January 24–March 29, 2014
“A small island of reality … sometime before the creation of the universe.”
Alexandre Singh’s The Humans represents the culmination of years of study, writing, drawing and sculpting by the artist for the creation of a three-act theatre play. Commissioned by Witte de With, Rotterdam, and Performa 13, New York, Singh’s story unfolds amid an allegorical landscape: a mountain rises centre stage separating the realms of Charles Ray, the pontifical Apollonian sculptor, and N, the silent, agile Dionysiac Rabbit Queen. Seeking to introduce chaos into an otherwise orderly cosmos, Tophole, Charles Ray’s fretful son, and Pantalingua, N’s daughter and interpreter, plot to contaminate the sculptor’s perfect statues with the passions, desires and bodily functions of humans – cold stone made living flesh.
Their plan is uprooted when the humans stage a rebellion led by Vernon Montgomery Spruce – the unscrupulous human transformed from the only sculpture Tophole made in Charles Ray’s studio. The humans embrace their newfound appetites and imperfections, introducing song, dance and anarchy into this otherworldly realm presided over by the mysterious authority Vox Dei. Though never seen, Vox Dei communicates through an air conditioner’s hum, an espresso machine’s gurgle, and a playful black cat, the curious Ms. Chief. Will the machinations of Tophole and Pantalingua corrupt humanity forever? Can Charles Ray wrest control of his creations? Will Vox Dei provide the revelation they seek, or will the humans be forced to define their own fractured truth?