ADIPOSE is a visceral liveart operafilm that calls into question and re-examines the subject of fat and singing. It is also a cautionary tale and an exploration of the dystopian present regarding the dysfunctional relationship many women have to their bodies and It is a comedy.
A woman in the occident can be many things, they are told they can 'have it all' but the most important thing she must not be is fat. Fat is feared, people are repulsed by it, they are repulsed by themselves when they perceive themselves as fat. Sometimes people can't even bring themselves to say the word fat and the words, plump, curvy, ample, shapely or just 'big' replace it.
The cyborg extended body of the internet age is even more redundant if it is fat, and is curious in the age of internet and possibility, that there is a weird lack of vision and awareness of diverse aesthetics. There is still among humans a disappointing conformity and puzzling reluctance to decide for yourself what is beautiful. Adipose also looks into ideals of vocal beauty, tapping into research of what actually happens to someones voice as they lose weight, questioning the myth of the fat opera singer. Is the change in tone imagined or real?
The pressure on female performers today to conform is getting worse and worse, made worse by the rise of social media. To be a woman in the public eye is to court instant disapproval and disdain unless your measurements and proportions are 100% in accordance to unrealistic digital and cyber images of the perfect flower of femininity. We now compete not only with each other, but also with images of women who don't, can't, never did, never will, never could exist.
The world of opera pre-internet, could have been viewed as a last sanctuary from these feeble- minded attitudes. Sonic beauty was more important than conformist physical beauty and one wonders how singers like Montserrat Caballé would have done if they were starting out today. The opera press is awash with fat shaming incidences. Perfectly normal women are criticised for being, well, perfectly normal. Female opera singers are required to look like photographic models as well as sing like gods.
Imagine how seductive it would be then if as a fat opera singer today, with everything going for you apart from your size, in a faustian pact, you could transform yourself into the vision that our society wants to see, how tempting that would be. You could have it all with one mephistophelean wish and eat everything in sight without gaining one gram of weight. But what if that wish goes too far and no amount of eating allows you to even stay merely slim? You will lose yourself completely and dissolve away, a living hell of a breathing skeleton destined to turn into fully conscious dust, never able ever really to die.
This is the dilemma and tragedy of the anti-herione, the opera singer, 'Adipose' as she gets her wish, she eats and sings and runs and eats and sings and runs and disintegrates.
ADIPOSE is a live art film, screened on a chorus of undulating screaming operatic flesh that is also the chorus. The character Adipose, is a dramatic soprano, and her Faustian voice coach a counter-tenor.
The short clip here is from the first performance at 'THE VOICE AND THE LENS FESTIVAL 2' at Rich Mix in London 2013, where ADIPOSE was screened as a through composed live art opera, with live performance in the singing flesh screen and Adam de la Cour playing vocal coach, Mephistopholes.