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Young Creatives Blog

Black boxes of objects you could sell at a market: musings on stuff and consumerism

Tuesday 23 February 2016

  • Review

Last week, I had the opportunity to sit in on a rehearsal for pvi collective's blackmarket. I was excited to see this tiny chunk of their process – the form of the work is quite different from any performance I've worked on or experienced before. blackmarket is a technology fused, audience participation based, performance project composed of a series of vignettes which take place on the streets of Subiaco. It reminds me of the work of Blast Theory – a UK artist collective whose work has been instrumental in developing this technology/public space/interaction kind of form (or fusion of forms). And while they started in the 90s, the form still feels fresh and exciting, so it's great to see a Western Australian company utilising it. blackmarket is set in a post-capitalist society where a bartering system has been reinstated, which the audience use in order to gain access to certain services. These services cover more obvious needs, such as medical and shelter, yet also include more abstract services such as romance and compassion. I find it interesting that even in this post-capitalist society pvi collective have created, intangible things, such as emotions, are still commodified – almost in an even more blatant way than in our current society. I assume they have created it this way in order to highlight the assimilation of concepts such as romance into consumerism. Yet while pvi collective have created a world where money is worthless, they are still commodifying everything through their bartering system. Perhaps that's what they're trying to warn us about – that there is no way back. During the day I observed, and acted as a test audience/participant/ player for the performers to bounce off. It was great to discuss the ideas behind the work, and see how they aimed to realise them. I am interested to see how it functions as a whole piece, and what feelings or messages people derive from it.

I also helped out at the bump in for The Object Lesson. As the name implies, this is a heavily set and prop based production. Basically my job for the day was to strategically place cardboard boxes on things. To my understanding, the work seeks to examine our relationship to stuff. I feel that a lot of us have boxes of stuff we keep for mementos sake rather than practicality, or because one day there may be a minute chance of it regaining use. I certainly do. It’s interesting how the two pieces overlap – both concerned with the value we place on stuff. Seeing and being involved in putting together the skeleton of the world of The Object Lesson, has only made me more excited and curious to experience the show.

Young Creative: Theatre

Written By Rhiannon Peterson