Dry Me a River at PLATO, Ostrava
April 14, 2017
Lukas Hofmann has intrepidly taken on the art of visual performance, styling, design and spinning tracks, becoming a master of various trades (and a jack at none). Having collaborated with many forward minds in the past—think: fashion designer Anne Sofie Madsen, composer Holly Herndon and singer/producer Dan Bodan—the multi-talent is adding another name to his well-rounded list. Tying bonds with Berlin-based brand Ottolinger, he recently set up a performance in a former Bauhaus superstore in the Czech city of Ostrava, where visitors were met with spiritual bends and immersed into an emotionally moving experience. Titled Dry Me A River—literally baring resemblance to the ’90s hit ballad—the performance figuratively addressed current social-political themes of containment, connectedness, misplacement and separation. The styling granted an intricate aesthetic layer, emphasizing the overall destructive narrative.
The title is a literal reference to Justin Timberlake’s track Cry me a river, but a symbolic one to environmental problems. It further refers to catastrophic events—apocalyptic, even—which are often paired with a fleeting sense of hope. The performance itself acts as a form of therapy, although not necessarily a favourable one, to inflict pain and create understanding. So, other than having people focus on their breathing during moments of meditation, the performance offers introspection through different means. For example, performers would hold their breath until they physically were no longer able to do so.
In some of the acts, the audience was physically involved. Upon entering the space, members from the audience had sage and thyme balm rubbed on their temples, representing a form of ritualism and signaling their entrance into a zone that is entirely detached from the outer world—a zone of silence and containing a certain spiritual quality. In a different act performers embraced audience members without making any physical contact. To me, this felt very emblematic of today’s individualistic society; people feel the need to heal and embrace while also keeping their distance as to respect the private spaces of others. The use of technology in the performance revealed the often-perceived divisive quality of technology and the ability it has to provide vital information [on or about someone].
Performers: Coco Kate, Vojtech Frohlich, Lukáš Hofmann/Saliva, Lužek Marný, Magdalena Mitterhoffer, Alexandra Myshalova, František Mucha, Jiří Pitrmulc, Marat Zakirov
Pictures by Adrian Parvulescu