Review by Kate Gaul
Journey to the East Productions presents “Weathervanes” as part of the Made in Scotland showcase at Edinburgh Fringe. It is described by the artists as a ritual dance theatre experience – “a re-thinking of the beautiful and what is holy”.
A small audience in ushered into a gallery space for this 30-minute encounter in the Summerhall Lower Café Gallery. The low-level lights create a welcoming vibe after the bustle of the day. A low fog is engulfing the floor space and emanates from the patches of oasis – three installations of realistic grassland in which sits a mirrors plinth and on top a naked human who is moving slowly, ritualistically, gracefully. The bodies become surfaces for video projection and overall, the lighting in inn interplay with these bodies over the 30 minutes. There is nothing salacious about this display. A fourth human sits on a floor playing and intones as well as playing some brass bowls. It’s all very atmospheric.
Audiences are invited to move around the installation or find a place to sit – there are benches and cushions. It takes time for us to slow down and become present with the work. This performance-installation is asking us to consider the human body in a way that restores our connection to ourselves and nature. We are reminded that Western Art is full of depictions of the nude body in painting and sculpture. Artist Jian Yi reframes concepts of beauty by this revisioning of “living sculptures” that centre Queer People of Colour. There’s definitely some reference and use of Trance and Bodyweather practices in the work.
This is a unique and quite stunning example what’s on offer in Edinburgh and a rare opportunity to encounter resonant and life affirming performance-art.
NB: This was a 30 minute experience