project image
Noel Nichols

first performed in full on November 14, 2012
Zeitgeist Multi-Disciplinary Arts Center, New Orleans, LA
performed four times in 2012


Emily Barksdale, Filipe De Sousa, John Dougherty, Eliza Espy, Chris Matechik, Ty Nicholson, Taryn Pomerantz, Gary Batzloff, Chris Edgar, Marta Molina Gomez, Hannah Glenny, Matt Pham, Richard Rodriguez, Amy Ruddick

Pensacola, FL


“INFERNAL CAKES / ADJACENT MANIAS” is a multimedia performance representing a hybrid of folk dance, early cinema, televised cook-offs, collision sports (with all of the surrounding pomp and circumstance) and video games. The piece explores the evolution of popular forms of human interaction, including specifically: the cakewalk and its evolution from a cathartic lampooning of plantation society dance into a county fair ceremonial game of chance; the live-telecast football game; the cooking-based time management video game.

The piece uses two channels of projected video, mixed live, altering between the live and the pre-recorded, and projected above the actions of the live performers. The videos serve to propel a narrative while the live action is movement-based and often relies on chance and competition. Call and response takes place between the live and the recorded performers, and the pre-recorded video of the coaches and/or the referee directing the participants. Live movements include hybrids of cheerleading moves, square dances, football practice exercises, cake decoration and related forms of vernacular ornamentation and silent cinema slapstick. Often the movements assume the form of competitive face-offs between teams, combining with traditional dance or video game-based action.

Archetypes are reconfigured as sport-dance or sport-domesticity hybrids. Genders are swapped on a frequent basis between performers. Power relations are challenged through the hybridization of form and the reconfiguration of the function of gender in the narrative. Resolution is left to chance. The fusion and fission of cinematic and theatrical forms function alongside the creation and destruction of objects and entities to foreground the plasticity of the performed.

“Infernal Cake Mania,” a single movement from the performance, was first performed for Low Lives 4, International Festival of Networked Performance Art in March of 2012. The piece in its entirety was first performed at Zeitgeist Multi-Disciplinary Arts Center in New Orleans, Louisiana, in November of 2012 and then variations were performed at the Essex House in Miami Beach, Florida for Light-Assembly/Verge Art Miami Beach in December of 2012.