Doom Box Ecstatica

Meanwhile Gallery, 2/99 Wllis Street, Wellington

13/11/2021 - 13/11/2021

Performance Art Week Aotearoa

Production Details

 Doom Box Ecstatica seeks to embody and investigate ideas of the multi-layered ‘private’ spaces and expressions that exist within our own bodies and psyche. Exploring our innermost landscapes and sub-conscious worlds, this sexy somatic dance party will celebrate themes of our collective blood memory, pleasure activism, and doom-scrolling tendencies. Honouring the emotional labour it takes in upholding the mysteries of our authentic selves, through a series of reclamation rituals and actions we will strive to embrace our personal junk histories and bodily autonomy.

 Doom Box Ecstatica is a performance artwork designed by Alana Yee to be performed at Meanwhile Gallery at 8-9 pm 13th November. Tickets are available on the event page here.  

Deviser: Alana Yee

Collaborative performers: Marika Pratley, Virginia Kennard


Performed as part of Performance Art Week Aotearoa 2021, curated and directed by Sara Cowdell. The festival runs from 10-14 November with a combination of online and physical performances. 


Deviser: Alana Yee

Collaborative performers: Marika Pratley, Virginia Kennard

Performance Art , Experimental dance , Dance , Contemporary dance ,

60 mins

The body politic is swinging from the rafters,

Review by Nancy Catherine Fulford 15th Nov 2021

What’s in your doom box? – That drawer or corner of your mind that holds all the stuff that’s just too hard to sort at the moment. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe never. The Three Doom boxes set in the performance space at Meanwhile Gallery overflow with the flotsam and jetsam of performance artists not afraid of who they are. It is a beginning place for the development of this show – the things in our lives tucked away: graveyards of the unresolved. Why don’t we talk about them anyway? Well then, let’s! And so they do. 

 Loudly, boldly, ‘blowing my socks off’ly. The layers, the commitment, the physical and emotional output from those performers is astounding. I’m still recovering. 

The piece is in parts a conversation. Sometimes we are given an active part in the event, particularly at the outset when we are invited to contribute to acknowledging everything that ‘held us’ there collectively: the land we stand on, the people  who came before us, the physical space, and lastly anyone we want to call in. It is a warm reception that sets the tone for seeing ourselves as important to the process.

If you haven’t been before, to get to Meanwhile Gallery you climb a couple flights of stairs and emerge into a small concrete space with fabulous old cranky windows looking down onto Willis Street. The space is intimate as are the performers intimate – with themselves, each other and us. It is a wild and at times confronting hour of movement, music and text. The man sitting cross-legged beside me gets a shoe in the leg more than once. But what a shoe! More a psychedelic platform for being sexy with a capital X. 
When the show opens the three performers are in erotic underwear – deeply erotic. They all look very very sexy in different ways. It is a playful and confusing contrast to the friendly tone when we arrive, but then anything is to be expected given their radically erudite programme blurb. 
Once the music begins the action reflects the costumes in a big way! The conversation is gone. The lens is tightened. I am watching a pleasure ritual that is riveting and unnerving. Really – I can just stare at that for as long as I like? And what exactly am I meant to do in this new role of voyeur. Do I just count myself as lucky or should I feel guilty about endlessly staring even though I’ve been invited? I guess I’ll just stare because it’s kind of cool that someone is sharing in this intimate way and certainly not something that usually comes into the public space. 

Neither do our stories about poos and wees, until now. And bleeding. A feminine hygiene product (menstrual pad) is visible in one of the erotic underwear outfits. ‘I have my period so I’m going to stay with a chill vibe,’ says the performer. ‘And I really like it that this is the sort of event that I can respond to my needs like that,’ she adds.  Again the audience are part of the conversation. ‘Who else here is bleeding?’ 

Why don’t we acknowledge this more in public I wonder? This is important information. We have all sorts of rhetoric about how we shouldn’t have period shame anymore but why is this the first public show where this information has been shared. 
OK, what frontier next??? Because this is the nature of this show. Taking us into taboo frontiers – fearlessly. The land of outlandishly imagined success for instance. I haven’t been there recently and I love going along for the ride as the performers escalate each other into living legends. You danced with Brittany, Madonna and Michael Parmenter, really? Was that all in the same show?

 It is one wild ride – no two ways about it. The body politic is swinging from the rafters, songs about designer vaginas and ‘It’s my body and I’m the boss of it.’ It is a relief to see all of this being showcased in the public space. It is something you could collide with easily back in the 90’s, can’t help myself name dropping about the seven foot purple vulva we created for an early Devotion Party, all of us leaping through to begin our dance number. But this sort of honesty about the role of our bodies and desire in our lives is hen’s teeth these days in my experience. It is refreshing and invigorating to meet it again in a much more considered and layered format then we ever dreamed of. 

And then, lastly, the doom boxes come out to play and all Hell breaks loose. It is a vibrant conclusion to a very memorable event. Congratulations to all involved.


Make a comment

Wellingon City Council
Aotearoa Gaming Trust
Creative NZ
Auckland City Council