Endgame One Death Ritual
Robert Lort, Gallery 610, Brisbane, April Fools Day 2005
Entering down a long narrow, darkened, rubbish strewn and graffiti bombed hallway one emerged into a room sparsely littered with an array of different people converging on a bizarre psychedelic multi-media anti-spectacle. Was this an underground meeting place for aliens to pass out coded passwords to insurgents or was there a flip side to the Pope's own death? In any case, I had the sensation of encountering upon a deeply private and ancient ritual, devoid of any dogma, extravagantly illicit and not shy of provocation. The small crowd, contrasting between aging hippies and young goths, only accentuated the excessive closeness and intimacy of the event. The walls were graffitied with aliens, ghosts and florescent icons which flashed plasma like through the darkness. Dada Alien (daevid allen) in one corner played glissando madamentoro and dead body, Misbah was on poetics and conjuring of mystic magic, Max Wilcox was on bass guitar and Kavi Samut was on percussion and "angel anchors". Sonically the group unleashed a free soundscape of multi-media, poetry, tape loops, deep space throbbing base overlaid with piercing glissando guitar fuzz. Misbah, adorned in fake furs, viking horns and Egyptian jewelery proclaimed her visionary poetics, spell bounding us with her alluring feminine charms as she propelled herself through uncharted psychic, spiritual and poetic realms. Onlookers mingled, arrived and disappeared, veering in and out, as each found their own comfort zone. Inside the sepulchral-psychedelic space, richly scented as for a séance, one had a strange and unusual sense of being unable to anticipate what would transpire, how far it would go, what would happen and what the reaction and consequences might set forth. The performance necessitated and negotiated with it's audience, which vacillated between timidness and gainfulness, made uncomfortable and occasionally unsure, at other times overwhelmed with delight and misjudged expectations.
daevid allen, now 67 is approaching and pondering the death of his own body, but not subsumed in an egoistic enshrining of the past, quite the contrary. The aesthetics of death is put into question, in the habitual denial and day to day subsumption in consumeristic and beautified immortality, the undeniable and inevitableness of its imminence is seldom acknowledged. It is the selfish melodrama of one's own relevance and imagined self importance that makes one feel worthy of endlessly ongoing, of getting up in the morning and actually doing something, without contemplating the existential conundrum or the paroxysm of contemplating time stopping and ones relevance in all the machinations of the universe. daevid approaches death without morbid regrets, pity or denial, but as rebirth, as a conscious self sacrifice, a phantasmagoric celebration, to mediate the body's transgression onto a new stage, yet unforseen, to let go of all things, material and psychological and to celebrate the soul's release. "Life is but a game!", he suggests and the die is surely cast! In the corner of the stage he matter of factly disrobes himself, fully aware of the immediacy at which the naked bodies presence arouses disconcert, curiosity and undue attention. He approaches the front of the stage and clears a small space in the center of the audience, laying down a black cloth on the floor which he stretches out on. He is dressed in skin, just as he first came into this world, with the first winter breezes wrapping around its nakedness. The body is laid out, unconceiled, in total honesty of its imperfections, blemishes and all, unmasking all self fulfilled idealistic false impressions. Misbah circles the body scenting and anointing it with scattered petals, oils and incense. She kisses and caresses his corpse. His body is deconstructed from it's commodified symbiology and uprooted from it's self, it resides limp and still on the floor like a blank canvas. It's beauty is realized in it's knobbly and visceral tenderness, it's fragility and deeply furrowed lines of expression. The audience on his left hand side are invited to praise him, speaking out love and cheers for any person that they admire. The audience on his right is invited to speak out everything negative they want to say about someone, to curse and abuse with insults. The praises and curses dual out growing into a gigantic climax of cackling laughter at which daevid is suddenly reborn, all purified and enlightened. In the crescendo of hysterics and joviality he springs forth onto the stage, alive and kicking again. He announces his very existence by mocking it, as he dances in a black cloak with a white deaths head mask.