Review | Laura Money
The delightful Michelle Aitken takes you on a rollercoaster ride of technology, artificial intelligence, feminism, women’s roles in society, dance and movement. The Paper Mountain space is transformed into the Future’s Eve performance arena – a no-holds-barred, in-your-face, messy mixture of organic and electronic – where artificial intelligence is at the threshold of the future.
Aitken begins by operating a Roomba automatic vacuum cleaner across the room, illuminated by a hand held torch. She then steps into a silver painted half shell, wearing a full silver body suit. Moving in a flowing, yet slightly jerky manner, with the ubiquitous footage from Metropolis projected behind her, Aitken’s body charts the stories of Man creating Woman – with a voice over from Siri telling the story of Pygmalion – perhaps the first example of man rejecting real women in favour of an inanimate, perfectly crafted woman. (It is no coincidence that Aitken performs all of this in a shell, a reference to Aphrodite who emerged from a shell fully formed – the epitome of female beauty.)
A combination of movement, screen projections, spoken word and installation, Future’s Eve highlights the complex world of artificial intelligence and its problematic place in the world. From looking at how AI is feminised and hypersexualised, to how AI female-identifying robots are portrayed in the media (hint: it’s usually pretty misogynistic) to the age old question – can I fuck it? In a powerful segment, Aitken smiles disarmingly at the audience while shouting real YouTube comments that appear at the bottom of clips regarding sex robots. It highlights the incredibly problematic idea that – if we can create the perfect woman, what happens to the real women?
There is a hilarious segment where Aitken as fembot embodies a 1950s compliant housewife, brilliantly using all of the gadgets designed to make life easier for ‘the little woman’ – where the line between a desire to help and provide sexual fulfillment is confusingly blurred. Aitken ends the piece in a crazy high-energy blitz of feminine revenge as she encourages the audience to join in her frustration against a world where the obsession between real bodies and fake is almost too much. So, what does the future hold? Aitken doesn’t have all the answers, but she is asking the question in the most poignant and poetic way possible.
WHEN: 5 – 11 February 2018 | 4 shows only | 9:00pm
WHERE: Paper Mountain | Northbridge
INFO: Tickets $20 | Duration 50 mins | Suitable 15+ | Contains nudity | WA Artist | DANCE/PHYSICAL THEATRE