EAST WILLIAMSBURG — If you feel like witnessing a gladiator emerge from a pile of lumber and Styrofoam, drowning yourself in the hum of hair clippers or watching a power sander sharpen the ends of a potato fork, one group of women has just what you need.
A bold lineup of visual and noise-based performances is designed to prompt questions of femininity, danger, physicality and sexuality in the upcoming show "Women With Power Tools," the organizer said.
"It deals a lot with feminism and the body," curator and performer Esther Neff said of the show at Panoply Performance Laboratory. "One performer who'll be using a drill sees it as phallic...and I'll be performing a sound-based work with a Dremel and electronic hair buzzers, so the sounds of cutting and drilling get melted together to create a soundscape."
The specific combustion of performers may be unprecedented, but Neff said she took inspiration from works women were already enacting throughout the city.
"I'd seen works with women artists using power tools," Neff said, noting that each one had her own unique purpose and character.
Performer Ivy Castellanos makes shields and sculptures to become a gladiator, Neff said, whereas artist Lopi LaRoe sharpens a fork and then stabs a bomb-like figure labeled "GMO" in "allegorical images and statements."
And Neff, who noted the danger associated with such tools, said her own piece played with "humans' ability to control machines."
Neff, who encouraged viewers to interpret her own sound piece however they wished, added that "power tools" were open to a range of meanings.
"An object of purpose can be thought of as a tool," she said, noting that performer Erin Rogers' "power tool" would be a saxophone for an experimental music piece.
"This particular event also arises from a community of women artists across disciplines," Neff said of the No Wave Performance Task Force applying "feminist ethics to curation and performance."
And Courtney Novak, whom Neff just invited to join the lineup earlier this week, said she was preparing an "interactive and unconventional" piece.
"I'm looking to explore different 'Power Tools' we have at our disposal," she said. "Tools for healing, learning, health and affecting change in ourselves and the world around us."
"Women With Power Tools" comes to Panoply Performance Laboratory at 104 Meserole St. on April 18 at 8 p.m. The event asks for suggested donations of $5 to $15. More details can be found on the show's Facebook page.