Wild Card: Livia Rita – FUTURA Glitch

The Wild Card programme is an initiative by Sadler’s Wells which invites a new generation of artists to curate their own night. Livia Rita, singer, designer and artist, presents her Wild Card, FUTURA Glitch. Described as a cross-pollination of musicians, designers, dancers, writers, thinkers and activists, I was sold by the futuristic and post gendered description of a radical performance art event. For the sheer imagination and ambition of the piece I would recommend.

The Lilian Baylis Studio feels like the back exit of Sadler’s Wells—modern and sleek, yet small and poky. It’s the ‘bachelor pad’ version of a gallery space. Statue heads greet you together with a bright light that feels uncomfortable for a Friday evening. You are greeted by a person with hair sculpted into a futuristic style. It feels like something you’ve seen in Doctor Who. As she starts speaking, you get the sense that this hasn’t been planned and this, most likely, has been done on purpose. Their voice is barely audible; it’s nothing like what has become the norm in museums, galleries and theatres. There is none of the polish.

Into the exhibition space, there is the same inconsistency. There are good ideas, but the execution isn’t quite right. There are tables with prompts to write your idea of utopia which will then turn into a collaborative poem. Artists and performers talk you through rituals and art forms. It feels like a circus and a wellbeing convention combined. Incense, yoga, crystal vibes. I’m curious, and this is the kind of space in which you have to be. Artworks that could feasibly also be advertising adds to the cult-like feeling I pick up from the introduction. There are witchy futuristic creatures casting spells. I join a table where the host introduces the ritual and explains the food items on the table. There is a tray with oriental designs drawn on it which illustrates my discomfort with the showcase overall. This confusing array of inspirations from global cultures and practices borders on appropriation. This is not helped in that I don’t believe in their story and I don’t think they do either. It’s time to go in.

The real performance begins in the art studio. There are photographers and videographers everywhere. It contributes to the commercialism I sensed with the advert-style artwork. Is this on purpose, I wonder? Or is this actually a music video shoot and we’ve been invited to star in it like an X Factorlive audience. Photographers step into my line of sight to take a good shot.

The costumes are the highlight of the night for me, worn to be a spectacle and a movement piece in their own right. The sound is not to my liking, nor is it particularly accomplished. Some performances are stronger than others. The weaving together, however, is dull and I’m struck between moments of inspiration and intrigue to boredom and mortification. It’s an interesting experience that is worth seeing to witness how far performance art can go across a wide range of disciplines. However, the direction lacks confidence.

By Tasnim Siddiqa Amin.

Wild Card: Livia Rita – FUTURA Glitch was shown on Thursday 12th and Friday 13th May 2022 at the Lilian Baylis Studios (Sadler’s Wells). To find out more about the production, visit here…

For our interview with Livia Rita, visit here…

To find out more about Livia’s upcoming our, visit here…

Written by Theatrefullstop