In his video work Congregation, Andrew Thomas Huang examines the construction of ritual as performance. The work derives from Interstice, a choreographed performance which pulls apart the characteristics of ritual and frames them as repeated metronomic intervals. The work deconstructs public performance in order to examine a formula for ritual; it turns theatrics simultaneously into spectacle, language and shared sensory experience. Accompanied by a rousing soundtrack, the artist fixes the viewer’s gaze on what appears to be a gathering of semi-clothed men on all fours in dark masks; on closer inspection the bodies are revealed to be the same figure duplicated and doctored so that each ‘unit’ moves in sequence with its replicated other. The figure is portrayed by the ballet-trained Flex dancer Brixx, who twists and turns against a ruby coloured canvas, whilst appearing transfixed by the centrally staged lantern. The lantern’s movement resembles a gilded object reminiscent of an orthodox thuribles; simultaneously it keeps time as precisely as a metronome; the collected bodies become contorted by their devotion to the source of light as emblematic of something other.
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