Dasha Rush Presents Antarctic Takt Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal, Montreal QC, May 28

Dasha Rush Presents Antarctic Takt Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal, Montreal QC, May 28
Photo: Trung Dung Nguyen
In the North American premiere of her new project Antarctic Takt, Russian experimental performer Dasha Rush made quite the impact. Coming onstage with videographer Stanislav Glazov, both clad in dark hoods, Glazov projected black and white WWII imagery accompanied by ambient drone. Suddenly, the veils dropped, physically and metaphorically, as Rush moved to the front of the stage to perform a combination of spoken word political manifesto and performance art. She backed up, while a slowly expanding spotlight hit the screen. The spotlight mutated into a glob of matter, that broke into tiny particles that start slowly linking into atom formation.
Meanwhile Rush crafted strident and screeching patterns of her own that oscillated between glitchy and sparse. Suddenly, the visuals zoomed out, to form intergalactic landscapes that were accompanied by droned aural blurriness, which Glazov was quick to mimic. This almost symbiotic relationship between Glazov and Rush is one of the set's high points, with every sudden twist and turn perfectly represented on screen. As the glitchy sounds became prickly, so did the constellations, turning into thorny formations. When Rush introduced a soft cosmic flute pattern that becomes stunted in a way that recalled throat singing, the visuals pulsated alongside perfectly. And as wave after wave of subtle distortion crept up, sounding like a cross between the crashing ocean and a swarm of bees, Glazov manipulated the thorns to resemble sparkly galactic tendrils.
The end of the set abruptly turned into deep and dark rhythms as the tendrils turned into crystalline patterns. Harsh drums were accompanied by arctic visuals, the project coming full circle, with computerized images of the aurora borealis toeing the line between nature documentary and early digital video game renderings. The set was in itself a game, swaying between laser sharp focus and blurred expanses, introducing Rush as a natural force herself.