There’s a gap between nostalgia and embracing retro fashions, as there’s a chasm between the future world we want and the one we’re likely to have. This space in between is where Retrofuturismus New World create, dream and play; where they fill the emptiness with feminist performance art that questions itself and dares its audience to enjoy themselves even when they know that every thought and act is political.
Maude and Anni Davey host in gold jumpsuits with retro-future shoulder pads (they will be back), comfy rubber heels and hair buns that show man-buns how to bun. They don’t hide their 50-somethingness and don’t concede to any ideas that women in their 50s shouldn’t be astronauts or cockroaches, or that burlesque, cabaret or circus should adhere to dated ideas and expectations.
They are joined by Anna Lumb, who always brings the unexpected with hoops; Gabi Barton, who leaves everyone wanting to dye their ‘unsightly’ body hair bright yellow; and Teresa Blake, who remembers the phrase “shit a brick”, makes a reverse strip even more questioning, and knows that being naked isn’t always about sex or enticement.
Each bring themselves to their art and love that their work is so much the better by always asking why. They are joined by a guest artist each week, with Kura Puru (13–17 July), Yana Alana (20-24 July) and The Huxleys (27-31) July. But week one was Azaria Universe.
Universe performed on a single trapeze in frilly retro bikini and elastic bands that cut into her bare body every few centimetres. It must hurt, it exacerbates the fat on her strong and fit body and she smiles because she has to; why would a woman do that to themselves? Maybe ask the women in slimming underwear that doesn’t let them eat, or breathe, and shoes that they take off as soon as they sit down.
Retrofuturismus New World is a space that loves the future image of the past in the likes of Barabella but re-invents the way women are treated in the film. Theirs is a future that’s created by the best of now and one that re-invents any ideas that women are hysterical creatures that should never dare to be themselves.