Deviant isn’t dirty

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GUERILLA pole dancing, public exorcisms, and a game of kiss chasy through the city with a demented clown on your heels.

This bizarre feverdream is the latest offering from oddball arts group PVI Collective which aims to creatively disrupt orderly society. The Deviator project equips audience members with a smart phone loaded with instructions and audio and sends them out into the streets of Perth to score points playing utterly weird games.

PVI head Kelli McCluskey says, “in our previous work we’re the interventionist, and the audience come along with us for the ride”.

“With Deviator, the transformation that’s happening is the audience very much the interventionists themselves.

“They’re very much autonomous in this work: It’s a solo journey, and you choose your own adventure and elect the games you want to play.”

Following a test-run in Glasgow, McCluskey says, “there was this sense of energy and joyfullness to it”.

“People would come back and they’re sweating and they’ve run through the city being chased by a clown and gone sack-racing across the road.

“Those who start off quite nervous, or technophobes. . . realise they can do it and it’s quite simple and that’s quite empowering as well.

“What’s lovely about the work is there is this cheeky permission to misbehave which I think people will really revel in.”

While Perth city council and the metropolitan redevelopment authority back the work, McCluskey says there were some interesting discussions to get them to agree: “It’s been interesting negotiating with the City of Perth and the MRA who all like to talk about the idea of activating the city and getting more things happening.

“When you confront them with that it’s interesting to see the alarm bells go off, but you tell them that it’s going to be okay and it’s all going to be fun.”

In Glasgow, when they played a game where contestants had to use a golf club to hit rubbish into a bin a council ranger fined them £50. They’re hoping Perth will be less staid.

McCluskey hopes the work will have a long-term effect on people, encouraging them to be less self-conscious and feel more free to do unusual things.

There’s a quote from John Holloway that she likes to use to explain the work: “Big changes often start with acts that look pointless at the time.”

by DAVID BELL

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