© Gareth Chambers

BAIZE MOI: An interview with Gareth Chambers

On Thursday 20 April, Absolutely Cultured and Humber Street Gallery are proud to present Thursday Lates: BAIZE MOI.

A response to Winner Breaks First, BAIZE MOI is a dance solo choreographed by Gareth Chambers and performed by Joe Grey Adams that explores the sexual personae of masculine working class archetypes prominent in pop culture.

In anticipation of the event, we interviewed Gareth Chambers to learn a little more about him, his performance, and the villain choreographer alter ego behind it: Popperface. 

Could you tell us a little about yourself, and your work?

Working under the persona of Popperface I can do things I couldn’t do as Gareth, I’m a bit of an introvert in my personal life, I’m very chill and zen. I’m happy at home reading my art history books or going to the gym. Popperface is the opposite to me, he’s a villain choreographer. He loves money, sex and violence. He has worshipped at the altar of masculinity and its distorted him mentally and physically. I think there are a few gay men who can relate to this concept of having a split personality.

As an artist I work in the fields of dance, film direction and most recently Opera. I’m currently a Horizon artist for 2023.

The name of your performance is BAIZE MOI. Given that Luke Beech’s exhibition centres around the snooker hall and masculine identity, could you talk a little bit about how you came up with the name and the meaning behind it?

BAIZE MOI is an in-joke … If you play snooker you would know that the word Baize is for the green material that covers the table. It’s also a French slang for kissing/snogging. There’s something kinda hot about snogging in a snooker hall, it reminds me of a Bruce Labruce film from the 1960s.

What can audiences expect when they see BAIZE MOI on Thursday 20 April?

My work transforms within the voyeuristic transaction between the audience and performer it becomes amplified and physical. As if the ideas in my head have at last been expelled into space. I create my choreography from tapping into the images that manifest and haunt me. There are quite a few psychics in my family and we can trace the line to Serbian gypsies, it wasn’t surprising to learn that Hull is one of the most haunted cities in the UK, so I want the audience to feel like they are being haunted.

How does this piece sit alongside the rest of your body of work? Are you exploring something new, or would you say it’s a development of what you find yourself exploring naturally?

Baize Moi is a bit of an easter egg, it offers a bit of a backstory to one of the personas that features heavily in my current touring show The Revenge of Popperface. Revenge is the first part in a three-part Popperface cycle. My work in opera has made me a huge fan of Wagner and his mythological operatic sagas. My cycle follows the birth, life and death of Popperface. I’m currently in development with the second instalment Cult which is being funded by Horizon and Arts Council England, Baize Moi is an entry drug into the cult world that I’m creating.

Follow Gareth Chambers on Instagram @popperface to see what he has coming up next and book your tickets for BAIZE MOI here.