TBA (Portland's Time Based Art festival)
kicked off at Pioneer Square on Thursday night with a free performance by Streb and an emotional send off celebration for Kristy Edmunds, whom the tribute video repeatedly called a "Pied Piper". Kristy, PICA's beloved founder leaves PICA and Portland for Melbourne Australia to peddle her particular brand of rabble rousing for their performing arts festival. So raise a glass to the toast of the town this week. -I.P.
The Streb performance was physically elemental and each set tended to focus on formal concerns like; spinning, squirming, gravity, slipping and sliding, cramped quarters, being tied together etc. Some of these were exciting like, "Fly" and the piece where plexiglas wall was repeatedly splatted
into by the running performers.
That piece could have easily looked like spandex clad mime shtick but instead succeeded in exploring the clear wall as a physical restraint. Other works like "Spin" involved aerial hoops and the out of synch choreography didn't seem to translate in the large outdoor space.
Luckily, the ending piece of each set seemed to transcend the more elemental studies preceding them. The "Gauntlet" concluded the first set and the performers braved the swinging cinderblock pendulums with a panache that reminded one of Minoan bull jumping. By braving these swinging threats with training and choreography the performance gave me a little more faith in humanity's ability to face the challenges of the moment.
The conclusion of the second set "Fly" was nearly as engrossing. Strapped to a large metal device that allowed one performer to soar through the air like the martial arts warriors in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. It looked like a hell of a lot of fun. At the Bauhaus, Paul Klee taught his multi-disciplinary students that in order to master composition one must learn when to obey gravity, modify it or disregard it entirely. This piece certainly benefited from a similar type of formal exploration... besides the effects of gravity are something that all humans can relate to. -J.J.
Streb performance interpreted by Laura Ross-Paul:
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