DIS “Big Beat Disaster” at Project Native Informant, London

“Big Beat Disaster” is a misquotation from Britney Spears’ 2013 classic “Work Bitch,” which Leilah Weinraub references while singing, speaking and ranting in the 2021 DIS film, Everything But The World.

The original song is a delusional meritocratic anthem for Soulcycle moms, young gays, sigma male grindset hustlers and twitch streaming egirls who think anyone can just work their way to a Bugatti, a hot body and a mansion in France. But given her conservatorship, “Work Bitch” becomes less a message of self-emancipation and more an echo of the jeering words of Britney’s masters, words repeated until they became a refrain of her own unconscious. In the film the song is reimagined by the narrator, as an early human 1 enacts repetitive movements of labor throughout time.

“Big Beat Disaster” presents a group of images taken during the filming of Everything But the World: a pilot for a docu-sci-fi series about humanity’s obsession with our place in a world which “doesn’t even know we exist.” Prepare for scenes of neolithic abandon, White Castle employees turned aggressive rogue activists, and BDSM witchcraft guided tours of Medieval Italian castles, all of it edited into a surreal narrative filtered through the prism of the internet, an infinite reservoir for apocalyptic thought––just like the Bible.

The derangement of scale1 caused by the huge gap between the immensity of humanity’s global existence and the smallness of your own private everyday life2 are like the post-its3 strewn across the photographs. Thoughts so important we can’t forget, but not so important that we won’t toss them in the trash. Like a remnant of our egoistic apocalypse fantasies, the hurricane shutters that encase the images may have resisted the 2500°C flames they were subjected to, but not without getting burnt.

Here comes the big beat.
Fields of strawberry.
Big beat disaster.
Or the repeat actions of the assembly line.
Folding boxes in the fulfillment centers, reaching for a product,
cutting poultry.
You wanna live fancy?
Swiping, typing, picking, packing.
Live in a big mansion?
Party in France?
For what?
Pick up what I put down.
The ‘oin.
Pick up what I put down.
Girl, it was the dollar.

Ada O’Higgins

at Project Native Informant, London
until April 1, 2023

1 Timothy Clark essay “Derangements of Scale”, Published by Open Humanities Press, 2012
2 Daisy Hildyard, “The Second Body”, Published November, 2017
3 Like embers after a fire, the post-its nonchalantly bear witness to what was once urgent and immediate. Some were made by Leilah Weinraub, the film’s prophetic narrator, and are featured in the film, others are from the writer’s room held in 2019 with DIS and collaborators Leilah Weinraub, Ava Tomasula y Garcia, Nora Khan, Rob Horning, Huw Lemmey, and Adrian Samuel Massey III.

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