Ever feel nostalgia for the cheesy 1970s sci-fi technology that people once dreamt would rule the faraway future, also known as the year 1999? Fear not, for French performer Gérald Kurdian is here to bring his audience back to a simpler time of space ships and skintight, shoulder-padded uniforms.

Part of the French Institute Alliance Française’s Crossing the Line 2011 festival, Kurdian’s performance, 1999, is a “space opera” composed of 48 episodes of the British sci-fi television series, Space: 1999.

However, 1999 isn’t supposed to be a tribute to the television show. Rather, Kurdian’s performance is meant to redefine the musical spectacle, blending witty lyrics with lo-fi effects and audience interaction.

“Pure poetry, really, in terms of [Kurdian’s] presence on stage,” said Lili Chopra, co-curator of the festival and artistic director of the French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF). “His lyrics, his music, his voice—it can be appreciated in many different ways.”

This was the fifth year of FIAF’s Crossing the Line festival. Every year, FIAF brings an interdisciplinary, international group of artists together to perform in venues around New York. The mission of the festival is to create a platform for artists to explore the dialogue between art and society and evoke unusual, thought-provoking perspectives.

“That’s the fun of creating a festival like this,” said Simon Dove, co-curator of the festival. “You don’t really know how it will work. It’s not something you can try out beforehand.”

Last weekend marked the end of this year’s Crossing the Line festival. Next year, Chopra and Dove plan on keeping the festival fresh and imaginative.

“We keep a great deal of flexibility in imagination of how we conceive the festival,” Chopra said.

Last Wednesday, Kurdian presented 1999 for the first time in the U.S. in FIAF’s Le Skyroom on East 60th Street. Having performed 1999 for European audiences, he was interested to see how an American audience would react.

“People related it to it very easily,” Kurdian said after his performance.

The audience played a key role. Like a stand-up comic, Kurdian adjusted his presence onstage according to the mood of the audience, creating an ever-evolving performance.

“[The audience] can be moved,” Kurdian said. “They can participate. They can put their input into the piece.”

Kurdian, also a Paris-based songwriter and radio artist, purposely used “lo-fi” effects to add to the audience’s emotional reaction. A lone projector stood off to one side of the stage, alternately displaying slides and Space: 1999 footage. On the other sat a keyboard and outdated recording devices.

“I was looking for means to manage to play with the effects,” Kurdian said, “for the audience to be moved—to be emotional about the performances.”

Chopra and Dove were pleased with how Wednesday’s performance went.

“It went extremely well,” Chopra said. “There was such a warm and positive response from the audience.”

“His humor and irony and almost self-deprecating humor tend to undermine all those notions of what those systems are and what those structures are,” Dove added. “He’s found a very nice framework to present his music.”

Kurdian plans on continuing to create new artistic performances and music. Right now, he is planning a humorous lecture about magical practices in tribes.

“How do we go from shamanism or paganism,” Kurdian asked, explaining his idea for the lecture, “and then from paganism to the Internet?”

Look out for Kurdian’s new album, scheduled to release in March. For more information visit his MySpace page at http://www.myspace.com/tithm. For upcoming events with FIAF, go to their website at www.fiaf.org.

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