Mega Pash Action: Alana Yee
The audience was moved to the stage, we all huddled together, neon wool was unfurled and woven between us, connecting us. We were given party horns with cat cutouts and heart shaped cards that read “Congrats on surviving 2016! Welcome to your awakening. Lots of Love the Universe xx”. The two performers then laid presents in a large circle on the floor where we had been sitting, suddenly the music changed, they disrobed and performed an incredibly physical synchronized dance. Afterwards they handed out presents to a lucky few; I unwrapped mine to find an abridged Crime & Punishment book and a card that simply asked: ‘Do you watch TV?’. The experience was called “Welcome your Nu rAge Meditation”, created and performed by Alana Yee in collaboration with Valentina Uliviers.
Talking to A Clodhopper ahead of our arts event Alana, also known as Mega Pash Action, said the performance idea came from a need to overcome what many consider was a bad year. “I’m interested in highlighting that whole idea of connection not disconnection. When people talk about the negativity of 2016 I feel that it’s a lot to do with disconnect. It was the whole punn of presents and presence. First it was Christmas, and I really like the idea of gifting. The idea of presents and also being present. All those things can be quite engaging and make people think, like with the naked element, about being human...being conscious of yourself, of being around other people, and of being present." And speaking from experience it felt there really was something engaging in the performance, early on A Clodhopper heard two hipster women grumble about the inconvenience of being so close to others on stage and sarcastically ask 'is this art', but by the end there was a real feeling of connection and achievement. Consciously it was ‘yes, good on us, we HAD survived 2016’ and perhaps unconsciously there was a feeling of presence in the moment all nicely bound together with the physicality of a present for our survival, bravo us!
The performance happened in December 2016 at Paper Dress Vintage in East London and was part of an event called S.A.M.P.L.E - (Some Artist Making Performance Laboratory Experiments). Alana, who is a performance artist and trained dancer hailing from Aotearoa (New Zealand), created S.A.M.P.L.E when still living there in direct response to her needs as a creative, and the needs of creative collectivism. “I thought I want to make a platform for primarily dancers but other artists too. But really wanted to make it about the process, not the outcome, and it became a platform for me to work on myself. So I set myself a really hard task of making a piece of work to perform once a month, I put it on in a different place each time, I did it for fourteen months. I wanted to focus on my artistic practice instead of pandering or waiting for funding. It was also a good platform - lots of people went off to Fringe festivals in NZ and some even went on to have babies with each other.” This idea of creating the scene you want and capitalising on opportunity seems to be a thread through Alana’s artistic progression - evident in how she got her performance pseudonym: “Mega Pash Action started in my dance school years in Auckland when I used to wear leotards and do this whole dance bombing thing. We were called the ‘Mega Pash Dance Bombers’ and we danced at club nights, music gigs and parties - as well as 'dance bombing' at mainstream clubs and bars. We would go to these mainstream clubs, strip off into our leotards and just take over the dancefloor and make a scene and leave...or sometimes we got kicked out first.” This Gorilla performance technique, ideas like collective meditation and creating the scene you want to see make Alana Yee a rare and exciting creative force; A clodhopper is a fan.