The Body As Lightning Conductor

Exploring that "euphoric moment" in Matthew Stone's tribute to his vogue heroes in Miami

The new soundpiece and visual “The Body as Lightning Conductor” from London-based artist Matthew Stone presents an oral telling of modern vogue culture and community. The piece functions as abstracted documentation of a collaborative performance that he staged with ballroom DJ & producer MikeQ at Miami Art Basel in December 2012. The audio features interviews with the performers Rico Allure, Kasaandra Ebony, Gregg Evisu, Tamara Prodigy and MikeQ, and the visual showcases footage of dancers performing at the underground ball ‘Vogue Knights’ in NYC where MikeQ DJs. Stone adds his own dark industrial-leaning sounds, in the vein of his recent collaboration with Michele Lamy and Zebra Katz ‘How Do You Feel?’

Stone says of the piece “There is a growing awareness of vogue culture. But people don’t seem to understand the importance of the social activism and support networks that exist within the community.” As one dancer says in the footage: “There’s so much more than what you actually see.” Stone reflects this distortion in the film, a monochromatic vision of architectural geometry, as footage of twists and walks are shown in concentric circles collapsing in a cascading framing vortex effects. Here, their deftly expressive moves find their foil, and their embrace. Voguing is a balletic negotiation of space, the carving of community and a niche where the floor is theirs for the taking. “I think that’s what goes into a great dancer or voguer”, says one of the stars in voiceover.“[It’s] just being able to come into a euphoric moment.”

Last year, Stone released a manifesto entitled EVERYTHING IS POSSIBLE & LOVE CHANGES EVERYTHING, which posited kindness as “the only radical act in a world largely defined by cruelty and destruction”.  Perhaps this is what he see’s in the vogue community, saying that “It's so inspiring to see something that is both heart-breakingly beautiful and viscerally powerful emerge from something so community minded.”