Live performance & installation at Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam on its 100th Anniversary in 1995
+ 3 screen projection forming part of Hypnodreamdruff in 1996
Georgina Starr's large-scale artwork Hypnodreamdruff begins as a dream related by Tricia, flatmate to Emma and Pauline. The dream bursts into life in 'The Hungry Brain' which takes the form of a live performance event first presented at the opening of Wild Walls, an exhibition at Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam in 1995. Starr's work, a combination of a surrealist night-club scene and film-set during production, incorporated an elaborate assemblage of casual observations, conversations and actions relating to activities of 'the brain'. Although ultimately the product of Starr's imagination, the performance gathered momentum as the fictional characters (a cast of 12 performers) mixed with the public and merged scripted and improvised actions and dialogue. In the spotlight is 'Dave', a magic obsessed loner, seen in the club holding a one-sided conversation and showing his feelings vicariously through the lyrics of Lionel Ritchie songs. Also in the club is 'Elena', the chanteuse Starr herself performs. Elena is an alter ego of 'Mary', herself schizophrenically divided into multiple personalities with staring eyes ('The 4 Marys' who all have Starr's eyes). Alongside Dave and Elena are the flatmates Trisha and Emma who attempt to dissect the 'dream', 'The Woman with the Hypnotic Eyes' who is trying self-hypnosis, 'The Dream Analyst', and Sally & Pete characters based on Starr's own sister and her delinquent boyfriend.
Elena sings "Schizophrenia" with The Four Mary's in a extract from 'The Hungry Brain' (15 mins)
Voice and lyrics by Georgina Starr
Music from a scene at 'The Hungry Brain' in Norman Taurog's Visit to a Small Planet (1960)
The Schizophrenia dance scene with the original 1960's version.
Description of the The Hungry Brain performance by Michael Gibbs in Art Monthly:
Entering the first room of the exhibition Georgina Starr's The Hungry Brain is in fact like stumbling upon a film set. The scene is a night club, furnished with tables and chairs and a small raised stage. During the opening the tables were occupied by a bunch of odd people having loud conversations about dreams, blindness, stage hypnosis etc. A film crew lurked between the tables filming the characters as they spoke their lines. The actors disappeared after the opening, leaving the resulting video to be projected onto a screen on stage. The installation is full of coded references to the 60's, from the posters on the walls (many selected by Starr from the Stedelijk Museum Design Archive) advertising products to do with magic and hypnotism, to the spiral patterns on the tables and the gaudy lampshades inscribed with the words 'new constellatons'. The Hungry Brain suggests a gourmet approach to conceptual art, and is likely to appeal to those, like myself, who have a taste for 1960's retro-chic. Starr herself was born in 1968, so she cannot have known the artefacts of the 60's first hand. She had reconstructed them, then, not from memory but from a vantage point of the 90's and, in the process, created perhaps her most intriguing work to date.