Commissioned by the Public Arts division of the Department of Cultural Affairs of the City of Los Angeles in concert with the Los Angeles World Airports, 'Bout to Get On was a 13-member dance theater piece that played with the way-finding signs of the Fly Away Bus, public transit to the airport from 5 distinct areas in the city. Utilizing my theory of Performance Instigation, my team, VISCERA, developed a story arc explicitly designed to highlight design successes and failures in the bus service. Based on the Yoruba origin myth, the signs were turned into characters. In the myth, the orixa descend a golden chain of light to help populate earth. In the piece, I turned the chain into light and casted each frequency for a total of seven dancers. Our findings lead to further refinement of Performance Instigation, which I now utilize as part of my work with bigStory, a story branding agency.
Welcome to (e.a.r.)TH docking station, receiving patrons from across the space-time continuum, metaverse and beyond. We regret to inform you that passage to the jump station LAX is now only possible inside with an Èni Man. Should you encounter a team of ori.Xa requesting assistance to enter the shuttle, please be advisedthat they have recently arrived from Olorun and may or may not be aware of the new policy. Your help in this matter is greatly appreciated.
More transmissions available at http://flyawaybus.tumblr.com/
Performed at the San Fernando Valley Fly Away Bus station on May 23, 2011, Bout to Get On was a low tech street theater piece that made use of QR-Codes and SMS to inform the audience of shifts of the cast around the facilities. Here, one of the frequencies of light dances in the waiting area with the bus bay visible outside.
In the beginning, there was Olorun, sky residence of Selected Heads of light, thought, mostly masculine. Below, was Olokún, mostly feminine, dark, watery, and full of potential. Obatalá thought Orisha should have more space. He got permission to go down and make a new world. This error leads to the Great Flood, an act of revenge, and the deployment of Orisha to earth to protect Creation. The Forces of Nature have just made their journey down the Golden Chain of Creation to join the first Diviner in taking care of the world. In our version, rather than coming down with the express intention of helping humans, they are simply on a mission to get the raw materials they need to take back to their Ark. Their team leader has already made it to the next jump spot and they must locate him to begin the development of N2 B.O.O.G.I.E., a new flood of (e.a.r.)T.H., this time with sonics instead of fluids. The team’s intel leads them to believe that Olokún will bring the great waters back if they don’t act fast in establishing the E.X.U. to bring the sonic wash first.
They are also under the impression that using surface transportation devices can be completed with simple money. Before their jump, they fashioned what is known on (e.a.r.)T.H. as “cash.” Their intel is faulty: cash is no longer accepted as a payment system in this particular way station. They must figure out where they are, and in the course of the drama, rediscover who they are, since their mission has derailed, well, deplaned. To course correct, they must use the divine math--dance--to map their location and call for help. If only the ÈNI MANS would help with the frequency.
These common, multi-colored signs mysteriously lined up with the characterizations of very specific Orixá. Who knew?! Performers wore the logo representing the task that the "alien" they represented accomplished in their homeworld.
Typically, this would be Eshu's job, however, "no one knows what lies at the bottom of the ocean" is a phrase connected to this orixá that exhibits the vastness of airports and the difficulty in accessing information when you do not know what to ask.
Drawings by Mbiya Kabengele