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AUDIENCE REVIEW: Brandin Steffensen on "Hot Box"
Company / Show / Event
Brian Rogers "Hot Box"
Venue / Location
The Chocolate Factory
A bit about you:
(your occupation, the last time you moved, your website, etc.)
Brandin Steffensen, Performer
Hot Box is an immersion in subtlety and intensity. An admirer of Turrell and Rothko's work, hindsight suggests I was poised to enjoy the experience. The palpable, at-first-overwhelming soundscape gradually transformed enjoyment into absorbtion.
It is cinematic. We sit before broad silvery screens, and the shards of light we observe restlessly shift from multiple perspectives, sourced from robotic roving cameras. Visible off to either side, the cameras and live action of the two performers is obscured by transparent gauze dazzling in the light and fog. The live performance is always upstaged by the fragmented image of it thrust before us on the projection panel. The fog enveloping us gives the image a sculptural dimension; one can clearly see the light as an evolving form through the dense air just over our heads.
The work compels us to observe the subtleties within the meticulously constructed environment (set by Brad Kisicki) arranged in the basement of The Chocolate Factory. I came out of the theater with a freshly acquired sensitivity to the physical sensation of sounds in the world. But foremost I was left with a sense of the process of emergence or birth - of a dawn - of understanding. A gradual awakening of consciousness.
Hot Box gradually presses into us a series of varying repetitions of simple themes. The work is comprised of sound, light, and the human face, one male Brian Rogers and one female Madeline Best (also Director of Photography). The two enter after a prelude of light and sound in a state of aerobic exercise. Over the length of the work, their cheeks fades from a feverish, sweaty exhaustion. Over time, we are met with an attentively urgent, blinking gaze - Narcissus transfixed over pool of water. But what do they come to see? Us or themselves or each other? Or all of the above?
We are confronted with processed, fragmented reality which very slowly converges into a steady image of a fully illuminated male countenance. This seems certainly a metaphor for how an adapting intelligence evolves to integrate the noise of sensory information to render coherent the material world we navigate.
Brian Roger's achievement is to coordinate this massive light show with his collaborators into a work of art that is not at all sensational but definitely profound. It is grounded by his music as Jon Harper's lights give it motion.
I thought of Abromovich and of Solaris, of meeting oneself by finding another. It is low and rumbling and haunting.