Curated by writer, academic, and playwright Jane Taylor, Season 4 of The Centre for the Less Good Idea takes the shape of a Collapsed Conference – a series of talks, presentations and ideas all told through performance.
VEHICLE | GERHARD MARX
“And the second is over. And my eyes are back on the road, back on autopilot, back to peripheral vision, with my hands here, the vital signs of the car all where they should be. A radio station breaking up and then hissing like water on a hot stove plate” – Toast Coetzer
Gerhard Marx’s Vehicle is as much about sound and its intangibility as it is about objects and their raw materiality. In fact, it is the relationship between the two – sound being generated by an object and subsequently giving life to that object – that gives the piece its grounding.
Performed as part of The Centre for the Less Good Idea’s 4th Season, Vehicle is the collaborative efforts of Shane Cooper, Kyle Shepherd, Toast Coetzer, and, of course, Marx. By making use of core fragments of classical string instruments – a cello, two violins and an upright bass – that have been grafted onto the body parts of a car, Marx’s performance creates a rich, transportive sonic world – a rich and immersive road-trip. Through this musical and material bit of forensics, car doors act as resonators, indicators and windscreen wipers become metronomes, and headlights become spotlights.
Cooper and Shepherd serve as the two constants in this piece, each musician situated at a car-door-turned-instrument and creating the immersive journey. There are long, low strokes of the double bass and short, sharp moments of the violin like a car moving along through high winds or crawling along dimly-lit dirt roads. Coetzer, who penned the accompanying prose for the piece adds a gravelly, almost droning sound to the performance as a recording of his prose, broken up and strewn throughout key moments of the piece, plays out. This spoken word element both anchors the performance and enhances it. Coetzer, Cooper, and Shepherd will take you “Through the spinning dervishes of Johannesburg, the metered-out mundanity of Midrand, the ridgetop strongholds of Pretoria and all the towns that follow.” You are on dark, endless roads surrounded by silent hills, and you are moving through bustling towns and cities, luminous plazas and roadside garages.
In Vehicle Marx picks apart pre-existing conventions, practices and found objects to explore and affect their inherent poetic and philosophical languages and assumptions. Abandoned car parts become narrative tools – musical instruments used to communicate complex and universal stories through the deft hands of some of South Africa’s most talented musicians.
For the full version go to : https://vimeo.com/300121521
Artist/director | Gerhard Marx
Performers | Kyle Shepherd, Shane Cooper
Prose | Toast Coetzer
Animateur for The Centre | Bronwyn Lace
Cinematography and Editor | Noah Cohen
Project Manager | Shruthi Nair
Lights | Wesley France and Guy Nelson
Sound | SoulFire Studios and Zain Vally
Stage Management | Hayleigh Evans and PopArt Productions
Writer | Dave Mann