What would a world be like if there were no trees or animals or anything living for that matter? What if earth had become so uninhabitable that there were no other options than looking towards the stars? This is exactly what Lita Albuquerque portrays in her performance, 20/20 Accelerando.
Accelerando follows a female astronaut in her attempts to trace her way back home to planet earth. The brilliant greenery of forests to the clearest of waters that she swims through bring back her memories of places she once took for granted.
Three singers, perched upon black boxes, murmur and shout a vibrant and tribal language while arranged in the constellation Orion. On the screen behind them, Albuquerque strategically places space travel scenes from a rocket. Its fiery blazing blasters escape the atmosphere to multiple maps of the immense galaxy.
It seems as though we humans spend so many resources to propel us toward the stars, but fail to realize the importance of the planet on which we are born. Albuquerque's complex illustrations of space and intricate details of nature bolster and emphasize what she holds close to her heart: ecological preservation.
Halfway through the performance, the astronaut befriends a caring individual who encompasses many stereotypes of an uncivilized barbarian. From his ripped handmade clothes to his Stone Age tools, he represents what we have become: old, unaware and hopeless.
The video projection's immense and bold sounds juxtaposed with peaceful and calm environment present the listener with conflicting emotions. So do the images, whether it is the weightless feeling that Albuquerque provides, flying the viewer through clouds or the physically heavy feeling when standing up for 30 minutes to watch the show – as all audience members did – giving us a firsthand sensory experience the weighty guilt we should feel for treating our planet like this.
I came away from the Visions and Voices performance, 20/20 Accelerando on January 24th with the bracing understanding that mankind was born on earth. It wasn't meant to die here.
If you're interested in seeing 20/20 Accelerando, the exhibition runs through April 10th at USC Fisher Museum of Art. Or if you'd like to hear Albuquerque in person, you can join her for an artist talk on February 12, 12:00-1:00 PM at the Fisher Museum of Art. RSVP at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reach Staff Reporter Alec Chen here.