Dents, Gencives, Machines, Futur, Société
A performance by
DENTS, GENCIVES, MACHINES, FUTUR, SOCIETE, Lili Reynaud-Dewar, 2016 / from the movie, prod. red shoes
In their multiple interactions around various themes, Lili Reynaud-Dewar’s performances give the impression of working towards a structuralist ceremony, which is as confusing as it is stimulating. With this new creation, part of a larger project that will include an exhibition and a film, the artist focuses on a physical embodiment of resistance: the teeth. It is on this sensitive nerve-centre of the body, on the border of the private and public domains, the visible and the invisible, between the skeleton and the flesh, the skin and the organs, which this new project hinges. And it’s in Memphis, a city emblematic of the racial and class conflicts that have always agitated and still agitate the world, that these bodies and these teeth are rallied to express themselves, bringing together multiple objects of inquiry, history and local customs. A symbolic territory, on the border of Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi, the city of Memphis bears the stigmata of history: that of slavery, white domination and the struggle for civil rights, which came to a head with the assassination of Martin Luther King and the Sanitation strike of 1968. It is also in this town that several hip hop groups from the Dirty South scene were hatched, whose protagonists proudly display mouthfuls of chrome teeth. The rappers’ iconic accessory is the grill, the decorative gold or jewel-encrusted covers worn over the teeth; this is the central axis and core theme of the performance. Bringing together actors and performers of disparate cultures and nationalities, this is a political performance, both in form and in substance – and their only common point of reference is a grill, specially-made for their own teeth. Located somewhere between improvised stand-up and noise music, between Afro-futurist theory and the Cyborg Manifesto of feminist Donna Haraway, the performance’s attitudes, voices and sounds fuse in a relentless and indecipherable cacophony of self-contradiction, one which nonetheless converges towards a common goal. The hip-hop aesthetic, verbal declamation, the wit of stand-up and brutal noise music embody so many weapons to smash the shackles of patriarchy, racism, essentialism and their conservative by-products. Part conceptual treasure hunt and part political metaphor, Dents, Gencives, Machines, Futur, Société is implicitly a social satire: that of a civilization on the threshold of a new era, in which universal and individual interests collide, while libertarian utopias and totalitarianism struggle for the future of our world.