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Performance: Aisha Devi feat Asian Dope Boys at the Barbican

Text by CLOT Magazine

On the 7th of
October 2018, Barbican Hall gives its stage to Estela Oliva, who as Clon presents two London premieres, jointly titled ‘New Rituals’. This one-night show features the newly-commissioned Aetherave and also Fist Piece. The two main themes that both of these audio-visual performances share urge us to rethink our identity and spirituality in the post-digital, post-gender and post-human sense.

In Aetherave the sounds by Aïsha Devi set the rhythm for Asian Dope Boys’ visceral body movements. At the same time, the founder of this dance group, Chinese artist Tianzhuo Chen, complements the show with his surrealistic imagery. Aïsha Devi’s work resonates with rave culture, while personally, the artist very often refers to meditation and spirituality. Having frequently collaborated with Asian Dope Boys in the past, Aïsha Devi matches their spatial frequencies while expressing the ADB’s colourful world of magic mysticism in her distinct sonic practice.

Fist Piece, on the other hand, unpacks the feminine being and its ongoing becoming. After the global premiere at Berlin Atonal in 2017, Pan Daijing restages her mesmerising performance for Barbican’s ‘New Rituals’, continuing her collaboration with dancer Gregori Homa and visual artist Ekaterina Reinbold. Through choreography, visuals and sound, as an assemblage featuring a self-starred and co-directed film, Fist Piece, celebrates independent femininity and exposes its horrors, loneliness, and weakness, but also power and black magic.

Estela shared that in New Rituals, I am interested in exploring how spirituality and identity are changing in today’s culture. I am particularly keen to look at how artists in electronic music and experimental visual art interpret this change. Aisha’s work is a great example as it’s rooted in spiritual journeys. It references ancient rituals from the East while taken forward with a strong influence from club culture and digital aesthetics.  

Hybridizing the grotesque and the kitsch with the other-worldly and the mystic, ‘New Rituals’ will turn the contemporary cacophony into melancholic spirituality. Aetherave sharing the stage with Fist Piece is an unrepeatable chance for the viewer to get immersed in such a visually stunning experience while at the same time embodying the amalgam of sonic reverberations that will remain life-long bodily memories.

(Photo courtesy of the Barbican)
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