While personal identity is often held as an elevated concept to be strived after, it can sometimes be misconstrued and used towards the development of selfishness and bigotry. We as individuals must continuously define our unique nature but we sometimes need help finding commonality between ourselves. This constructed identity can sometimes be a hinderance to that.
Nick Cave’s most notable contribution to the arts community, the Sound Suit, is a construction that bridges the genres of aural art, performance art (dance), sculpture, and fashion. About a month ago, I found myself driving to a Cave museum performance. My experience resembled a scene from Where the Wild Things Are, with
large monster like beings all dancing to club music as members of the audience started to join in. Children, teenagers and even seniors danced among the costumed performers. As I looked on it became clear that this wasn’t a performance, it was an interaction. There was no doubt or awkwardness but simply a passing of joy and freedom. The dancers in the Sound Suits ceased to be seen as people and became the character that they moved through. Nick Cave had succeeded in creating an atmosphere that legitimately brought imagination to reality.
Through Cave’s performances, we can explore community in a setting which encourages it with
out the superfluous awkward circumstances that come through societal conventions. Ultimately, it cuts the shit out. For the individual within the suit, they themselves must enter a unique experience of aural and movement based expression.
The Sound Suit interaction resembles the traditional dances of Native American tribes, which focus on community and spirituality. The unique sounds of the suits coupled with the enactment of spirits and heavy pulses creates an experience meant to remove the participants from every day reality in the attempt of more visceral communication.