project image
Video Still. Camera by rubén garcía marrufo

first performed on September 24, 2020
Performance Works NorthWest
performed -1 times in 2020


Onyx Andra

Portland, OR


“…if apocalypse is revelation, then the ritual is prepping to witness, and the opposite, to prepare to be the thing that is witnessed.”


“Myth is the threshold of history.”

—Saidiya Hartman

As the masked door attendant/technician carefully guides me into a brisk and darkened space, I am once again reminded that this is my first real public outing in almost six months. A lifetime ago, arrangements were made for me to be one of many in a room full of faces; to experience this culmination of research, collaboration, and planning in a collective group of mostly strangers. However, the trifecta of a global respiratory plague, state-wide infernos, and a long-standing Civil Rights crisis at its tipping point had long rendered all prior schedules meaningless. This private viewing, with an audience of exactly one person, is the contingency; the answer to the question that no one ever really wants to ask:

How do you continue to live and hold space within the crumbling, eroding structures that contain you?

A stunning hybrid of choreography, dramatic tension, and critical theory, “Androids in the Tower” begins as many things do: in a dark space of unsettling quiet. Save a sliver of light originating from the ceiling, one is forced to adjust to this redacted reality, where the edges of visual understanding are obscured and made unavailable. Only upon acquiescence to this new absence can one reconcile the amorphous figure encased within a slightly translucent plastic cylinder in the center. What follows is a slow-burning dance of languid, muffled, and purposeful movement. The figure increasingly begins to take shape; to define itself as an entity struggling within its synthetic skin. Its movements come in rolling waves, growing louder and more pronounced, with a stifled but ever-growing urgency.

You are born into loss, cradled by its sharpness from inception. It cuts you down, plucks you from the safety of humanness to mold you into something else, something more useful and less confusing for them. Something they can look at without seeing their own terrors. You know who you are, what you are but…no matter. This knowing only hurts you more. Better to pretend and fit yourself into their skin. Blend. Look. Take short breaths. Don’t move too much.