M.E.S.S is an audiovisual performance about side effects like anxiety and restlessness in the search for identity. The project started in December 2018 with the initial goal of producing an electronic music album that uses techno and hardstyle as the medium to express the confusion of thoughts generated from the subculture’s overwhelming by mainstream culture. During the production process, Zhang gradually felt the connection of the queer identity brought by this album, and then the music project was expanded to graphic design, album design, costume design, music visual, and live audiovisual performance.
The performance experimented with putting the club scene into the gallery and using high-energy hardcore-techno to show the restlessness and release of the club’s aesthetics and being on the dance floor. Political formations and social pressures are released in dim performances, and identity flows gradually towards the true self. The performer wears a mask and a leather strap and Gothic pattern. The body is showing the queer self, but the face is completely blocked. The mask is covered with aluminum spikes, which seems to be offensive and a sense of distance. It is reflected in the mask to express the last release of stress, dissatisfaction with the outside world, and the positioning of its queer identity in society—the glitchy and ever-changing projections in the performance show this kind of anxiety.
The performance creates a club space that releases pressure, mapping the extreme anxiety of the artist’s unrecognized queer political and cultural environment, while allowing people to explore their identity in the dim performance, and triggering people’s thinking.
Performance: Sept. 6th, 2019. MCAD MFA Gallery in Minneapolis
Group Exhibition: Break Every Rule: MFA Fall Show
Photographers: Emma Beatrez, Emma Shen
Music: Junyao Zhang
Light: Junyao Zhang, Lee Noble
Projection: Junyao Zhang
Curation: Junyao Zhang, Ellen Mueller, Lee Noble, Patrick Sexton, Emma Beatrez, Alonzo Pantoja
Equipment: Media Center of MCAD