Sunday, October 19, 2008

A Secret Web

So with K out of town, I ventured a few blocks away to Union Square (after a few Chelsea openings -- more on this later...) to see the Secret Machines at Webster Hall. The latter was an eye-opener it itself, with lurid, outrageous reliefs on the walls, but the band did not disappoint either (although they trended a bit proggy for my tastes in this show). In particular, the stage set was striking, both in how what seemed like inocuous gauze strips attached to plastic piping suddenly transformed into a compelling geometric pattern (Moire, even?) with only a few twists and a few cable ties.

I dug around for a bit and found out that it was designed by Es Devlin, a European set designer:
The visual elements are a direct instinctive response to the qualities of the music. The band will be caught within a Naum Gabo-inspired romboid structure surfaced with gauze and punctuated with radiating tensioned cables which will catch the light in a more lyrical way than a pure saturated block of back light - we might combine them and counterpoint them with pure blocks of backlight too. What the fans see will be a visual expression and counterpoint to what they hear allowing them the space to project their own interpretation of the music and the courage to intensify it.
I'm still not sure this tells me exactly what I wanted to know (I didn't associate the word "romboid" with this kind of pattern...), but fun nonetheless. Naum Gabo, eh? The word seems to be "linear construction" but there has to be a more general term for this kind of thing, especially the "fixed" points these twists generate. Live and learn.

And I just remembered, I've blogged about these guys before. Feels like a lifetime ago, so I feel even older now.

And for fun, here's the silk screen poster (I got 87/400), keeping up with the "linear construction" theme. Strange that just a few hours beforehand, I was admiring a set of multi-layer lithographs at a Chelsea gallery by Stefan Kurten. Much more intricate than this, but a neat coincidence.

1 comment:

Blake Stacey said...

Out of the corner of my eye, "Naum Gabo" looked like "Nambu-Goto".