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Posts from the ‘Martina Rösler’ Category

Looking for the stranger

Martina Rösler

In Me and My Stranger the belgium performer and theatre-maker Sarah Vanhee is exploring the notion of the stranger. Her lecture performance is strongly related to the French philosopher Jean-Luc Nancy and his novel L’intrus. In one hour Vanhee presents a collage of film excerpts, street interviews and recitations of different texts that are somehow connected with the phenomenon. She for instance refers to the German political theorist Hannah Arendt, shows parts of Pasolini’s film Teorema and parts of Claire Denis’ documentary about Jean-Luc Nancy called Vers Nancy. Vanhee also traces an ark to the current political situation in Belgium and appeals to the highly problematic issue of immigration. Moreover she includes scientific, microbiological descriptions in her lecture by talking about the human immune system being assaulted by something strange.
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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. Read more

Friendship sometimes hurts

Martina Rösler

A dialog between two friends turns out to be an intimate, mischievous, brutal and barbaric meeting of two male bodies. They hit each other hard (while murmuring Mozart’s “Kleine Nachtmusik”) and at the same time one of them tenderly draws a heart with sweating fingers on the others skin, while embracing deeply.

The two young artists Pieter Ampe from Belgium and Guilherme Garrido from Portugal carry on their collaboration they started 2009 with the successful performance Still Difficult Duet. In Still Standing You they propose a rich spectrum of aspects that are implicated in masculine friendship and human relationship in general. They invite us to their playground – a place of violence and fragility where they “communicate” in a particular, unique way.

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Fatboy Slim vs. Trisha Brown

Martina Rösler

Two short films, two different genres, two locations: a hotel and a dance studio

Fatboy Slim

The music video „Weapon of choice“ follows a narrative structure. A man sitting in a chair rather bored or depressed is somehow activated by the music. His dance is directly addressed to the camera/the spectator, as he wants to impress us with his “show”. In the environment of a hotel lobby movement-elements of jazz dance, tab-dance are put together to a choreography. Suddenly the man starts flying through the lobby, we enter a surrealistic layer, which creates an absurdity of the whole event. In the end he returns to the chair from the beginning as nothing has happened.

Trisha Brown

It is a document of Trisha Browns solo “Water Motor” from the year 1978, recorded in a dance studio by Bebette Mangolte. Her particularly movement quality, loose, casual including movements of everyday life working with different tensions, swings, jumps, at that time a new approach to dance. We see the solo twice, one time in normal speed, afterwards in slow motion. In between a fade-out and a fade-in. The camera is fixed, but follows Trisha Browns movement (with a pan shot).

(to be continued…)

Life and Strive by Anat Eisenberg & Mirko Winkel

Martina Rösler

The two young artists Anat Eisenberg & Mirko Winkel based in Berlin met each other in the MA-programme „Solo/Dance/Authorship“ at the Inter-University Center for Dance (Berlin). In their new work, created especially for the city of Istanbul, they do a research on the current trends in upper class residential buildings, which are based on the creation of self-contained, separate communities.
A limited number of spectators/participants (maximal 15 people) is meeting on the rooftop of luxury Marmara Hotel, offering a stunning view over Istanbul. The artists introduce their work very briefly and inform us that we are going to have an appointment in such a building pretending we are willing to buy or invest. We are encouraged to create a fake identity in terms of believability.
The duration of the transfer in a minibus stimulates various thoughts about identity, the further development and also doubts about the veritableness of the whole event. Will we ever arrive? We do! The two artists split the group and stay as “assistants” with them. Two different buildings are examined. A “real” sales conversation takes its course, finding ourselves in the 26th floor of the construction site of Rixos Residences with a breathtaking view, talking about prices and furniture. The absurdity of the whole situation, which started playful is getting unpleasant and objectionable. One of the interlocutors is not clearly aware of the fact that the entire dialog is not real, not honest. This unequal degree of knowledgeability makes the project non-transparent and somehow missing the point.
The journey ends again at the starting point, but the “audience” is left alone with a lot of questions. What remains is simultaneously an abiding memory and unique experience as well as an indisposition and discomfort about the whole topic of differentiation, exclusion, affiliation and membership.

A Mary Wigman dance evening by Fabián Barba

Martina Rösler

In A Mary Wigman dance evening, the young Ecuadorian choreographer Fabián Barba is dealing with the “historic” figure Mary Wigman, one of the pioneers of expressionistic dance in Europe. He graduated from P.A.R.T.S. (Brussels) in 2006 with a first version of his occupation with Mary Wigman. For this performance Barba chose nine solos out of the dance cycleShifting Landscape (1929) as well as parts from Visions(1928,1925) and Celebration (1926) and put them together.

A playbill in the style of the 1930’s, two crystal chandeliers, a red nostalgic curtain, as well as delicate background music are trying to create an atmosphere that aims to bring the audience back to the original event. The constant changing of light and black (which also means light in the auditorium), defines the structure of the evening. One solo after the other is presented to the audience, followed by taking a deep bow after each short dance.

Taking a closer look at the movement quality, the following words occur to me: rhythmical swinging of the body, strong and powerful gestures, changing of tensions, turning, body weight and gravity, expanding in space throughout the materiality of the costume. The whole pathos and emotionalism seems nowadays quite overacted and excessive, but the way how Barba is performing makes it possible for the spectator to overcome this first sensation. The fact that a male body is representing an original female body is also changing the spectators gaze.

As written in the program, Barba is trying to breath new life into some of the dances of Mary Wigman. But can an absent body which is not available anymore be revitalised? In that regard the problematic of re-enactment becomes an issue. Questions concerning authorship and the affiliation between the original and the copy arise immediately. In addition to using photographs, fragments of video recordings, texts as his research source, Barba also worked with contemporary witnesses Katharine Sehnert, Irene Sieben and Susanne Linke. The process of reconstruction can also be considered as a process of communication. Barba presents a detailed, serious and accurate reconstruction of Wigmans solos, but maybe there is a lack of an attempt to translate and transfer the original into the context of contemporary dance and art today.

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