More like a zombie than a phoenix, Desert Body Creep makes a case for transformation through a fantasy of decay. A pop song becomes an ear-worm and burrows through the pores of a body, opening black holes, plot holes and wormholes. Sinking slowly through a chthonic mush, it doesn’t care to be reborn, but it’s very happy to become undead. Things have learnt to walk that ought to crawl, and the next step is obviously to dance.
Desert Body Creep is a life and death cycle with the epicness of Dune, but on the scale of a gummy worm, in the style of a surfie western, a cute horror, or maybe post-internet Lovecraft, set somewhere that’s halfway to nowhere on its way from everywhere. Recasting fear and monstrosity, Desert Body Creep assembles a new form of philosophy based on sweet and tender nihilism.
Desert Body Creep falls in slow motion through black holes, plot holes and worm holes, or maybe a rabbit hole, only to arrive again exactly where we already were, where everything is the same as always, yet totally unrecognisable. A dance which could be happening in a future so distant that it is impossible to predict, or in a past so deep that it is impossible to remember, or a present so real that it becomes completely inconceivable. It’s familiar yet mystical, a bit like de ja vu, or like a song that you hear for the first time yet already know. It’s like a coming of age through a past life regression, stuck in a lucid dreaming that’s sometimes funny but sometimes horrific, like when Beyonce poses a question that she already knows the answer to – what kind of dream is this? A sweet dream and a beautiful nightmare. Or a bit like the moment you re-watch a horror film from a decade ago and the cgi is so ancient that what you remember as terrifying is now kind of humorous. You don’t feel scared, but you might still have a nightmare later that week.
Desert Body Creep insists on the persistence of imagination even when there is nothing left to imagine. Everything’s been done already, and undone and redone, deconstructed, reimagined, rebranded, remixed, come back into fashion and left again and then come back. In a time when nothing is surprising, yet everything is uncertain, Desert Body Creep uses the limits of our imagination to expand what is already there.
20 November 2019 – Taipei Performing Arts Centre’s Camping Asia Festival, Taipei, Taiwan – https://campingasia.tpac-taipei.org/flavours.aspx?id=10
16 November 2018 – Baltic Circle Festival, Helsinki, Finland – https://balticcircle.fi/en/events/angela-goh-desert-body-creep/
16-17 January 2018 – COIL Festival, Performance Space New York (PS122), NYC – https://performancespacenewyork.org/shows/desert-body-creep/
22 & 24 February 2017 – Asia-Pacific Triennial of Performing Arts – XO State – Arts Centre – Melbourne – https://www.asiatopa.com.au/xo-state
24-28 January 2017 – Reckless Acts Festival -Perth Institute Contemporary Art – Perth – http://pica.org.au/show/reckless-acts-desert-body-creep/
22-25 June 2016 – Afterglow Festival – PACT – Sydney – http://www.pact.net.au/2016/05/desert-body-creep/
17-22 May 2016 – Next Wave Festival – Northcote Town Hall – Melbourne – http://2016.nextwave.org.au/desert-body-creep
Photos by Zan Wimberley