes perfectly depict the fashions of rave culture and add another layer to this visual melting pot of information being thrust in the audience’s face.
As the journey continues there is hardly enough time to absorb it all, with the visuals continuing on the screen, the beats thumping and the dancers moving quickly all over and around the set. The loose choreography of Antony Hamilton has clear inspiration from vogueing, waacking and rave and is executed with just the right amount of aggression, precision, and animation by the dancers.
Just as the beads of sweat start to drip from the dancer’s faces they are given a moment of reprieve, the music lulls and the audience is given a moment to catch their breath and move to a new vantage point before the beat drops again and we are back in the middle of something that resembles an all night dance party.
This cycle is repeated for almost an hour and just as it started it ends, with things slowing down and the dancers exiting like exhausted robots void of the high energy and emotion we just witnessed.
Just like the subculture of raves, Yung Lung is not for the faint hearted. With fast-paced, repetitive electronic music and accompanying light shows, this immersive experience blends music, art and social ideals into performance art. While the rave culture is not for everybody, Yung Lung provides insight into a culture that has to not only be seen but experienced to be appreciated.