Oreet Ashery: Raging Balls & Golani Varanasi
The Arches, Glasgow, Fri 12 Jun
Even the least articulate among us can suddenly become word-perfect when overtaken by a spasm of rage, often to compelling effect. The performance artist Oreet Ashery is keenly aware of this, and, inspired by the artist David Wojnarowicz’s wild rages against the US authorities’ refusal to act upon the Aids crisis in the 1980s, has decided to reinvigorate the old-style political rant. Here, though, the audience are encouraged, if they dare, to interact with the feisty orator. ‘I’m kind of interested in that political rage, not that more general, “oh this doesn’t work” and “I don’t like that” stuff,’ Ashery explains. ‘The first speech is about stop and search. One day I saw four policemen arresting this young guy, with really excessive force. I tied this in with the idea we’re always hearing, about the need to fight terrorism, but is this really a general means of oppressing and controlling people?’
She goes on to discuss a recent cultural phenomenon emanating from the Middle East. ‘It’s this idea of these young Israeli men, who after the army, all go to India. The problem with this is that some of the soldiers who have served in the occupied territories are treating Indians the way they treated Palestinians. There’s also another side to it, where we see these young Israelis, and just as they have prejudices against the Indians, we have prejudices against them.’ Go along, but don’t complain if you get a bit of a hair dryer from Ashery.