Upon entering MoMA PS1’s VW Dome on Sunday, April 9, visitors will find themselves immersed in a unique environment: colored reflecting pools, handmade banners, and text projected with lasers will fill the space. This will be the setting for OR LIFE OR, a new performance by artist Hannah Black in collaboration with the musician Bonaventure and the designer Ebba Fransén Waldhör.
Happening three times over the course of the day, the performance will feature a superhero named Anxietina, whose superpower, of sorts, is anxiety. The feeling transforms our heroine into “a force for simultaneous good and evil, the vanishing-into-irrelevance and the emerging-into-history of human action and interaction,” according to the description of a performance by the artists last July at the ICA London. That’s a pretty good indicator not to expect anything too straightforward or overly narrative, and it’s in keeping with Black’s purposefully nonlinear work across mediums; she deftly combines wide-ranging interests in identity, theory, and pop culture, digging below the surface of common words and images as she goes. Fittingly, the other listed reference points for OR LIFE OR are “the Wikipedia entry for ‘life,’ theories of political struggle, and the twin specters of apocalypse and ancestry.” Heady material but, hopefully, in the hands of Black, Bonaventure, and Waldhör, also the makings of an absorbing artistic adventure.