The Party (Kyla Gardiner and Layla Marcelle Mrozowski) are throwing their latest fête, XXXX Topography, at SFU Woodward's Studio T this weekend. The bagheaded women from Fake Gems are back, but this time they're grooving inside a black box instead of a white cube, and to an improvised electronic score by Paul Paroczai. Their cryptic discourse with each other is more clearly audible to us in this iteration of The Party's process, but that doesn't mean we're included in the circuit of communication. These (gendered) subject-objects supposed to move for us reverse the standard pattern of transference between analyst and analysand, or spectator and performer; we can hear but don't necessarily understand what they are saying to each other, and furthermore I for one was unsure if the amplified voices were emerging directly from the bodies wearing the bags (via head mics, as in Fake Gems), or from audio channels filtered through the four freestanding speakers behind them--a stereophonic version of the stereoscopic method that is The Party's modus operandi.
Just as I was settling in against the wall for a long spell of vicarious movement pleasure, our hostess for the evening, Beta Pink, arrived to take a call, and then to lead us all on to the Space Bar, where, it seemed, The Party's real party was taking place. This imaginary elsewhere, this theatre of possibility turned out to be a parallax version of where we'd just been, the curtain behind the bagheaded women having been removed to reveal neither an ersatz wizard nor a fantastical Oz, but rather a landscape that was simultaneously strange and familiar, red and blue, material and metaphorical. And like so many sisters of Dorothy, we were left to explore this world and its artifacts for the next hour or so (or until last call), queer spelunkers in search of transformative alien encounters between ourselves, other selves, and things.
And what things! Rocks and adding machines dancing a tango with each other. Phallic bits of creosote edging across the floor. Smoke machines. Wooden beds to lounge on next to spongy bits of fabric in the shape of octopi. An aerie loft with a softer bed for group spooning. And a series of landline phones that sing songs of syllabic transposition to us, providing us with a metonymic vocabulary of association as we grasp for words to describe our progress through this sexy terrain.
As we exit, another surprise: party favours, including a pair of 3D-glasses, The Party's official manual, and a translucent printed insert outlining the conditions of possibility for an imaginary theatre of the sort we have just experienced.