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ALL I EVER AM @ The Rechabite gets 7/10


All I Ever Am @ The Rechabite
Friday, May 7, 2021

7/10

A unique, never-the-same show, All I Ever Am is a live audio-visual collage, a sensory overload, sampling live video and data from the internet. It’s the latest production from kdmindustries – a local group founded by Mark Haslam that creates visceral, bold and inventive contemporary performance experiences.

While the inherent challenges of the concept bring some limitations to the cohesive flow, the thrill of the ride made up for it, with an hour-long improvised collaboration that was part live electronic music with visuals, interactive performance art, thought provoking theatre and commentary on the madness of modern life, inspired by the monstrous data sharing platform that is the internet.


The Rechabite proved to be a great setting for the show, in intimate theatre mode. As the masked crowd entered and took their seats, they were greeted by the ominous stage, decked out with an array of equipment and a transparent screen in front it, which displayed a waveform that moved in response to sound – immediately engaging the crowd, who whooped and clapped and hollered to see the effect.

The two artists took the stage, sitting behind the desk of equipment. “Everything you see here today is being generated live” the slowly typed message on the screen read.


Mark Haslam, controlling the keyboard, introduced James Luscombe behind the modular synth, who was making all sorts of cool electronic sounds, bleeps and beats and bass that rumbled so deep you could feel it. Haslam interacted with the crowd throughout the show purely through typed text, making jokes and introducing sections and concepts as they moved through a dazzling array of sounds and images.

Live web scrapes of TikTok videos, webcams and all sorts of data and information were thrown up on two screens behind them, cut up, looped and mixed up with a mishmash of kaleidoscopic graphics and effects.


There was a section about the history of the legendary “Amen break’” – the most sampled drum break of all time – originally from the 1969 track Amen, Brother by soul group The Winstons, that went on to form the backbone of many hip hop and drum ‘n’ bass tracks. The drummer, Gregory Coleman, never received any royalties, and died homeless and destitute in 2006.

This set the tone for what was to come – a modern mashup of recycled data and information, without much regard for the source, all accessible for the world to do with as they will.


They then took us on a tour of random live webcam footage from around the world, courtesy of dodgy Russian website Insecam, that streams video from the world’s unsecured webcams.

Some emotive sonic interludes soundtracked other random imagery of live maps, weather and transport routes from around the world, overlaid with some truly staggering, rapidly increasing numbers of pizza orders, Tinder swipes, COVID cases, etc… As the show’s brief stated “The number of bytes in the digital universe is 40 times more than the number of stars in the observable universe.” Mind-boggling stuff.


They then asked for the audience to text them their email for their next experiment, while ironically giant visuals of a harvesting machine was projected on the screen. They entered people’s emails into the website “Have I been pwned?” which basically shows if your email address, password, phone number or other details have been compromised in a data breach – usually due to some site that has your credentials being hacked. Sure enough, one by one, everyone failed, epically. Except one guy at the end, who received big cheers!

Ending on a fun, yet also sombre note, random comments from Reddit AMAs and “Shower Thoughts” threads were posted, with the rising sounds of the synth combining to create somewhat of an emotional climax. They left us with a thought-provoking comment: “What we had is gone. What we have is everything.”


While at times rough, random and tangential, the performance left a resounding impact on the audience. Perhaps there is more room for development and other concepts to be added, but it was an innovative show, raising intriguing ideas and sparking some interesting conversations about the both amazing, and disturbing, impact of the internet on our lives, changing your perception of this vast world of readily available information.

Hopefully this won’t be the last time the show is performed in Perth. It would be well suited to a run at Fringe or Perth Festival, and it’s definitely worth checking out if you get the chance.

ALFRED GORMAN

Photos by Fionn Mulholland

 

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