The Dada artists made “sound poetry” and “word salads”: language chopped and mixed so that instead of understanding text, we hear texture. Nonsensical as meaning, sensory as experience. In Muyte Maker, Flora Détraz and her three identikit companions form a kind of contraption that produces a more multimedia version of Dada, with sound, image and action as its ingredients.
Dressed in dark aprons and white stockings, and sporting elaborate headdresses of fruit and flowers, the women sit at a table. Their braided hair is hooked via pulleys to large, counterweighted utensils: corkscrew, cleaver, hammer, chisel. In this bizarre mashup of antique country kitchen and medieval torture chamber, they sing chopped up versions of polyphonic troubadour songs, faces grimacing in time to the tempi. They sound like angels and look like imps, all action and emotion denatured by the sense that they’re driven by clockwork. It’s certainly cloud cuckoo land, and bafflement is probably its purpose.