Superamas!
Superamas: BIG 3rd Episode (happy/end)
09.12.08 at Lincoln Hall Auditorium
2008 Time-Based Art Festival, PICA
Photo by Patrick Sullivan
All Rights Reserved, PICA
You really need to go see this show tonight.
No really. If you’re a TBA fan, you owe it to yourself to head down to PSU and party it up with Superamas.
Posted By: Jim Withington


For me, Friday’s performance by the French-Austrian ensemble cleared the air after a week of seeing some pretty gutsy and heavy performances. Integrating cultural touchtone songs (including “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy”) with full out, music video-style lighting production, this group brings a joyful, strange, powerful mishmash of video, lip sync, and dance moves to the stage.
One of the biggest devices employed by the group is that of deconstruction through repetition of certain scenes. Superamas chooses to use prerecorded voices and then to lip sync the spoken parts of the scenes, creating a jarring effect not unlike watching a laggy YouTube video that sometimes syncs and sometimes slips out of phase. In replaying scenes over and over, and slightly changing some of them, I found myself being able to experience everything going on on stage–in a way, Superamas provides the performance art viewer a means to be able to catch everything in a scene, despite the scene’s temporal nature.
Did I mention the topless dancers? Yeah, there are a lot of them, both male and female, and one of the repeated scenes involves three of the women changing into their aerobics gear while discussing whom they would want to sleep with most. While none of this certainly isn’t a shocking thing at a TBA event,the way that some of the spoken text turns on a dime from mundane to naughty charges the show with humor and a feeling of “what next?” In a way, this playful celebration of sexuality shocks you into paying attention while also reassuring you that laughter and titillation belongs on the stage.
There are certainly darker moments, too. During the “Teen Spirit” sequences, it feels a lot like they are playing with the masculinity of it all (despite using a female performer in the Cobain role), but by turning up the volume (audibly and visually) to a hyper-ecstatic state, Superamas highlights the ridiculousness of “rocking out.” Some of the video aspects that run between the live action portions are at turns scary, sinister, and hilarious.
All in all, I just keep telling people that this show was joyful, playful, and downright happy–an excellent way to cap off another year of TBA!
Note: Unlike my talented colleague, I definitely did not catch all the references in the show. So be sure to check that write-up, as well.
Superamas: BIG 3rd Episode (happy/end) plays it’s final TBA night at 8:30pm on Saturday, September 14th, at PSU’s Lincoln Hall.