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Event Report: Conflux with 85A: Mask Pit(ch)

Lorna Irvine reports on the recent presentation of work at the Briggait.

Remember when nights out felt like nights out? The eyes like saucers through excitement, not E's. Anticipation in your tummy. We're talking pre-teenage years circus treats here. The 85A Collective, a group of multi-discipline performers, artists, designers, film makers and musicians remember that thrill and how an event should be just that. But the difference is: their nights are distinctly adult and subversive, with a European aesthetic—naughty treats for people who like a punky, post-rave, raw experience.

This is not a review as such, more an overview of some samples of works-in-progress and new works, presented at the Briggait in association with Al Seed of Conflux, Glasgow.

85a Kicking things off, the 85a crew talk us through their impressive body of work, including submarine show Orzel, The Jan Swankmajer surrealist film night and recent project Herbaceous Barbershop in which coconut matting/grass was placed on the heads of willing volunteers and they were given a trim, with predictably, unpredictable results. Their recent project, the film Chernozem will return fully-formed to Summerhall and even more excitingly, work (which is top secret at the moment) will commence at the Commonwealth Games next year.

Rachel Maclean-Germs (New work) The phenomenon that is Maclean, winner of the Margaret Tait award 2013 and Glasgow's own Indie Cindy Sherman, presents her new work for Channel Four's Random Acts, a witty three minute parody of domestic advertising tropes, with Maclean playing all roles as usual, from glam cosmetics dolly to the individual germs in the toilet bowl. Wonderful, astute and of course a wee bit warped.

Melanie Forbes Broomes- Buy This! (Work-in-progress) Also playing with female stereotypes is Artistic Director Of Various Dance Artists, Melanie Forbes Broomes. Fresh from wowing the audience at Arches Live, her new dance piece sees her wrap herself like a commodity in cling film, breathing into the mic, gyrating, standing on her head, contorting and undulating, at once hot and deadpan, playing with sexiness and perceptions of female behaviour.

James Stephen Wright- AIEE! (New work) Wearing an animal mask, James Stephen Wright traps the urban foxes in a small film shot on night-cam, in which the hunter is hunted and scrutinised in a surreal and disturbing manner. He lies to the side of the film, a louche half man/half creature commentator growling and howling like the night visitors.

Louna- Roslein Rot (Work-in-progress) How do I love thee, Louna? Let me count the ways...Tonight, the sisters grim (m) are little sex Pierrots, flirting with audience members and dangling appendages alike. Their aesthetic is like a Brechtian Joy of Sex with a cheeky wink and a flipping of predatory masculinity and female sexual agency. They swap gender roles and sexual positions with gleeful OTT ferocity and it's a joy as ever to witness them reading classsic texts, this time from Goethe's Heidenroslein. Louisa and Anna are a performance artist duo who are as playful and imaginative as they are intelligent, and it's a pleasure to have to speak... the saucy minxes.

Hive - 85A/Alex Rigg/ Collaborators(Work-in-progress) Hive is almost impossible to categorise- dark, disturbing and filmic. With nods to the morphing, distorted art of Francis Bacon and the nightmarish visions of David Lynch, creatures writhe in plastic, ready to pounce or cover their prey in viscid fluids. Here, the Queen Bee is something to fear rather than venerate.

Liquid Sky- Aedin Walsh, Jack Wrigley and Becky Anson (work-in-progress) This would be an amazing finale to a festival, somewhere in Spain or Greece. A lone tightrope walker shimmies up a rope and performs elegant aerial work, while around her, green lasers fill the air, strobing her body's every movement. A visual triumph and utterly charged.

Forthcoming by 85A is Chernozem and Renegade Maskerrade at Summerhall, Edinburgh on December 6th,2013 and a collaboration with GFF, Cargo, Camera, Action! at Commonwealth Games, Festival 2014 and Manipulate Festival, Edinburgh 2015.

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