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In conversation with GLOR1A

“єηтєя му ωσяℓ∂”

This week we went live and spoke with the amazing GLOR1A . Intoxicated by her passion and love of storytelling and we learnt more about her Rewire ’21 performance – premiering tonight! The piece, titled SWARM 2.0 is an online game created in collaboration with alpha_rats which encourages its audience to manifest their own experience – a social experiment of sorts. Tune in and immerse yourself in GLOR1A’s inner universe … you may learn something about yourself along the way!

Hi! How are you?

 I’m good, I did a little bit of a face filter this morning just for you! 

Looks amazing!  Do you know the artist Virgin Maria?

 Yes I do!

 Oh my god, she has the best face filters on Instagram!

 She does! I was gonna go really intense, but then I thought maybe you would probably need to see what I’m saying, so I need to come up with something else.

 Yeah sometimes it can get really heavy, but this is sick!

I love playing around with digital art because you can just be whoever you want for the day, you know?

It’s almost like a disposable body modification! 

 100%. So we are gonna have to swap some face filters after this!

 Oh, for sure. How are you this morning, have you had a nice day?

 I’ve had a good day, although I got locked out of my flat. I wasn’t sure if I could still do this, but I’m back in and I’m here!

 Oh no! How did you get back in?

 The landlord came and helped me, but I’ve been up since 5 o’clock in the morning because I’ve been having some issues with the upstairs. Do you know when it just knocks you off?

Unfortunately, yes. I’ve been kind of stalking you and the Rewire line-up.  Could you tell us a little bit more about your performance? What can we expect to see?

 Yes! For REWIRE I’ve created a digital performance, a game where audiences can manipulate the space. You get to decide how to play the game as well, so that’s gonna be quite interesting I think!

A collaboration between what we see in ‘real’ life, and what we see in ‘digital’ life. What’s really interesting about this performance, is you are blending the two worlds completely.

 Well, I think the two worlds are getting ever more blended, especially since the beginning of the pandemic. I’m a massive sci-fi fan, and when I used to watch sci-fi and some of the technology that was in there, I would be like ‘’that would never happen!’’ because people wouldn’t let go of the control that much, and be transported into these fully digital scopes and spaces. But our reliance on technology as a form of escapism now feels like we’re just playing with what is gonna be the beginning of a tremendous journey. Especially with performance, art, music, all of it! 

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Exactly! You can even create almost alter egos or different versions of yourself.

 100%. So there’s only two alter ego’s that I’ve always liked to have. So it would be Grace Jones because she is just a queen and the lead of Pose (Mj Rodriguez). I love her! But personified in a weird avatar…so that’s probably what you’re gonna see on Friday!

Have you found a wider audience with this digital accessibility? 

 100%. And I think that that’s one thing I really pride myself on when I’m trying to create art for myself. It’s like ‘’who would be in the audience?’’ I want it to be open to everyone! People who just love technology and wanna know how they can integrate it into their music, the club kids, and the people who just wanna have a great time, and just here on a random one, I’m here for them!

Your show, SWARM 2.0 for this year’s REWIRE festival looks incredible. Could you talk me through these inspiration points? 

 Yeah for sure. SWARM was born before lockdown when I wanted to create a live performance in a hotel room for like 10 people at the time.  I was working with an amazing femme collective leader called Zaiba Jabbar from HerVisions, and she basically was like ‘’well why can’t we get people online to tune into this show?’’ and I was like ‘’great idea’’! Then lockdown happened, and the whole idea of the performance space changed. Everything needed to go into the digital instead of anything being physical at all. That’s when I met Alpha Rats who is a Japanese based game designer, and we started to develop this idea. I needed space to create collective consciousness and for people to confront the real issues we are actually facing in today’s society, especially as a Black woman. The whole idea is, the audience is going inside my body to save me from a disease, which is actually my inner self! And after their exploring, did they take things? Do they stay, or do they help and they leave? And that is the bottom line to the story. Audiences have to decide collectively what they do throughout the space. So it’s interesting, it’s like a social experiment to see how people go and probably colonize other spaces or they’ll leave and kind of help and just, have it as is. 

A social experiment in many ways! It will kind of reflect the society around us, did you find that scary?

Yeah, I think so!

 It reminds me of the Marina Abramovic exhibition where she laid there with the table in front of her and people were able to do with her body whatever they wished. 

 Yeah, even you saying that is giving me goosebumps because that was a perfect example of where we are today and the unspoken truths of what is actually in people’s minds and how they feel towards different people, be it womxn, Black women, non-binary, queer… like how they feel towards somebody who potentially isn’t them. It always has such a utopic sense but at the same time, the more we run this game the more feedback we get of what happens next. 

The piece in many ways brings up questions of, who are we? what do we want? And how do we reflect that on the world?

We are individuals but we do have a collective conscious, and I think that’s the most important thing. How do we use our minds collectively to break down all of these barriers that have been put up for many years? And how do we do things to actually change our environment right now? So they’re the kind of questions I think about all the time, hahaha.

This is a very exciting time for you all around! Next month you’ve got your EP dropping, and a new single, right?!

I have! I don’t know whats happened, but this year really gets me excited because I’ve been making music and releasing music for the last two years as Glor1a, and now im set with my second EP called Metal. I wanted to create something that spoke truths looking at the black futurism I like to practice. But I hope a lot of people can connect to it! It’s got a lot of RnB, pop, lot’s of weird tracks, but the message as a whole sci-fi story. 

You’ve got a whole novel within an EP almost…

Yes, haha. I need to write it out!

Thank you so much for talking with me today! 

No worries! Come and play!

Tune in to Rewire.com and immerse yourself in GLOR1A’s inner universe …

SWARM 2.0 is live this evening

21:30 – 22:30 CET

@rewirefestival // Channel 2

Words by Grace Powell 

See the full video interview here