This Saturday, Aug. 14, Elastic Arts will host the second installment of ¡HOT MESS!, a quarterly series produced and directed by interdisciplinary artist Sara Zalek. You can attend the performance (with mask on) at Elastic Arts‘ space (3429 W. Diversey Ave.) or tune in to the livestream. Performances will happen at 4:20 p.m. and 8 p.m. Tickets ($10) cover entry to one or both sets.
You probably haven’t seen a show like this before; artists will come together to create and improvise as you watch. The piece is meant to explore moments of creative collaboration and create space for artists (and audiences) to play, Zalek said.
“That’s what I’m most interested in, is that moment of putting everything together live,” they said. “Then, the artists are all listening really acutely, and I think in the moment of making, it’s really strong.” Zalek explained that they are unsure what value the performance holds once it is over but that it is compelling in the moment of creation.
“I want to give the artists a lot of autonomy and freedom to try something and not be worried about what the product is so much as the process,” Zalek said.
Serendipity In Curation
Zalek’s approach to curating is eclectic. “I love structure as a skeleton or as a form,” Zalek said. “But I also love that form allows for greater possibility.”
The one constant the artist maintains through each quarter of the ¡HOT MESS! series is that it features five artists. Zalek fills these spots in a few ways. Sometimes, they reach out to artists they admire; other times, friends introduce or refer them to new artists. Zalek even leaves the door open for anyone to apply to perform in ¡HOT MESS!, though no one has yet done so.
“There’s a little bit of serendipity, and there’s a little bit of like kismet,” Zalek said. They explained that things fall together and align so that the right artists come together for each performance.
The Second Installment
This weekend, performers include songwriter and performance artist GoldGrrl (Carolyn Carney), filmmaker and performance artist Eryka Dellenbach, learner and artist Fereshteh Toosi, and poet and performance artist Noah Fields. Carney will also bring along a collaborator to fill the fifth slot. Zalek does not yet know who that will be but leans into this mystery.
“I know it can be really scary as a curator to not know what an artist is going to do,” Zalek said. However, rather than orchestrating every detail, they opt to create “a space where artists can really each feel themselves directing and creating something together.”
Audiences And The Alchemy of Creation
Zalek said they want to bring forward an “alchemical” process of creation and then watch what emerges. They hope audiences will engage and feel inspired to create.
“The last group of people, they were writing a poem during the performance and passing it to each other,” Zalek said. The poem became an artifact of the show.
Zalek said they hope to immerse audiences in ¡HOT MESS! rather than making them feel “presented to.” They want to create a “porous exchange” between artists and audiences.
“The performance itself demonstrates the power of working together in the unknown, possibilities for queering space, and the beauty in restarting while making art,” Zalek wrote in a press release.
If this sounds exciting to you, grab $10 tickets from eventbrite today.
Featured photo and image descriptions: Sara Zalek
Featured image description: A deep purple image with patches of light and a network of lines crossing. The left side of the image is lavender, with a ghostly view of a face with big, round glasses. The person wears an earbud in their right ear and looks to the left of the frame. Their lips are pressed together. A small flock of dark lines hovers in the lower right.