Here and Now

A newly renovated downtown theater space offers a glimpse of projects in progress

Less dizzying was Adam Matta's enjoyably silly Makeshift, a multimedia evening designed to show off Matta's various abilities, most notably his human beatboxing, a talent insufficiently celebrated since the early days of rap and the Police Academy films. Matta's show lacks context or coherence—narrative, thematic, procedural—though it does feature Coptic rap, matchbox car animations, and (shades of Yves Klein) painting using a dirt bike's wheels dipped in glossy black. But his ability to remix his own voice is remarkable, at first singing over a synced beat and then slowing it down, speeding it up, dubbing, scratching, even using the layrngeal equivalent of a wah-wah pedal. He's wonderful to watch in these moments, right hand on the mic, left hand flailing in time, drops of spit and sweat flying off him. He must get terribly dehydrated. However, he proves significantly less sweaty and less absorbing when demonstrating his mad figure-drawing skillz [sic].

The wheel deal: image from Makeshift
courtesy of The Karpel Group
The wheel deal: image from Makeshift

Details

Culturemart
Various Artists
Here Arts Center
145 Sixth Avenue
212-352-3101

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Like mid-renovation Here, these pieces were very much works in progress. In Routine Hearing, a much anticipated video component failed to play; in Makeshift, both hand and body mics frequently fell. And Hal Eagar's Automaton Repertory Project, on display in the lobby throughout the festival, barely worked at all. Though buttons would make the little robot's bug eyes bob or its undercarriage swivel, its doll's arm refused to play the ukulele that composed its body. "That's what robots are like," sighed Eagar. "They barely work. You just sort of fiddle with them." Some fiddling may still be required, but Here itself appears to be working awfully well.

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