A tesseract is a fancy name for a fancy type of cube. Tesseract (with a capital T) is circus arts impresario Nacho Flores doing incredibly fancy things with said fancy cubes.
Nacho Flores’ background is as a high wire walker. In Tesseract, he has created a world that utilises this necessary mastering of his centre of gravity. The stage is covered in cubes from which he can continually construct and destroy a landscape. It’s a constantly shifting space which reflects his own shifting character. One minute he’s a clown taking delight in blowing water raspberries at us like a toddler, the next he’s master of the circus-ring confidently surveying us from the top of a three metre stack. The cubes are his support and his frustration, at points they threaten to overwhelm him – teetering beneath his feet or huge towers of them collapsing in from the edges.
He begins with a series of everyday tasks, watering his plant, placing a glass of water on his kitchen table… except that all this takes place delicately balanced on series of wooden blocks. There’s excellent clowning in Flores’ faux fear as he navigates increasingly precarious positions. The blocks rise and fall in domino waves, leaving him waggling his arms and nervously gulping at atop a very dodgy looking elevated table. Circus deals in the impossible and there is something refreshing about seeing a performer at least pretend that what he is doing is actually just as hard as it looks.
From there the piece mixes Flores’ mastery of poise with the world’s largest game of Jenga. The cubes become pathways, a series of terrifyingly high stacks become a set of stairs that he climbs to the furthest dark corner of the stage. It’s something of a Jacob’s ladder as the projection makes the stacks twist, shift in height and disappear altogether. Though the projection mapping is undeniably impressive, it’s the perfect blackouts that really make the effect work.
The cubes also become characters to inhabit his cubist land, huge figures that he embraces in his clambering over them. He coaxes a puppet, cubes strung together on springs, in its first steps. Flores launches it between lifeless mannequin, perched on the edge of his hand, to dance-partner, swung like a lover and cradled in his arms, its edges somehow all smoothed out.
Cubes are simultaneously an impossible and highly appropriate shape from which to construct his world. A shape that barely occurs in nature (apart from fool’s gold, don’t @ me geologists), they make up the entirety of our screen passed existence, every mediated image breakable down into pixels. Flores’ empathetic interaction with the shapes brings a human experience to a quantifiable Minecraft world.
Tesseract was on at Jacksons Lane from 26th to 28th January. More info here.