Thursday, February 23, 2012


"The-Now-Age": by Taraka Larson @ the Clocktower Gallery(home of AiR-art international radio)Article & photos by K.K.W

As the lights went low, the voice began to creep out towards those seated and standing in the crowded space, with the slow sound of the drum carrying it forward. Something was happening. The crowd was stirred and on the edge of their seats, so that after a brief pause with only Larsons voice in the air, the drum sounded and just about everyone jumped.

A mix of spoken word, electronic visualization, and cult performance participation, 'the-now-age' was a moving scientific critique of symbolism, pop-culture, and social norms. When the lights were low or high the power resided within the voice(Larson)and was directed at the minds of the those present. When the image on the screen changed, the visual power melded with the voice and flowed into the crowd. Taraka Larson cleverly mapped out, in a slightly condensed way, the evolution of symbolism, which is and was a major part of religion. Contemporary conceptions of symbolism and time in the context of music, which makes possible her interaction with the audience, on a deeper level.    
Taraka Larson
The main point was to reveal the change of these things from metaphor to 'kitsch'. Symbolism and icons that were sacred have become everyday, a joke, something to be marketed to the great mass of the people. The performance showed the power having been transfered to pop-culture(replete with symbolism of old) and modern music, which are in many ways the new religions, cults and sects. These in turn create variations, lesser versions of themselves resulting in major and minor 'fads' within the modern world. The great eras of music and religions which gave rise to pop-culture becoming less and less important, with the passage of time, giving raise to systematic ignorance of this very fact within the construct of the modern world. 

In her own way Larson utilizes many of the same strategies used used by ancient religions, cults and sects to bring awareness to the masses about there present state and society. At the same time she empowers herself and those present. Larson and her fellow performer(Nimai)tear down the structures of male dominated pop-culture music & religious iconography, and symbolism, then use the shattered pieces as stairs to a higher realm. 

The performance had a strong sense of feminism, subtle yet powerful. I did note that all of her assistants/acolytes were young women, which reinforced the feeling of worship of "the old days"- Innana, Isis, Bast, Ishtar, Diana, etc. At one point the performance reached its peak like the raising of an acid frenzy with Larson(wearing a guitar), the acolytes, and people from the crowd dancing in a circle like modern-day noble savages. It was a real "scene", a "happening" where the energy was so thick you could cut it with a butter knife, and feel it flowing through you. I did recall about 6 people being 'put off' and got up and walked out(which attests to the strangeness of what was happening). 

Most I spoke to were very pleased with the performance, however some were disturbed. I asked two young women from Paris their opinion: "I like to come to the gallery and be an outsider among people who like this kind of thing. To be honest it didn't make me feel a lot...even the representation of those people dancing, it just gave me a sad insight into what we are every Fri & Sat night. But I think this was part of the intention."(Rachel-Paris, France).

"I think the performance was very interesting, original. We don't have that kind of thing in France(getting people from the audience involved). Maybe there going to far, but it was interesting!"(Justine-Paris France). 

Say what you will, call it what you want but Taraka Larson's "The-Now-Age" made people feel something and think on a deeper level, and that left a mark on them one way or the other. Taraka Larson along with her sister Nimai performs as "Prince Rama". If you would like to know more, go to:,   
Taraka Larson
Taraka Larson

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