World-class performance artistry graces "Big Head," playing through Sunday at Highways Performance Space in Santa Monica.
Denise Uyehara's latest multimedia work places this interdisciplinary artist alongside any festival favorite in recent memory, raising the bar set by previous efforts "Headless Turtleneck Relatives" and "Hello (Sex) Kitty."
"Big Head" starts austerely, against a white projection screen with a single black cube upstage right. Uyehara launches an account of burning her hand on a Fourth of July sparkler when she was 5. From there, she transfixes the house, raising its consciousness in the process.
Uyehara, a virtual conflation of Laurie Anderson and Myoshi Umeki, here addresses imperiled democracy in the present war-shrouded landscape. Contrasting the WWII incarceration of Japanese Americans with interviews culled from ethnic groups now regarded as "the enemy," she uses indirect means to bring her central thesis into bas-relief.