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Posts from the ‘Eylül Fidan Akıncı’ Category

Eyeing Dance

Eylül Akıncı

Christopher Walken’s swing solo in Spike Jonze video Weapon of Choice is so playful and animated –as much as the music is- that it tags the camera behind him, rather than trying to squeeze into its frame. The visual richness of the environment (which is the halls and lobbies of a big and prestigious looking hotel) with hazy and pastel colors is quite fitting to the genre contextually. There is a cinematic quality resulting from the different plans and scenes, as well as the use of invisible ropes to “magically” fly Walken in the air. Although the music is not conventional swing, it provides the proper rhythm for dance, and in turn swing dance is successful to show the song’s funkiness.

By her solo in Water Motor filmed by Babette Mangolte, one can feel that Trisha Brown is creating colors and movement in the monochrome video which is shot in single plan and angle. Camera follows her movements in linear direction in right-left axle. The picture does not have much contrast and sharpness, and it is in tones of grey. Trisha Brown’s movements, especially in the second slow motion part, creates relieves on the plain background and floor. Her choreography is very dynamic with frequent jumps and turns, and it is even more pronounced with the visible waves of her hair and clothes during the second half. The camera seems to move very slightly, yet thanks to double framing it discloses the multiplicity of movements, thus contributing to the motion in a very subtle way.

Sanja Mitrovic – Will You Ever Be Happy Again?

Eylül Akıncı

Sanja Mitrović’s semi-documentary work based on the post WWII trauma and identity production of German and Serbian population is an energetic, non-linear, highly personal but not apologetic/accusatory dramatic performance accompanied by German artist Jochen Stechmann. Mitrović carefully avoids being didactic while presenting her criticism of her own national history, yet she subtly asks the question whether a better future is possible.

The performance is constructed as children’s play; Mitrović plays the partisan, Stechmann the Nazi. With this identification both confronts with the shames of their national history while at the same time revealing their personal wounds as the survivors in quite indirect, playful ways. Yet admittedly most of the time this inferential and funny references lean simply on props and objects; they convey a plethora of images and autobiographical marks, but it sometimes feels too exhibition-like and distracting, stealing the stage from the artists themselves whose performing capacity is quite dynamic and powerful itself. Overall, the performance does not make a clear-cut politic statement, which actually reflects the current (im)possibilities of speaking out with a solid position and demanding such and such lives, thus it becomes political thoroughly.

Watching Will You Ever Be Happy Again? In Istanbul also creates different layers of historical awareness on the local audience’s part, which probably could not have been calculated by Mitrović. The authoritarian rule of Tito, the discipline over the minds and bodies of Serbian and German population (remember “The healthy spirit is found in healthy body” versus “The healthy mind is found in healthy body”), the genocide, the aggressive nationalism, the illusion of welfare and solidarity are all too familiar to us Turkey residents. The laughter comes not from an ironic alienation or distance but rather an intense identification that puts the spectator in an unexpected ease, relief and dialogue with his/her own past. The children’s play structure and disseminated presentation allows a space for us to unconsciously enter the scene as another member. The same absurdity is going on here, we feel, and that makes the play all the more enjoyable and readable in spite of afore mentioned weaknesses.

All That Is Liquid Vapors into Nothing

 Eylül Akıncı

Anat Eisenberg and Mirko Winkel’s work Life and Strive is a closer examination of the production of desire in a two layered context; on the surface how the desire and need for million liras accommodations is created by intruding into the heart of a metropolis, and beneath how people from (possibly) other social classes react to it in a performative “opportunity”.

The work consists of gathering of participants, informing them about the rise of “gated communities”, namely residential high-security towers throughout the city, and inviting them into these still under construction sites in the alias of high profile shoppers. This invitation comes as surprise if you had not read the program closely, and it is like a guerilla theatre for both the participants/performers and the towers’ client managers/performers, yet a more introversive one.

I think I don’t need to criticize the high capitalist appropriation of public space nor the need for security and estrangement of high upper class in the middle of a city populated with 15 millions of people. I would rather problematize the performance. First of all, if we are supposed to feel resentment against this closed community, it must also be taken into consideration that the situation was actually “gated community versus performative community”; we did not interact with the sales staff sincerely either, we shielded ourselves with another appropriated “gate”. Furthermore, no matter with whom you are talking to, it actually humiliates you to fake an identity and giggle with irony inside without revealing yourself in the end, especially considering the fact that your critical approach towards these ugly buildings and the Faustian will to power behind them changes nothing in real life.

However, upon reflection I felt that what Eisenberg and Winkel actually want to see is the degree of participants’ willingness and performative success/failure to accept the role of millionaire with briefly rehearsed arrogance and dis/interest; they create a milieu for strive to emerge. The only real audience in this performance is the two, walking beside two performative agents (salesmen and clients) like a ghost, muted, visually focused, taking pictures. Yet again, this also becomes problematic in the end; it harms your weakness and “innocence” up against these giant buildings at the cost of a semi-psychological experiment which has the danger of causing a self-accusation on the grounds of voyeurism and of latent desire to gather some sort of power (not necessarily political/to fight back). While we are trying to fit into our roles, to act up, to ask fake questions (though not purposeless), do we not actually get thinned into this world of illusions?

Finally, that only a simple definition of us being “rich people” and not instead a loose script was given is a weakness on the performance’s part in technical terms. In addition, no option of withdrawal is offered during the beginning brief. I think that would enhance the quality of their overall research more.

Intrusion answered with intrusion. A “nice” outcome is confronting with the fact that you have no control over Mephistopheles and no crack in this perfect system to become an activist, that you may condescend to a bitter performance of revenge with impotent strive. In the end, what you are left with is pure nihilism, fatigue and no desire to think further about this obscenity.

Eylül Akıncı

Fabian Barba – A Mary Wigman Dance Evening

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Fabián Barba’s reconstructive work on Mary Wigman, A Mary Wigman Dance Evening, is based on the utmost reassembly of the theatrical elements Mary Wigman used as well as an intention to present her dance in the most faithful way possible, not without accepting that one-to-one staging is impossible and a carbon copy is not even a consideration.

It is not easy for me to asses the original and reconstructed parts of the solos –from three dance cycles, Seraphisches LiedPastoraleSommerlicher Tanz- separately, and probably for any viewer who had not gone through the footage and photo archives; in a way this implies the fact that Barba has succeeded to convey a devoted interpretation and to decipher the intrinsic qualities and aesthetics of Ausdruckstanz in terms of logic, emotion and expressive process. He smoothly constructs a whole work out of the fragmentary material from Wigman’s legacy.

The strange encounter between Barba and Ausdruckstanz, which he himself claims to have had, not necessarily might be valid for the audience, though. In this case, personal history of spectatorship indeed plays an important role; furthermore, certain codes of expressionism –especially German expressionism- is still with us in an internalized and unnoticed way thanks to a myriad of artworks from various disciplines, bearing its undertones on our current experience art and daily life to some extend. After all, changing subjectivities of expressionism is exactly what has not changed after the modernity, and it is not easy to define a big hiatus that would erode memory between modern and post-modern era although most of our presumptions about dance and movement has been transformed on that threshold as much as it had at the beginning of 20thcentury, for this evolutionary history is not an exhaustive one that would create amnesia and, of course, we still have active representatives of these first generation dance forms.

However, watching Barba’s reconstruction is definitely surprising, if not uncanny; sitting face to face with something like a part of your cultural subconscious is enlivening. Mary Wigman becomes alive, gender neutral, breathing loud, in whirling and entrancing costumes (successfully recreated by Sarah-Christine Reuleke), under the music of husky piano and drums, under the chandeliers and behind the red velvet curtain. It feels like a 3D simulation of a 30’s evening indeed, and it creates an excitement in spite of one’s possible familiarity with the expressionist dance by its daintiness on details. The performance as a whole frees the image and movement of Mary Wigman from monochrome and scratchy visuals, thus in a way becomes a live documentary, as much as it is a unique performance, that freshens up our relationship with the past.