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Arts & Culture

‘Caress of Progress’ at the Space: intoxicatingly original

Shine Shed’s performance piece was a much-needed reminder that refreshingly new art and ideas are incubating in Orlando



Soon we were escorted to a brief intermission in the Hall of Ads, a room festooned with promotions for fictional products like Marlboro LSD, where our host attempted to get attendees who hadn’t prepaid to cough up a $5 donation toward the venue (a sadly small number complied). Next stop was the living room, where Frank Friend played live synthesizers to a spoken-word soundtrack of statements about progress: “Convenience comes at a cost ... more music is being created than ever before, by people with nothing new to say.” The result resembled early EPCOT Center songs as redone by Daft Punk, but I was distracted by the mysterious woman in a yellow raincoat standing outside the window, gesturing wildly at me. (I never learned if she was part of the show or a heat-induced hallucination.)

For part three, we packed into the smallest space yet for Brian Kasper’s multimedia assault of droning drum tracks and distorted stock footage, with enough incessant stuttering to drive Max Headroom mad. I was intrigued by Kasper’s use of Ableton Max for Live software to manipulate video in real time, but between the facile juxtaposition of iPhone ads with Nazi propaganda, and my mounting claustrophobia, I mentally checked out halfway through.

Fortunately, the fourth and final segment brought us full circle back to organic humanity, as exotic acoustic-flavored trio Afeefa and the Boy (with Kevin Ohr) performed a haunting lullaby inspired by lead singer Afeefa Ayube’s daughter. Too soon, the carousel ceased spinning and we were sent out to debate what we had just experienced. Though the illusions were somewhat oversold and I would have appreciated more elbow room, the evening was intoxicatingly original, leaving me eager to see what these artists can come up with next. “Is THIS progress? This IS progress!”

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