Fernando Belfiore brings us to his high-voltage world right on entering the space: loud pop music, rainbow coloured floor, random unreadable items scattered around and he, a flashy figure dancing like a corny pop singer in a videoclip. What is this world? Who is this peculiar character oddly dancing, talking and snarling? How long has he been doing that before we came? In his accumulative self introduction he claims to be here to speak to us deep into our hearts – but can he? Belfiore keeps loading on images and music – star wars swords and iron masks, pop, opera and tribal, it all seems to make sense for him in his world. But what should it mean to us, confused spectators?
AL13FB<3 won’t give many answers, but it could make you laugh and make you wonder – and maybe that’s enough.
The one-man rave is in full swing as we enter, with Fernando Belfiore himself diving and jiving across a rainbow-coloured floor. We are at the mercy of his aesthetic, and the rules of the game are neon-dappled but opaque.
He greets us in a range of voices, changing volume, tone and length of delivery like a human radio set whirring between stations. He plays us conflicting soundtracks simultaneously – techno, pop, opera – and flamboyantly mimes to a private soundtrack. There is no developed visual grammar; instead there is scattered green powder, a graceful slow-motion set piece with a blue lightsaber and a random candle – disconnected images seemingly chosen for their colour rather than their import. There’s plenty of joy and energy, but this experiment in ‘new rituals’ is bizarrely disconnected and leaves the entire audience feeling like the only sober person at a party.
With pink hair and boyish shorts, Fernando Belfiore looks like a toy disco bunny as he bops to blaring Europop. His stage is a playpen of bright objects and cheesy music. He pretends to be a robot, his squeals and grunts a cartoonish accompaniment for pumping arms and stomping feet. He imbibes blue liquid and sprays it in the air, dons a costume cape, spanks the ground with a roll of metal foil. A luminescent heart pulses on his t-shirt. It’s all pretty random.
Belfiore says, many times, that he has come to talk to us. By the time he’s dripped paint from his palm like blood from a stigma and opened his arms to us like a beneficent Jesus, to mystic chords and sounds of the sea, it feels like he’s really come to talk to himself. Any inflated revelation the performance might hold remains his alone.