JOYCE MCMILLAN on ARCHES LIVE! 2013 Part 2 for The Scotsman 20.9.13
3 stars ***
AFTER the blaze of bite-sized creativity that marked the first night of Arches Live!, here come two more ambitious shows that are both absolutely fascinating in conception, and slightly tedious in execution. In Sortition, young performance artist Adam J Scarborough – dressed like a sleek contemporary politician on a party conference platform – offers the idea that widespread public alienation from politics might be addressed if all power was devolved to community councils elected by drawing lots. There’s bit of vox pop filmed in Buchanan Street, and a lot of repetition, as if Scarborough was having trouble moving the ideas forward; followed by a discussion with the audience about a show that identifies some well-observed problems with 21st century democracy, but seems ambivalent about its own possible solution.
Steve Slater’s Between Atoms And The Stars, by contrast, explores the powerful arts-science relationship between the mid-20th-century space race, and the creative imaginations of a generation. As a debut solo performance by one of Scotland’s leading producers, the show seems a shade mumbly and tentative, its physical details hand-knitted to the point of ineptitude.
There’s something magical, though, about Slater’s spacesuit-clad reflections on a brief encounter between Yuri Gagarin and the artist Joseph Beuys, and about the strange beauty of his movements as he explores the idea of weightlessness. And with Eilidh Macaskill and the Arches Community Choir belting out their wonderful, dislocated Songs Of Scotland in the foyer upstairs, this is another rich and strange Arches evening; if a shade more tentative than the one that went before.