LOOKING BACK AT MPA-B: Extraordinary Aliens by Alexa Wilson
During the European Media Art Festival in Osnabruck , and the Month of Performance Art Berlin we were overwhelmed with an abundance of different types of work from all over the world. This complete immersion was fantastic, but left little space for reflection and clarity.
Our blog has been a little quiet of late, as we have been putting a lot of energy toward getting our first ever Kickstarter project together. In a way, this has been really good for us as it has allowed all the work we saw over the last couple of months to really sink in. For one reason, or another, some work needs to be re-visited. Sometimes an image or a question, or just a memory of a sensation, lingers long after the work itself.
On a warm and humid night towards the end of the Month of Performance Art we found ourselves at Osho Studio, Berlin to watch a performance by the New Zealand artist Alexa Wilson. After the performances we had experienced throughout MPA-B, characterised by the quiet, unpolished actions of the solitary performer, this performance production was something new. Alexa Wilson is a cross-disciplinary artist working with dance, video, music and performance art and her work Extraordinary Aliens utilises all these media in a sometimes funny, sometimes beautiful, often ‘in yo’ face sensory overload’, live spectacle.
“This work explores cultural, physical and emotional ‘outsiderness’ and ‘insiderness’. It questions the elite power structures deeply embedded within our global and communal society in relation to the identity of bodies and the empowerment of self.
Influenced by Zizek’s book Violence, Wolfgang Suetlz’s Transart lecture on Cultural Translation, cross-cultural friendships and relationships, moving between borders.”
In Extraordinary Aliens, Wilson moves fearlessly between opposing mediums, creating a tension which is integral to the work. This brave approach to creating a hybrid work is particularly interesting for us as we embark on a project which, for the first time, really brings our experimental performance and video together with our documentary filmmaking. There is a fear in stepping outside of established genres, but we feel, more and more that the borderlands are the most fertile areas for real expression.
For me, Alexa Wilson’s Extraordinary Aliens was unclassifiable. In a way, this was its power. The chaotic and brutal sat alongside the simple and beautiful, and created a new image – something deeper and more complex. Despite there being upwards of 13 people involved in the work, Wilson’s vision is fierce and independent. Nothing is off limits, and that is what l take away!
Photos by Paula Billups