Myth and Infrastructure
In her piece Myth and Infrastructure, Miwa Matreyek creates a stunning visualization of a dreamlike world she explores, grows, and evolves with. This performance piece is an exploration was created in collaboration with Mirah Yom Tov Zeitlyn of K Records and Anna Oxygen for the lovely lyrical soundtrack and with the performance group Cloud Eye Control. Combining projected animation and her real body as a silhouetted character in the piece, Matreyek wonderfully brings to life the evolution of civilization and self discovery. The video is an obscure scene of shadows and vivid animations that transition from an island to a cityscape and other domestic places.
Myth and Infrastructure absolutely takes the audience out of their present reality and places them in a deep dream of perpetually mutable and familiar yet unique environments. Matreyek's remarkable way of interacting within her animations brings a more intimate feeling to the piece. Her silhouette acts as a placebo for the space that most everyone has occupied in their own dreams. In this piece as Matreyek becomes an island, creating sea creatures with her mouth, or as she occupies the nightlife of a city as a giant in the background, one is overcome with a sense of magic and fairytale nostalgia.
A review in the Los Angeles Times states:
"'Myth and Infrastructure' in which multimedia artist Miwa Matreyek turns her silhouetted self into a virtual Mobius strip for a breathtaking array of variegated animation style, is magical. The sheer breadth of the imagery -- recurring skylines, miniature beings, self- lighting birthday cakes, unfolding seascapes, ad infinitum -- amid ever- changing nimbuses, helixes and more, is unlike anything you've seen before. If this were a museum of contemporary art, Matreyek would merit a permanent wing" Nichols, David C. (17 June, 2011) Theatre review. Los Angeles Times
This work brings a new life to traditional animation. Matreyek invents a new way of giving 2D animated scenes an extra dash of excitement and involvement. She creates her own worlds and then puts herself in the environment to interact in her own personal dream sequences and imagination. This realm completely breaks any barrier between reality and subconsciousness.
Another similar piece by Matreyek is her recent performance with Cloud Eye Control titled Half Life. This performance is a examination of how extreme stress affects our imagination. In this new world that Matreyek has created for this piece she utilizes strong imagery of environmental destruction to expose the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster and the mental stress it put on the people it affected. This piece resembles Myth and Infrastructure because they both delve into how the environment around us could affect our dreams. She creates beautiful dream realms to tell stories of the rise and fall of civilizations.
A second piece that utilizes some of the same technique Matreyek incorporates in Myth and Infrastructure is Christine Marie's Ground to Cloud performance. In this piece, Marie reenacts the story of Ben Franklin's kite and electricity incident to create a narrative about lightning. Marie relies on a light bulb and bright white light in order to use shadows as the main characters in her performance. Similar to Matreyek's performance, the use of the silhouette is an integral part in these pieces. The silhouette helps the audience to focus on the story being told rather than the specificity of the characters themselves. It also allows for changes to occur that affect the size and aesthetic of the setting. The objects used as props in Marie's piece, such as other hands, trees, the kite, etc, will appear bigger or smaller in accordance to where the light hits them. The power size plays in giving the main character a bigger than life appearance on stage or small and helpless figure really adds to the overall message of the story in both pieces.
This piece has been exhibition at:
TED Global 2010 (Oxford, England), ISEA Conference (Alburqueque, NM), Anima Mundi (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), New Frontiers at Sundance Film Festival (Park City, UT), Exploratorium (San Francisco, CA), TBA festival (Portland, OR), Theatre de la Cite (Paris, France), Animasivo (Mexico City, Mexico), City of Women (Ljubljana, Slovenia), Chilemonos! Animation Festival (Santiago, Chile), Vimeo Festival (NY, NY), Le Forum Des Images (Paris, France), Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (San Francisco, CA), Today Art Museum (Beijing, China), S8 Peripheral Film Festival (A Coruna, Spain), Manipulate Puppetry Festival (Edinburgh, Scotland)