Tai Shani at Fabric
This one-night performance of Tai Shani’s chamber play resulted from a collaboration between Art Night and the Museum of London. Fabric will become the world’s first in-house nightclub when the Museum of London moves locations to its new home next door to the club. This evening marked a branching out for the venue. Its current function as a place for transcendence on the dance floor and Smithfield’s blood-soaked history as one of the earliest sites for public executions in London make it an evocative subterranean milieu for this work.
The commission was Shani’s first major performance project since DC: Semiramis for which she was nominated and collectively won the Turner Prize in 2019. Billed as one of her most ambitious works to date, she explains that “the play has three main protagonists; two women presenting characters called ‘Them who love’….There is also a ghost, The Ghost for Revolution, that is real and a violent image on the screen, the ghost recounts somatic histories of political brutal tyranny.”
To give the work its full name it is: My bodily remains, your bodily remains, and all the bodily remains that ever were, and ever will be. (Down, skin, pelt, vellum, alert tangled roots, subcutaneous flesh, subterranean blind life). The chamber play combines poetic meditations with eerie dirge-like music, provided by Death in Vegas, and dystopian CGI visuals. The use of language is hypnotic and meandering, incorporating themes of visceral corporeality and the mystically spiritual. It combined an unflinching confrontation of our bloodthirsty past while dismantling assumptions of our present and ruminating on the potential for future change. Lines like “brutality is administered and we call it nature” linger in the mind. It proved a strange but powerful work.
Tai Shani is at Fabric on 25th October 2022.