JINX, NEVESTA! by CATINCA MALAIMARE at EIGEN + ART LAB curated by BROOKE WILSON [from 20240608 to 20240629]

[Photos: Johannes Kremer] [Performed by Hunor-József Varga, Marcos Zoe Nacar, Milena Lui & Andrea Bambini]

We are gathered here today, to witness the joining of a union…

Nostalgia lingers in Catinca Malaimare’s latest exhibition – ‘Jinx, Nevesta!’ – where technological objects are reunited with estranged lovers in a durational performance. Dating back to the 90s, the objects employed become emblems of time; their hollowed metallic bodies, at present redundant, remain in existence via the memories they continue to hold. What once were desirable, are now relics of a society in a hurry.

Resting patiently in the space, stand four sleepy decommissioned Sea Scooter rides with movement pending; a coin in the past would awaken them but now, an electrical current is needed to stimulate their arousal. Restored to their original beauty a coating of iridescent lustre wraps around their fibreglass bodies, concealing the reality of ageing with a quick touch-up of shimmering gloss. Lightbulbs flicker, bouncing colour off their futuristic forms, and refractions of luminosity come to dance behind the neighbouring walls.

A switch is flicked; the performance begins.

Bodies poised and in position, a 90s Panasonic SA-AK320 Stereo swallows the first track and an eruption of sound commences on digestion. Created in collaboration with sound artist Chlorys, a symphony of Romanian folk melodies and electronic beats are synthesised to form a hybrid voice of amalgamated sounds; making reference to club culture and the tragic playlist of a confused wedding DJ. An intro of mechanical sounds anthropomorphises the machine, collectively coming to life with the bodies that rest atop the rides. Elongated limbs splay out as an extension of the once-functioning fairground ride, which remains static and uncomfortably still.

The track changes, the audience pause, the next movement is queued.

Emulating the object’s original movements, the performers rock back and forth around their partnered objects. Guided by their hips, their actions emphasise the aching tension of balance that accompanies the experience of riding – oscillating between close and distant contact. Echoing our daily actions towards digital devices: we are equally attracted to and repulsed by their seduction at alternating moments. Intentionally situated to aid the movement of the performers, the sculptures are fixed on forms suggestive of transportation, a vehicle through which Malaimare’s gestural vocabulary can come to life. Textural bases of soundproof foam and rubber matting only intensify this friction between oppositional movements. Directing the narrative between bodies, both human and technological, Malaimare’s choreography extends the dimensions of time; existing in the future of the past.

The performance ends, the music lulls, the audience mingles.

Poetically playing with the metaphor of a wedding the performance is sealed with a marriage certificate; a contractual talisman that mirrors the clickwrap terms we digital users marry into regularly. Adding to the evidence of the ceremony, a 90s camcorder sits upon a shelf, plugged in and awake. There to capture the performance in real-time, its compact screen will offer the option to playback a moment expired. Using bodies, both human and non-human, Malaimare continues to expand on her gestural lexicon, tenderly narrating our technological intimacy and thus the vows we take in living with them.

I do…

With thanks to Hunor-József Varga, Marcos Zoe Nacar, Andrea Bambini, Milena Lui, Orsi Tamás and Chlorys.

[Text: Brooke Wilson]

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