Published on the Deli Philadelphia – Saturday, January 21, 2012

When we think of Greek mythology, we often consider its mystical being—of the iniquitous morality set against a fustian backdrop of prolific sagas. We’re far removed from its intent, instead regarding those amaranthine epics are just mere building blocks for our English degrees—for a purpose of distinguishing the various types of literature that evoked obsessive admiration through the ages. But, at tonight’s Plato’s Porno Cave at North Philly’s Little Berlin, that disconnect will be propitiously confronted. The high concept art exhibition, billed appropriately as a “social gathering of surreal performance art, drinks, warm song, and a symposium on the mysteries of love,” is inspired by Ancient Athens comic playwright Aristophanes’ speech in Symposium, Plato’s famous philosophical text dated 385–380 BCE. Aristophanes’ swirling speech on love, which suggests the history of same-sex and different-sex soulmates, follows the journey of human creation—that the Sun, Moon and Earth birthed man, woman, and androgyny (man and woman), respectively, with double bodies.  They were mighty and ample like their parents—and they were arrogant, dare challenging the Gods by climbing Mount Olympus. And since the Gods were equally arrogant—and wholly rapacious—they punished this recalcitrance by dichotomizing their bodies into frailer halves. This chastisement left these new beings to wander, forever suspiring for their other half with forsaken hope. It’s an exquisitely afflictive narrative, one the Plato’s Porno Cave will dismantle in three parts: Keys of Lighting, involving the dismantling of a playing piano until the music is only the resonances of tools to symbolize Zeus’ punishment; Heads of the Table, an audience-involved piece that will envisage the “complications of a two-headed human”; and Wandering Half Giants, another audience-involved piece that includes performers drifting through the space in oversized attire with vacant 12-foot long limbs, conjuring the sensation of desolation, which they will transmit to visitors through Aristotelian enquiries. This bizarre but spectacular chromatic exposition will be elevated through the outflow of illusory soundscapes by, among others, the Armchairs’ Andy Moholt, Jon Shapiro,the Ox’s Greg Johnson, and Lincoln Line’s Scott Bickmore. If nothing else, let Plato’s Porno Cave antagonize your grasp of devotion and destitution, of coveting and solitude, of the world we’re supposed to accept but refuse to comply with. Little Berlin Gallery, 2430 Coral Street, 8pm, All Ages  –Annamarya Scaccia

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