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FEBRUARY 17, 2014

Signals at MTC

Miamiartzine.com

To experience the essence of Signals, you must tune in with an open mind.

Juraj Kojs Captivates With Cacophony
By Karina Castrillo

To experience the essence of Signals, you must tune in with an open mind.

Part of Miami Theater Center’s 2013-2014 Sandbox series, Signals is a digital sound and multimedia performance — its draw is its experimental irregularity.
Juraj Kojs.

Juraj Kojs.
Photographer: Justin Namon/ ra-haus – Juraj Kojs.

In other words, this is not your conventional mainstream entertainment.Inspired by his journey through the Velvet Revolution, Slovakian composer and performer Juraj Kojs takes the audience through a series of acts slightly indicative of Czechoslovakian culture by opening with his playing of the fujara, a long, deep-bass folk flute used whose use was mostly by Slovak shepherds.

Although one would not immediately distinguish the Czech revolution reference, it becomes clear to the audience that the performer is in the midst of a rebellion. This cue comes when there is a severe rise in the volume of Kojs’s native language.

Juraj Kojs.
Photographer: Justin Namon/ ra-haus – Juraj Kojs.

Mind-opening and avant-garde, his artistic sequence is not a traditional sit-and-watch performance, but rather an interactive platform that invites you to join in by playing beats or moving chairs and even squeezing squeaking rubber ducks.

Though choreographed, Kojs is receptive to the candid beats or sounds made by the audience and moves along with it. It’s refreshing to see a performer let go of all self-consciousness and feel the moment.

Juraj Kojs.
Photographer: Justin Namon/ ra-haus – Juraj Kojs.

Signals brings to mind an irregular jazz song with its cacophony mixture of sounds. Its random cell phone ringtones and rooster calls mixed with computer emoticon glitches and train noises. There’s a projected screen on the wall with a slideshow running too quickly for the brain to register each image, but the random assortment contains landscapes, cities and social gatherings. The wardrobe is abstract, a feathered mask and a long yard of a netted material with bells dangling from it.

A Bible falls to the floor, some groovy 80’s music plays; it is a discordant array of sounds and movements. There is a feeling of discomfort almost, sitting in this dark room with black draped curtains over mirrored walls. It is as if one has entered a parallel universe.

Juraj Kojs.

Photographer: Justin Namon/ ra-haus – Juraj Kojs.

Kojs, who is the founder and director of the Miami-based Foundation for Emerging Technologies and Arts (FETA), has been lauded for his experimental works, winning first place from the Eastman Electroacoustic Composition and Performance Competition for his compositions, among other honorable awards and mentions.

Signals is the third installment of MTC’s 2013-14 SandBox Series, which offers performing artists a six-week residency in which to develop, rehearse, and perform a new work, as well as teach classes for the community. The SandBox Series was made possible by a $100,000 Knights Arts Challenge grant provided by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

Juraj Kojs.
Photographer: Justin Namon/ ra-haus – Juraj Kojs.

This performance is an innovative and immersive experience, one that serves to pull the viewer away from the habits of everyday life though it a performance made with everyday objects. It is a chance to step out of the ordinary, a moment to leave the predictable thoughts of a typical day and let yourself go with a real, raw reaction.Signals with its irregular thread of chaos and even a beautiful folk piano arrangement, is an opportunity to get in touch with your senses and think outside the box.