Charged

Recently landed: Charged, Gracia's written response to Stephanie Lake's new work, Double Blind, for Fjord Review

Lake has replicated ideas behind the Milgram experiment with its snaking red and blue electric cables, but in a broad and visual sense, and in doing so, other psychological experiments were referenced. We also learnt that the human form, once hooked into the amplifier, is a noisy beast; a tap-tap on the shoulder of another sounds like a jackhammer. Clipboard in hand, in this session, where you stood ethically was also pulled from the recesses. In keeping the work open to interpretation, but precise in its choreographic execution, for me, a wealth of imagery, from the twisted surgical experiments of Vladimir Demikhov’s two-headed dogs to the deprivation of Harry F. Harlow’s tragic monkeys isolated within steel ‘pits of despair,’ leapt to mind. Thanks to the subterranean lighting of Bosco Shaw, pit ponies and canaries in a coalmine also got a look in. Bedded in a viscous sludge was every bit as alienating as the white noise confines of a sterile laboratory.

And it was this hideous and macabre imagery that Lake’s choreography hauled from the dark cavity as Haines appeared in a second position plié over a kneeling Macindoe. Her elbow upon his head, they moved as a surgically grafted Cerberus. Operating like an inkblot to interpret, this ‘wrong’ cohesiveness, this mutant form soon shifted. Haines appeared as controller over Macindoe, where she willed him to move, he followed suit. Before again, in role reversal, he donned a laboratory assistant’s rubber glove and appeared to ‘blow’ into her forearm.

Stephanie Lake's Double Blind (Image credit: Pippa Samaya)