Sat April 17
116 NE Russell
Five years ago, Wynne Greenwood started talking to herself. Newly relocated to Olympia, she'd dropped out of Evergreen and, in her newfound free time, began making video art featuring an imagined, alternate ego--two of them, actually. Nikki and Cola. It was Wynne transformed, acting out two facets of her self, onscreen, as the keyboardist and drummer in her electro band. They became regular stage presences, projected on the wall behind her (after she upgraded from two TVs), creating dialogue with Wynne's actual, bodied self, as Tracy. They were the Plastics--Tracy's future-primitive Id and Ego, sort of; they discussed their music, argued, and admonished one another for not recycling. Their music, too, was about possibility: Tracy + the Plastics' synth-y burrs and barbed dance beats were hinged on Tracy's determined vibrato, a blend of Edith Piaf's madder parts and a cheerleader unchained. On her first record, Muscler's Guide to Videonics (Chainsaw), she sang specifically about art, about coming out, about the "City! Apocalypse!" It was totally revitalizing, all those ideas at once, and: dance music! In punk! Which, was a pretty new thing for the '00s.
Wynne, spurred on as a leader of DIY feminist new media (she was the only person in the Pacific Northwest doing performance art/dance music in a punk club context at the time) moved back to the East Coast to get her master's, opened for the Electroclash Tour (and slayed most of the competition), was accepted to the Whitney Biennial and released a new record (the graver, more contemplative Culture for Pigeon, on Troubleman). On our recent phone conversation, made brief thanks to cell phone bugs (hey, technology yields options, but it's still imperfect), Wynne effused, "I totally became an adult! I was just realizing a couple weeks ago that I can do this as my career now. It's crazy."
So much of Wynne's work is about imagination and possibility, liberation through art. Tracy + the Plastics, in concept and in practice, is total kinetic energy, the deliberate use of new media to open doors--to herself, to her inner narrative, to converse with the detritus of culture and find meaning in its secrets. On "Knit a Claw," she sings, "We'll have to knit or stitch a claw/ we'll have to drop the guns to draw," calling for a revolution wrought by art... later, in a determined vibrato, she sings, "The gold in the sky is lifting!" The beat is full of tumult and rumbles, as though the whirring sky is in fact opening up and vacuuming her in. And you never know what's on the other side of a tornado.