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Embody at Design Cloud

Those that attended Embody were treated to an eclectic night of entertaining and enlightening performances curated by¬†Angela Bryant. Also part of the Design Cloud event, Embrace by Meredith and Anna reached a broad, unprepared audience at Randolph Fest when the artists held each other for hours on the corner of Randolph and Peoria. Anni Holm also met audiences halfway by standing outside the gallery and holding a sign with her name on it for Putting My Name Out There. Anni’s other piece, Networking, started the event by giving people the chance to learn to knit or teach others so knit on a sprawling, red piece that has traveled around the world and brought many communities together.

Inside the venue was a series of performances that emphasized communication, interaction and physical perception. Alexandria Eregbu’s The Most Dangerous Place managed to bring all three of these ideas to the forefront by holding a silent, one-way conversation with all of us at once, revealing words on large cards one at a time, and challenging the audience to consider what might come next. Victoria Bradford’s Blackbird / I’d Rather Dance With You Than Talk With You uses dance and repetition to call attention to communication deficiencies we face in everyday life. Karen Faith’s Light Movement acted as interludes while actors arranged candles in a variety of formations around the room.

Three of the performances stood out for having a more aggressive tone. Sarah Beth Wood’s Clean Cut brings self-mutilation to mind and invites the audience to help as she cuts off unnecessary body modifications, such as acrylic nails and hair weaves. Is My Liver Showing? is also about shedding but, instead of a woman shedding her hair and nails, Joseph Ravens is an organ shedding weight through exercise. Transitioning from a nondescript blob to a recognizable human form took a lot of effort and the audience enjoyed cheering him through the process. Among the most popular moments of the evening was the untitled performance by Mehdi George Lahlou in which he jumped rope in high heels. As entertaining as the performance was, it didn’t compare to when the women showed him how it was done.

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