(I Could Go on Singing) Over the Rainbow
- Arusa Qureshi
- 25 August 2017
Live art with added intimacy
Thundering white noise welcomes the audience into a small basement room in Summerhall, where FK Alexander awaits, accompanied by Glasgow-based noise band Okishima Island Tourist Association, who stand ominously in the background, like sinister puppet masters, black aviators hiding any hint of emotion.
What follows is a rare experience, where the boundaries between performer and spectator are purposely blurred. Members of the intimate crowd are invited to stand hand-in-hand with Alexander as she sings along to the last recorded performance of Judy Garland's 'Over the Rainbow'. Each participant stands on the 'X' on the floor, hands over their red ticket, as if putting a coin into a machine-operated amusement, and Alexander repeats the process, donning her holster, black sequinned jacket, coat of red lipstick and of course, the ruby slippers. Every movement during the song, from a raised right arm to the wink of her left eye, is duplicated with exactness, without the hint of any loss of spirit or passion.
During the durational performance, each iteration feels somehow unique, with the cacophony of noise and striking lighting effects working together to lull you into a place of comfort or fear or sadness or bewilderment. For those that stand with Alexander, some exhibit joy while others shed tears at the weight of the experience.
(I Could Go on Singing) Over the Rainbow is, in a way, a tribute to the iconic figure but it's also an intensely powerful study on the suffering of the artist and an interrogation of our consumption of their craft. For some, this may be a difficult piece of performance art but for many, it will be utterly cathartic.
Summerhall, until 27 Aug (not 25), 8pm, £10 (£8).