“There are more ways to be disorderly than there are to be orderly,” says performance artist Andrew Schneider in his frantic show, Youarenowhere. “This is a fact.”
Lights strobe. Machines flicker and screech. Schneider, shirtless, bleeding from the nose and covered in wires, seems not to be in control. He also appears to be a time traveller.
Transplanted from its New York home to the North Melbourne Town Hall for the Melbourne Festival, Youarenowhere is a strange, kinetic experience during which, as Schneider points out, it would be very difficult to get bored.
Will Cox: Hi Andrew. What exactly is Youarenowhere about?
Andrew Schneider: The show is about quantum mechanics, physics, love, and human connection. A lot of it is about how you can’t get inside of other people’s experience and experience things like they do.
Our brains are not entirely happening in the present. They’re a little bit in the future and a little bit in the past. We’re all very scattered people, and that’s exacerbated by our gradual slip into an “always-on” society, where we’re constantly distracted by technology, media and advertising.
The first half of the show is very synaptic, fast-paced and frantic. No one knows what’s going on. That reaches a feverish pitch and then cracks open, and we’re left looking at ourselves. The second half of the show is about figuring out what happens when you’re forced to look at yourself.
WC: There’s an element of chaos to the show, with the feeling that you’re not entirely in control. Even the theatre reviewer for the New York Times seemed unsettled by not being certain of what’s right and what’s wrong.
AS: I think it’s very important to keep the audience on edge like that. It holds your attention. You can’t zone out. It wouldn’t be possible for someone to be in that room and not be paying attention. Things are happening so rapidly that you’re just inundated.
We have fun with the idea of things going wrong. Sometimes even I don’t know what’s going on. When I first put the show together I wasn’t a very good programmer, so a lot of the tech was glitching and breaking all the time. So we took that and mapped it made it part of the show.
Youarenowhere shows as part of Melbourne Festival at the North Melbourne Town Hall from Thursday October 15 to Monday October 19. Tickets are available here.