Natasha Tsakos is virtual magic – Knight Foundation

Natasha Tsakos is virtual magic

Natasha Tsakos exemplifies everything that Miami Light Project’s Here & Now 2012 (Knight Arts grantee) represents — the best of Miami’s emerging performance artists. “Omen,” produced, created and directed by Tsakos, took the audience on a stunning 20 minute highly stylized, high-tech virtual cirque-esque journey that critiques human history. Even though Tsakos could not perform because of an injury, Tsakos’ magic was omnipresent.

Choreographed and performed by Miami’a Ana Mendez to electronica beats, Mendez became the real being in this virtual performance — a performance that told the story of humanity’s staggering library of achievements and disasters. In almost perfect synchronicity, Mendez integrated her steps with the fast moving, 3-D animations and images projected onto a gigantic floor-to-ceiling screen.

Dressed in a black pinstripe cabaret master costume, which turned into a headless costume halfway through the performance — not sure how Mendez pulled that off without missing a step — Mendez danced, ran, leapt and rolled around the space like a well-trained smiling monkey, which may have been the point. Humans share 98 percent of their DNA with chimpanzees. And, yes, at one point a gorilla sauntered across the stage. Hard to miss the connection.

The most stunning image of Omen took place toward the end. That’s when three humans appeared on stage in triangular position in front of the giant white screen wearing white, skin-tight body suits. Three enormous white balloons were lowered from the ceiling. Two of the performers pulled the neck of the massive balloons over their heads. One held the balloon next to her. A beating heart was projected onto the performers. Then a complex cardiovascular network emerged and traveled up to their giant balloon heads. The network evolved into a spiraling DNA sequence and then into orbital satellites that were simultaneously projected onto the giant screen and the performers.

Tsakos’ “Omen” asks a fundamental question: How did we get here? Evolutionary accident, chance, ingenuity and our overinflated imaginations probably got us here — or least part of the way. But what will happen next in human history? As Tsakos’ “Omen” portends, probably more of the same creation and destruction we’re used to.