Throw That Negativity Away
What is contemporary art? Contemporary art involves the innovation of new ideas and art forms beyond the pure aesthetic of an object. Over the years artists have pushed the boundaries of acceptability, using performance to start controversial conversations. Topics such as global politics, women's rights and LGBTQ+ have increased in popularity, highlighting the ongoing issues we face daily.
The use of performance can test our endurance and strength. How long can we sit through the production? Potentially facing disturbing or uncomfortable topics, we are made to experience the reality of traumatic events. Not all performance work can be distressing, often humour and wittiness are more effective in engaging with the audience. This is demonstrated brilliantly in Travis Alabanza's BURGERZ.
Alabanza tells their story of how they became obsessed with burgers, after having a burger thrown at them and shouted transphobic abuse. During the performance, Alabanza relates the toppings to our bodies, dreams and whatever we wish the burger to be. I believe the burger is a metaphor for our lives. We are the burger. We can be non-binary, bi-sexual, transgender, or anything we want to be. What I enjoy about Travis Alabanza's performance, is the way they are not trying to change the person you are. They are encouraging you to be your true self, showing us through their own experiences how we can overcome challenging moments in time if we, as humans work as a team.
They draw attention to the bystanders who turned away. Emphasizing the choice, we get to make. Pushing the audience to question their emotions whilst watching them perform. Why do I feel guilty? Why am I angry? We ask ourselves. After the powerful intervention, we should have a fresh perspective. Imagine the person we can become and who we were. Just like the burger. Imagine it now with all the delicious toppings that make it so great.
Following on from the discovery of Alabanza, this made me question myself. But how can we make these changes if we lack self-love? I recently came across AGONY AUNT: My Happily Ever After. This blog opens up the mind, allowing us to see how the world can shape us into who we are today. Zulayha Zabair writes about reality. By pointing out the realness, we recognise that change is not easy. By taking that first step, we can make a difference. This may be standing up for our LGBTQ+ community, as Travis Alabanza drives into it or this might in fact mean having confidence in ourselves to show our true colours.