Review of Muscle Nation’s “Feed Bag” at Ro2, by Greg Metz (2012)

A moveable feast? Consider Feedbag at the not so Okay Corral.

Have you ever wondered what it must have been like to have happened into the Cabaret Voltaire in 1916, nearly a hundred years ago, and encountered Tristan Tzara and fellow dada personas mimicking the absurdity of a Europe, torn apart by war, political instability, greedy plutocrats from industrialized nation building, while positing an absurdity of its own poetic license? This might have been your fate if one stumbled into the RO2 Art’s commando space during this Fall’s “Art Uprising” in Uptown (an oxymoron of its own).

Here under full siege of the slime slinging, media feeding frenzy of this campaign season’s playoffs—in the midst of economic and nationalistic polarization—comes the next act of  “Muscle Nation” art collective flexing it’s real dada plexs on Fall’s DADA  Art Walk

The plot: Danielle Georgiou along with “Slik Stocking” partner Hillary Holsonback, both with butt cheeks pulsing out of their lacy depends diapers, cheerlead a game show dinner panel made up of ‘collective’ members who must perform absurd requisite tasks with a slimy, oozing substance in a consuming, competitive milieu of tasks.

The contestants, five in all, gong it out as hyper-inflated contemporary Village People in order to be the most d-skilled victors in the most consuming, excessive ways possible.

The slimy substance is unknown, as is the process of its “sausage” making, which happens behind closed doors and could perhaps be a parallel to our own nontransparent system of gridlock legislation while the plutocrats make hay.

The proletariat messenger/delivery boy, Andy Amato—with a bib emblazoned with the giant killer “David” and his penis—delivers the gruel to the selected masses, to be fought over, picked at, played with and consumed to the jeers and cheers of a confused audience.

The session is refereed by an intimidating enforcer, Sandi Edgar, whose only task is to preside over ambiguous infractions of the proceedings with her whistle—but is obviously toothless in this age of deregulation—to enforce whatever contrite regulations there might be.

At certain points tacky and with intentionally bad performances, it was still more mindful of the setting and the times than most of the tented tourist art just outside. It had an effect much like seeing oneself in a fb video years later, taken during a debauched weekend fling, and wondering, “what were we doing while the rest of the world burned?”

Be it mass media, mindless commodity consumption, corporate sportatorium greed, relentless reality T.V., shock wave exhibitionism, this Greenaway’s (Rosa) meets “The Three Stooges” directed by a John Waters like Danielle Georgio (sic comedic game show)—stoops to remind us that our humanity is being gored. Consumption and Competition, in all their rendered absurdity, yet again, triumphs over cooperation and preservation in what we hope earns our survival in this Darwinian (misinterpreted) opportunistic world.

In Cooperation With Muscle Nation is Andy Amato, Hilly Holsonback, Willie Baronet, Sandi Edgar, Robin Myrick, Cody Coss, Val Curry, Danielle Georgiou and Emily Loving.

—Greg Metz
Greg Metz is an artist and a Senior Lecturer in Art at the University of Texas

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