A Performance piece summoning the darker energies of dance to body forth those monsters of the imagination lurking between the audience and the performer
Exploring a political imagination, life and death, dreams, consumerism and more Monster Body is a saturation of the senses.
This dance performance overloads the sensual experience, wrestling shapes and rhythms from imaginative experience.
Through her work Atlanta subverts the conventional images of the female body, seeking to rescue the representation of the female body from the grip of capitalism.
Monster Body was originally presented at the Next Wave Festival in May 2012 in partnership with Dancehouse and has been developed and supported through Next Wave Kickstart Program, Dancehouse, Arts Victoria and the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body. It has since been presented at the 2012 SEXES Festival, Performance Space Sydney, 2013 Dance Masssive Festival, 2013 MONA FOMA Festival Hobart, MDT Stockholm, BACKFLIP Feminism and Humour in Contemporary Art, Margaret Lawrence Gallery and the Fierce Festival in Birmingham.
MONSTER BODY Reviewed by Jordan Beth Vincent For The Age Newspaper
“FROM the beginning of Monster Body, choreographer Atlanta Eke casts herself as a strange creature – a combination of child, sexually mature woman, and monster. Our first image is of a naked Eke, perched on a mirrored pedestal in a monster mask, twirling a hula hoop. There are clear references to the sexualisation of women, and a specific investigation into our expectations of female behaviour in public and private spaces.
At one point, Eke strikes a pose and urinates onstage before dropping to pose seductively in her own puddle. This disturbing moment questions our revulsion to, and fascination with, ‘exposure’, and illustrates Eke’s interest in addressing, questioning and rebelling against her own physical objectification. Monster Body, like many other Next Wave offerings, is a work seeking to push the boundaries of contemporary performance art.”
MONSTER BODY: Reviewed by Alison Croggon for Theatre Notes
“Monster Body is a pitch-perfect work that examines the inturning grotesquerie of the female self as it deals with the image of the feminine. We enter the Dance House theatre, harshly exposed by flurorescent lighting, to find Eke, naked except for a rubber lizard mask, standing on a box made of mirrors, rotating a hoop on her hips. She stands there for ages as the audience sits and settles, totally exposed and yet, because her face is covered, totally hidden. Her body trumps her identity, is the whole of her identity, and she gazes out on us through the eyeholes of the mask with the anonymous face of a reptile. It’s an image that somehow has the impersonal, stark impertinence of Manet’s Olympia.
What follows is a series of sequences that riff off various representations of the nude, both historical and contemporary. There’s the disciplined, angular control of a ballet dancer, who utters inarticulate growling screams; the nude of a thousand Playboy centrefolds, posing in a puddle of her own urine; an infantile cartoon bunny with a grotesquely large head, poignantly waiting as a motorbike whizzes back and forth, always a little sinister, never arriving; perhaps most confrontingly, five naked female dancers bopping along to Beyonce in Abu Ghraib black hoods, which managed to be outrageous, excessive, disturbing, absurd and bizarrely joyous all at once. At various points the leaky female body is cleaned up by a man in a biohazard suit.
Eke’s images balance disturbingly between comedy, disgust and eroticism. So much of this show was funny. The point where people stopped laughing was when Eke put on a flesh-coloured body suit and filled it with pink water balloons – analogues of breast implants – turning her body into a misshapen, lumpy monster. She then took it off over her head like a reptile skin, so it seemed that her head was eaten by this other body. The image recalled the obscene surrealism of Hans Bellmer and his mutilated mannequins, and was as viscerally disturbing. A fascinating, deeply absorbing and intelligent work, driven by a profound anger, that was performed with outstanding poise.”
MONSTER BODY Reviewed by Jordan Beth Vincent
MONSTER BODY Reviewed by Jane Howard for Real Time Magazine
MONSTER BODY Reviewed by Chris Boyd