rachid ouramdane

Zoe/Juniper "A Crack in Everything" at TBA:11.

The last weekend of Portland Institute for Contemporary Art’s Time-Based Art festival, both Rachid Ouramdane and Zoe/Juniper supplied some of the conceptual rigor that maybe the festival had been lacking until they arrived. I say “maybe” because I didn’t see everything.

Portland’s indigenous contemporary art tends to be more informal and improvisational (although tEEth’s “Home Made,” also in the festival and a major local hit, is an important exception).  So, to see creations that crackled with layers of stage wizardry and never digressed from their intentions was a little startling.

The themes of both Ouramdane’s “World Fair” and Juniper/Zoe’s “A Crack in Everything” were familiar, though. For the past couple of decades our artists have been warning  us that something has gone wrong — as individuals we are isolated, disconnected, crumbling from within at the same time we bristle against each other at our boundaries. Of course, different artists work this theme in different ways and they have different “answers.” Are we just that way naturally? Or is this particular culture more prone to the condition?

Rachid Ouramdane, “World Fair,” Friday night, Winningstad Theatre: I could spend a few thousand words describing the set, the effects and the action “World Fair,” even though it was a one-man show accompanied by a one-man band (Jean-Baptiste Julien). Ouramdane also enlisted the help of a lighting designer, video artist and set builder. So, yes, it’s complicated.

Continues…