Friday, February 26, 2021

"DIGITAL" streaming live, by Emily Michaels King

image courtesy of Emily Michaels King
In one of the most innovative uses of the new virtual art media that I've seen, #TCTheater artist Emily Michaels King brings us a new creation called DIGITAL, streamed live via Zoom from her home to yours. Much like her solo show at the 2019 Minnesota Fringe Festival, DIGITAL combines various forms of art and media, is difficult to describe, is not always understandable, and yet is profoundly moving. As usual Emily puts her heart and soul into the performance, which is felt even from a distance through a screen. DIGITAL is definitely unique in the #TCTheater virtual space right now, and you have several more chances to catch it through March 6.

Since it really defies description, I'll let the artist herself describe the show: "DIGITAL is a pixelated performance by Emily Michaels King that uses MacBook Pro, iPhone, and Zoom to explore identity and bloodline. This inventive and disorienting collage of camera curation, screen sharing, choreography, and image manipulation is an archival assemblage of memory and the detritus of one’s life, digital and otherwise. Made with and for the virtual realm, DIGITAL is bizarre and familiar, like swimming in the technicolor oil slick of our subconscious."

Emily shares her screen for the Zoom performance (in webinar mode, so no worries about those annoying people who don't mute themselves). The show starts in silence, the curser hypnotizing as it slowly moves across the screen to open an image or video, or play a song. Emily speaks a few times in a sort of spoken word poetry, or types comments to the audience in the chat. She appears onscreen sometimes, through the Zoom camera and sometimes a second video through her iPhone. There's a dance break or two, and we even get a little tour of her dresser. The performance is unhurried and very well choreographed in terms of moving around the various media, and really quite mesmerizing.

This is another great example of an artist using the tools available to them to continue to make art, to express themselves, to make the viewer feel something. To take software that was designed for some other purpose (business meetings, watching videos, listening to music) and manipulate it to tell a story, to convey emotion, to make art - that's a unique talent.