May 31-June 2, 2018
Mattresses have been on my mind a surprising amount recently. Over the past year or two, I’ve noticed ads for ostensibly innovative beds — hyper comfortable and shipped directly to your home in a box — punctuating podcasts and filling subway stations. The ensuing bed contemplation has been oddly immaterial. While I know there is memory foam involved, these new mattresses feel almost entirely conceptual. Their novel delivery tickles expectations, and their ubiquitous advertising props them up as something of a symbol: a discursive element of the media zeitgeist, more than something a body would actually sleep, sweat, stretch, or dream on.
Lara Kramer’s Windigo, presented at Montréal’s Festival TransAmériques, begins with a set of more immediately tangible mattresses. Strewn on the stage, some still covered in packaging plastic, they have immediate weight. It’s a physicality that resonates in Kramer’s intensely somatic choreography. Performers Jassem Hindi and Peter James move through body states, imposing on, and responding to, their material collaborators. Kramer looks on from the stage’s margin, manipulating a soundscape of assembled fragments. The many-layered performance unfolds circuitously, in turns intimate and political, elegiac and grasping, opaque and vulnerable.