Montréal Arts Interculturels Presents CARRION Never Quite Human, Only Ever Frankenstein
Presented by MAI (Montréal, arts interculturels) from October 30th to November 2nd at Monument-National, this magnetic solo performance by Justin Shoulder introduces the figure of Carrion: a post-human spectre that has the ability to shapeshift into multiple forms and speak multiple languages.Carrion is a science-fiction live performance work that elaborates a figure of multiplicity. Shoulder's body and its collaboration with costume, light, sound and space is used to animate a series of ancestral creatures born from queer diasporic histories and imagined genealogies. Facing the horrors of forced evolutionary acceleration, he wanders in the middle of an archaeological site and transforms himself: ghost from the West, virus, trickster, and prehistoric bird. Combining club show performance with Victoria Hunt's dramaturgy on raw body exploration, Carrion is the culmination of Shoulder's histories of performance-making.
The space is an archaeological site scattered with clues to a speculative future. The space itself becomes a figure in the work as Shoulder sifts through the detritus to become different creatures inhabiting their native realms. There are a number of realms which are traversed: Western Romance, Skeleton of Buddha, Nature Simulation, Belching Glacier, Prehistoric Bird, and more, including liminal stages transforming from one creature to another.The performative figures, which act as the text of the work, are informed by a sea of ideas/feelings. Some current reflections and investigations include: the Anthropocene and Capitalocene, hope, future making possibilities, the fall/fragility of the West, and the Filipino skyworld and its mythical creatures as a parallel to queer/hybrid bodies and potentiality.
"The creatures both are, and are not, recognisable. They possess multiple qualities that flicker in and out of sight, depending on how they move. The effect is mirage-like. A giant, innocuous-looking grub or butterfly pupa has a sensual cleft running down its centre, which folds open to reveal a smooth human back." - Cleo Mees, RealTime Magazine
Drawing on queer and bicultural ancestral mythologies, Carrion transports us into a place where the distant past collides with the far future, alerting us to the changes that already lie within ourselves.
Justin Shoulder is an artist working in performance, sculpture, video and nightlife/community events production. His main body of work, Phasmahammer, is an ecology of alter personas based on queered ancestral myth. These creatures are embodied through handcrafted costumes and prosthesis and animated by their own gestural languages. Shoulder uses his body and craft to forge connections between queer, migrant, spiritual and intercultural experiences. He is a founding member of queer artist collective The Glitter Militia and Club Ate, a gang of Asia-pacific sissies.He has performed and exhibited internationally, with recent highlights that include: Carrion at Fusebox Festival (Austin, USA - 2018); the video body of work Ex Nilalang for AsiaTOPA by Club Ate (Melbourne, Australia - 2017), First Sight at Museum Macan (Jakarta, Indonesia - 2017), and the premiere of his feature length theatre work Carrion for Liveworks, Performance Space Sydney, 2017.
Photo credit: Alex Davies