Bsides project started with the initial idea of choreographer Diego Gil and developed in a full concept through dialogue with dramaturge Igor Dobricic. Further on, the inclusion of performer and choreographer Rob List, composer Tian Rotteveel and light designer Pablo Fontdevila, gave shape to the first part of the project: a dance concert solo performed by Rob List. The second part of the piece which completes the first, was made with the collaboration of performers and choreographers Antonio Maia and Michele Rizzo.
This project is about many things and touches many layers of information. To publish here the project proposal does not feel right to me, since it was written in a serious tone, only needed to convince the Art Fonds to support the work.
For a short explanation I copy and paste here the publicity text accompanying the flyer of the piece.
For a long explanation, more adventurous and full of deviations from what the project became in the end, I copy here the emails I send to Rob, Igor, Tian and Pablo when we started talking to join forces to make this work. These texts may be too long and perhaps too confusing, but I preferred them because they still have the passionate energy of a new idea on its cusp of becoming.
Diego Gil / Rob List / Igor Dobricic / Pablo Fontdevila / Tian Rotteveel / António Maia / Michele Rizzo
A song-poem emerges from the viscera of the performer and overflows the theatrical space, proliferating dynamically in an overlapping score of dance, music and lights. In its transformation the song-poem reaches the point of inversion where internality becomes surface, difference becomes repetition, singularity multiplies and poetry becomes pop.
“Bsides” is a dance concert performance in which the act of “singing” by doubling itself, unfolds different modes of expression: from the singular to the plural, from the internal to the external and from the private to the public.
“Bsides” is a refrain machine, catalyzing the expressive movement of ideas and feelings, following the communicative forms of poem recitals and lip synch. Generating through this process a space for sensitization and reflection concerning the musical journey of a dancing spirit yet to come.
I sat to collect written texts I collected in the notebook for this project from the last six months, only to realize that this notebook stayed in Amsterdam. Maybe my unconscious side wanted to give me a chance to totally disconnect from any type of artistic activity in Buenos Aires. Consequences are that I will write from what I remember today about that and probably bringing out what is only-still today relevant for me.
In the last projects (Creating Sense, About falling, Outdoors, The Half) I was busy with the notion of “movement” as an activity that is continuously transforming and with no representation. Falling into representation only when movement stops and visibility of the body becomes clear as something that signifies. It was important to me to state this way to see “movement” and to deal with it on stage as something unpredictable, chance bounded and transformative.
This erased the idea of the human being as something stable and fixed, and put me personally in a place off balance. I felt out of orientation dealing with this ephemeral notion of movement.
Thus I started to look for ways to see the body as something in movement but at the same time being centered, with a voice, being partially in control of the situation. I was also interested to move away from pure “abstraction” of the body and find a more “expressive” body. I looked for the possibilities to stage an “emotional body” avoiding to be pathetic. For me “emotions” are real. When I feel a strong emotional state I don’t feel anymore out of myself but quite centered, almost too painfully.
I fought in my head about the notion of “emotion” because I had collected a lot of reading of Brian Massumi where he says that “emotions” are already a point of capture and recognition and a stop of a movement dynamic. He prefers to talk about “affect” which is an emotion that has not been categorized yet. He stresses a lot those moments where movement of sensation and perception are on the go, without time to stop and look backwards on what happens. For him “emotion” is a stop. (I attached in this email the second chapter of “Parables of the virtual” where you find the terminology of him: “proprioception”, “tactility”, “viscerality”, “affect”, etc. In that chapter he also talk about “mime” as I mentioned t you before).
One way to approach the dilemma of “being” as something dynamic but with a voice and emotions…although in the move, is to practice the movement of the body when the performer “enunciates” or “talks” to himself as he moves. The “talk” to himself could be anything, and the sound of the voice does not have to be perceived externally. What happens is that the vocal apparatus and brain network functions differently than when you move without “talk to yourself” (For instance when you perceive gravity, sensations or the thoughts in your head).
Another practice is to “sense” the abdominal area of the body, whereas the digestive organs and center of the body exists. As I told you last time I found an article about the “second brain” functioning in the entrails. The digestive apparat is cover by a network of neurons of such a vast extension that scientifics are calling it the second brain. This second brain regulates emotions and works in dialogue with the “first brain”. Poor balance between stomach and cerebrum brings emotional problems. (I have this article only in spanish but I am sure there is more info in english in the net).
Lastly I got into writing. Firstly to center myself, and secondly as a way to stop “reading” and processing “philosophic” material of another authors. I exercised to write about my work without relying in philosophers texts (with more or less success). I also find interesting that the activity of writing does not say out loud anything with the voice.It is silence, although it has an intention to communicate…to say something.
Some experiments I want to do is to write and perceive how the awareness of my body changes in the process: do I “sense” more my stomach, or my throat or my brain? How does it feel different the body when writes and when dances?
Somehow I am in a previous step with my writing. I am only letting it appear without making analysis of my body. I am evoking “writing” when I write and then I am allowing the “writing” to write something. In many ways I find the same state of half consciousness I have when I dance. But at the moment I don’t want to mix dance and writing. I know that latter they will come together somehow.
How does all what I wrote up till know was forming into an idea for a performance?
I am obsess to work with two types of “presences” and “forms of expression”.
One having a deep, centered source of initiation.(This is the new quality I want to find).
Another having a descentralized and superficial source of initiation.(This is the quality that I had been using in the past).
When I equated this notions with the practice of movement (after all I am a “mover) I understood that I needed two different approaches to movement practice. Then I thought about you for the first case.Your long experience with movement has this deep connection with movement source. I also think that by writing to each other I/we could find answers on how to work with movement latter in studio.Also writing real letters gives me a more concrete feeling of myself, rather than communicating through email, skype or youtube.
For an off center practice of movement I want to work with a group of young dancers. They will write among themselves (not me or you) sending “lip sync” songs-dance videos in you tube. As if they will be creating an information society, with all the cliches, superficialities but also emotions that that brings.
This is a starting point. Maybe too black and white. I hope in the process of it things will become more con-fuse. For instance, you and me working via Youtube, mixing group and solo dynamics, etc. I am open for many things to unfold in unexpected ways. I also wish to make songs with you and Tian. Maybe the music of the piece are gonna be songs composed through the written material we sent to each other…as if you/I would be song composers (probable “indie” composers).
This part is the more vague right now. I want to applied to fonds in Amsterdam and Berlin and talk with producer in Salzburg. May be that group of youngsters changes according to the city we are working (Amsterdam,Berlin, Salzburg). This means that we always work in collaboration with a dance school like SNDO, HDZ and SEAD. Perhaps to applied for a first research fond to start to work kind of soon next year. We can also use the facilities of the master program (some money and space).
Well Rob, this is how far I can go today about the piece. Soon I will send you first letter. I send you here the text of Massumi. I am going to re read from Agamben “Profanations” the article “Author as a gesture”.I think it could bring ideas about the function of writing (I think you have the bokk..isn’t?). Use this email as a broad panorama of how things are moving around my head. Maybe send me some attachment with texts to read. It is a point of departure.
Send you all my love from B.A.
NEW PROJECT for Igor, Tian and Pablo.
This project interests resides in the presentation of different passions, engagements and points of view about the “art of movement” across two distant artist’s generations and referring to two distant mediums and content of inspiration to perform (poems and music clips). Whether a modernist formal poem or a pop dance video what is to express is the intensity of passion to engage with an art performance practice in general. Maturity and youth, seriousness and superficiality, rationality and absurdity… what does it refer to whom? And where is the gap in which us the audience of two separate performances, takes position in our own life?
In the ever-growing virtual society of Internet we live in, some questions are relevant to be asked. Questions about the “actual” immediate “body to body” experience of human expression and “virtual” mediated experience of other people “images”. As well as questions about the ways in which we share experiences and compose community.
Rob List will perform his solo in the immediacy of the audience, creating present time live movements of an emotional quality. Nevertheless he will not become “narrative” but will remain “abstract and poetic”. In opposition the group of students will perform only for themselves, far away from the audiences and transferring only cultural and narrative signs extracted from Internet that will be easily understood by audience’s commons sense. They will be mediated from the audience and from themselves as if it were an invisible computer screen between them.
The interesting problematic to deal in this project circumscribes in this hypothesis: are we closer or faraway, isolated or in community when we shared an immediate abstract experience and/or when we share a cultural mediated Internet experience? How to look nowadays the theatre space after common ways of perception of society has been definitively transformed by Internet technology?
Rob List and Diego Gil will write poems on the relation between human and animal perception of the world. The poem will be thought as an open letter for the spectator. Inspirations to write the poems will come from Austrian poet Rainer Maria Rilke in his in Duino Elegies and Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben in his book The Open. Both authors articulate the task of the artist in the separation/connection between animal and human. This is to say, between perception of the world unmediated and mediated through language and cultural codes. We can’t escape language but we can take a different use of it for making art. This paradox is fully embraced in the fact that we will be “writing” a poem about the mediated-no mediated perception of the world. In another words, we will be using “language” to open veils of rationality that will reveal an intuitional approach to the senses.
The self-generated poems will be the choreographic object to work in Rob List’s solo score. Language of the poem as an open letter to be expressed to the audience will not be represented but transmitted as physical sensation. The poem will be transformed in embodied invisible lines of attention, in a physical body vibration and in an alluring song like sound emanation. By changing suddenly, interrupting from one procedure to the other, we will re shuffle the perception of the audience. We want to open their way to perceive Rob’s body and the space around it as if it were the first time, in a half human and half animal way.
If Rob List solo has a volumetric and deep presence on stage, the group of youngsters has a more superficial and flattened out one. Unlike Rob’s procedure of self-generated poems with the young dancers we will appropriate already made video clips from You Tube. They will select clips of their favorite musicians and choreographers and transform them in lip-sync dance choreography. This choreography will be made individually or in a group and it will be carefully compose having in mind some person/a of the group to be performed later. Indeed we will think that the audience will only be the youth group themselves and not the real external theatre spectator. As if they will be performing only by the public of a virtual network. We will play with all the possible combinations in a group of five people: one choreographing and performing for four others, two performing and choreographing for three, etc.
The choreographies will be presented with the actual people watching in front of them but performed as if they will be watched through the You Tube channel of a computer. Respecting the way in which we record and watch You Tube videos we will restrict the use of the physical position of the body to standing, seating and walking few steps front, back and sideways.
The sequences of movement material will change from obvious humoristic gestures representing the lyrics of the song to iconic dance gestures of renown choreographers. At any moment a Rosas’ like turning or a dramatic Pina Bausch back bending could appear interwoven with a typical knock to the chest when singing the word “heart”.
Stage, light and sound
In Rob solo’s the stage looks like a cafe for poem reciting or for small concerts. Here the use of lights emphasize a public space with an intimate atmosphere. The music accompanies the person as if his whole body would be a machine for voice production. Music and body meets to produce a common intonation of sense and senseless words and songs. Although the body dances, the performative experience is framed through listening. In another words, the audience perceives an intonation, the singing of a ritornello. At the same time music helps to separate, to cut out the body from the space to open a “gap” of perception between audiences and performer body.
In the group of youngster the stage looks like fragmented rooms of houses (living room, bed rooms, etc) where information is sent and received via the computer’s screen. The lights marks a common and fragmented space, although the metaphor comes from houses it does not looks intimate but still public. Here music stays detached from the performers in order to give them enough space to expose themselves among each other. Music does not melt together in one single intonation as in Rob’s solo. Perceptual experience of the audience is not in “listening” but “seeing”. The space is a mixed of a living room and internet cafe…although is through that today you can be watching a dance video setaing in a cafe, park or train.
Hi Antonio and Mikelle (sorry if I don’t write your name correctly…),