From: Report on Interferences Festival, Belfort France
Perhaps the best performance was that of Russian artist Alexei Shulgin. He also captured first prize in the performance art category for his performance "386DX" (http://www.easylife.org/386dx). Alexei came onstage with a computer keyboard hanging from a guitar strap slung around his shoulder. He looked like Joey Ramones of the Ramones punk rock band. A synth voice announced that the human onstage was merely decoration. After starting up the first song Alexei pantomimed various guitar playing gestures using the keyboard as his ersatz axe. A screen behind him pulsed with a cheap geometric light show animation synchronized to the music. This is one of those applications one can download from the internet for free. A sort of kiddie light show. Indeed, the midi sound tracks for each song played are freely available on the web from pop music midi sites. The first song was a droll rendition of "California Dreamin'" originally done by the Mamas and the Papas. The male synth voice sang along in the stilted comic manner of synthetic voice. The high point of the concert was the synth voice singing the Doors song "Light My Fire." Indeed, the whole concert was a string of mostly American rock hits. The European audience cheered and applauded in recognition as each subsequent song began. What this points out is a very sharp analysis of the pervasiveness of American media products throughout the world. At one point the 386dx band launched into the Sex Pistols song, "Anarchy in the UK." This moved a couple of the audience's young fellows to start doing faux moshing and slam dancing and yes I know The Sex Pistols are British. What I found most intriguing was the subtext of commonality of experience created by rock music. This appears to be an epoch just passing and is currently being replaced by the shared experience of a global internet. Structurally speaking, Alexei a Russian artists refers to American media but filters it through both web accessibility and a European point of view.