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Body Architecture

Martina Rösler

How do we position our own body to the constructed architecture that surrounds us? Why do we consider some structures, objects, environments as hospitable and others as inhospitable?
The Turkish dancer and choreographer Filiz Sızanlı invites the audience in her new solo Site to a white cube, where she examines the relationship between architecture and power. Surrounded by thin white fabric walls that are open to the audience her body is already part of the stage design. The first movement sequence follows the principle of constantly looking up to the ceiling. Her head disappears, we just see her throat and chin, her body looks distorted. Starting with small finger and arm movement she slowly gets up from a sitting position and starts to move through space. Something weird is going on in her body, as if she was unable to walk “normally”. Suddenly also sounds are coming out of her. She repeats the vocal ”A” and sends it up like air bubbles. The vocal utterances slowly transform to words. Sızanlı is talking very quietly, sometimes just moving her lips, we can just pick up some fragments of Turkish language. She is now lying on the side of her body with bend legs, facing the audience, pretending that she is sitting on a chair. The dimensions of space start to drift apart, an imaginary space opens up denying reality.

After this very interesting beginning part the idea of the choreography becomes somehow indistinct and elusive. Watching Sızanlı bouncing a yellow tennis ball for a long time over the whole stage makes us wonder. Then she starts to move in a circular path interrupted by surprising jumps including exploding arm movements. She slowly transforms the part into energetic running. The circles become smaller and smaller until the light goes out and we just hear the sound of her steps and breathing.

Sızanlı’s individual, peculiar movement quality is powerful and compelling. But she is not able to reach the complexity of the approach described in the program throughout the whole performance. Site is an interesting exploration, a promising body research, unfortunately it felt more like a work in progress.

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