Thursday, February 21, 2013

Street Art/Evenings In Wonderland: Nequam Sonitus @ Venture Compound

"When logic and proportion
Have fallen sloppy dead
And the White Knight is talking backwards
And the Red Queen's "off with her head!"
Remember what the doormouse said;
"Feed YOUR HEAD...
Feed your head"
                              --- Jefferson Airplane, White Rabbit [Link]

Nequam Sonitus

It was Superbowl Night, and the Venture Compound was having an anti-Superbowl concert for the rest of us (more on that to come). I've seen Nequam Sonitus before. Musical performance and performance art in the noise music camp. This evening he began, and I noticed he had a surprisingly small number of things to make sounds with. He came out in his white hazmat (?) suit and heavy iron mask, breaking plates on his head and banging metal pieces together.

Nequam Sonitus

Suddenly, he retreated offstage. Had he hurt himself? Many minutes passed, the audience looking on as a confederate cleaned up and moved the 'instruments' away. Without warning, Nequam Sonitus emerged back into the main room, this time dressed in a black suit, with a very "Alien" looking black mask on. It was a heavy mask, like the ones we all wear.

He crawled then walked clumsily, as if learning to walk, through the room, into the Venture Compound Yard and out into the street. No permit, no police escort, nothing but the night unfolding before him. He stumbled, like a monster or alien from another planet. The crowd, like children behind the Pied Piper, followed, looking on, speechless, pouring into the street.

Nequam Sonitus in the streets, S. St. Pete.

He turned and walked past the side of Zen Glass, an image of loneliness and alienation, making pitiful, pained, mechanical sounding moans and cries, lost, with no home or any of his kind present. Where was he going? Aimless, like a ghost of momentum, he led our rag-tag tribe nowhere in particular. Anyone could have gone up to him and asked: "What ails thee?", or offered solace or love, but no one did. All we could do was watch, our human faculties straitjacketed, as we followed, we were him, only silent.

 Suddenly, a truck pulled up, his 'handler', wielding a bamboo stick and a bowl. Treating him like an animal gone astray, he herded the monster into the truck, and sped away into the night. Suddenly we had nowhere to go or be, no destination or Promised Land save for that which lay within. We retraced our steps back to the Compound.

This was an extraordinary, stunning performance and Mystery Play. One of the best acts I have ever seen in Saint Petersburg at any price. Sometimes all our expectations and rules need to be shattered so we can reconfigure ourselves.

Congratulations and thanks to Nequam Sonitus and to the Venture Compound for having the courage to take considerable risks in this unforgettable guerrilla performance. Bravo.

--- Luis

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for writing about this. One of the most amazing experiences of my year. These guys will be legendary.