"Performing V4 - Biennial of VARP-PA Residents" was an initiative by 4 performing arts
organizations from CZ, H, PL and SK, to launch a professional festival taking place every 2
years that presents the work of selected artists supported by IVF’s Performing Arts Residency
programme (VARP-PA). The project was conceived as a pilot for a potential Visegrad Performing Arts Biennial, hosted by a different V4 country every 2 years, but collectively curated by the project partners in each case.
Dear Participants, Visitors and Audience Here you can find the link to the sum up video which was taken during the pilot program of Performing V4 event in Prague in 2015. Enjoy to remember and if you missed it prepare yourselves to be with us in Poznan in 2017:-) C U soon, and until then have creative energies! organizers of PV4
1 subject, 2 artists, 9 icons and the CONVEX PROJECT was born.
The walls of Alfred ve dvoře theatre were adorned by the works of Hungarian visual artist Zsuzsi Palman during the Performing V4 – Biennial of VARP-PA Residents in Prague. The exhibition CONVEX PROJECT – Icons of Waiting and Wasting was born from a fruitful creative co-operation with dancer and choreographer Eszter Herold, approaching a central subject by the means of two art forms at the same time. The naturalness of expectancy and iconic representation equally saturates the exhibition and the whole project.
9 icons, 9 months, the state of mind/body and their changing, the waiting, which precedes a woman becoming a mother. Eszter Herold tried to find ways of expressing the phases of childbearing, from the moment of realizing the desire to have a child. So were the dance icons WHITE, MÁTKA (Bride) and VISITATION created. Dance speaks to us through the movements of the living body, animating rolls of images in front of our eyes, creating the desired effect in a certain dynamic process, whilst a fine art work enclosed in one picture is taking us away – beyond capturing the moment – through the symbol systems hidden in it.
The unbound movement of creative freedom could have led the hands of Zsuzsi Palman. On her pictures and graphics, we can feel that her focus is on the process, rather than capturing the moment. The contrasts of black, white, brown and red colors of the pictures are beautifully enhanced by the pureness of the classic white frames. Not just words, but complete sentences are calling us on a distinct voice from the pictures. Body, face, hands, lines and lines of force, cropped and inserted photo details are equal parts of the contemporary fine art works. Just like the added text details written by Eszter Herold. Through the connection of pictures and text, postcards have been created, giving the impression as if the texts were accidentally typed on their backside with a typewriter. At times the text is incorporated in the pictures as well, simply oozing and streaming through them.
The text is a row of consensual signs (letters) bearing a meaning when they appear next to each other. The colors and shapes gain a new meaning in the moment of creation; they create the feelings, emotions and thoughts together with and from each other. This way, in the framework of CONVEX PROJECT, something was born, while somebody was born…
P.S.: „I carry you, deliver you, send you to life, miracle and death”
Mónika Kunstár – KÖM by L1 Association
Herold Eszter/Palman Zsuzsi: Domború Projekt (kiállítás)
1 téma, 2 művész, 9 ikon és megszületett a Domború Projekt.
Palman Zsuzsi magyar képzőművész alkotásai díszítették az Alfred ve dvore Theatre falait Prágában, a Performing V4 – VARP-PA Rezidensek biennáléja alatt. Herold Eszter táncos-koreográfussal való alkotói együttműködése gyümölcseként (részben a VARP-PA program rezidenciája alatt) született meg a Domború Projekt kiállítás, amely egy központi témát két művészeti ág irányából jár körbe. Az áldott állapot természetessége és az ikonikus ábrázolás egyszerre hatja át a kiállítást és a projekt egészét egyaránt.
9 ikon, 9 hónap, állapot és annak változásai, a várakozás, ami után a nő anyává válik. Herold Eszter a kortárs tánc segítségével próbált kifejezést találni gyermekvárásának fázisaira a tervezés időszakától kezdve. Így született például a Fehér, a Mátka és a Vizitáció című színpadi előadás. A tánc az élő test mozdulataival beszél hozzánk, képek sorát eleveníti meg a szemünk előtt, dinamikusan fest, egyfajta folyamatjelleggel éri el a kívánt hatást. Egy képzőművészeti alkotás pedig egyetlen képbe zárva, a pillanat ábrázolásán túl, a benne rejlő szimbólumrendszerekkel repít messzire minket.
Az alkotói szabadság szárnyaló lendülete vezethette Palman Zsuzsi kezét. A rajzokon, képeken érezhető, hogy a pillanat ábrázolása helyett a folyamat a lényeg. A képek színhasználatát (fekete, fehér, barna és vörös kontrasztjait) jól kiemeli a klasszikus, fehér keretek tisztasága. A képekről nemhogy szavak, konkrét mondatok kiabálnak határozottan felénk. Test, arc, kéz, vonalak és erővonalak, kivágott és beillesztett fotórészletek egyaránt részei a kortárs képzőművészeti alkotásoknak. Ahogy a kapcsolódó szövegrészletek is, melyeket Herold Eszter írt. A képek és a szöveg összekapcsolódásával képeslapok is születtek, melyek hátuljára mintha egy írógéppel véletlenszerűen gépeltek volna oda. Néhol a szöveg a képekbe is beépül, egyszerűen átfolyik, átgyűrűzik rajtuk.
A szöveg egyezményes betűk sora, melyek jelentést hordoznak, amikor egymás mellett jelennek meg. A színek és a formák az alkotás pillanatában nyernek új jelentést, és egymással, egymásból hozzák létre az érzetet, az érzést, a gondolatot. A Domború Projekt keretében így született meg valami, miközben megszületett valaki…
P.S.: „visellek megszüllek életre csodára halálra eresztlek”
I have a book at home. In fact, I have several books at home. But the book I think of is about famous portrait photos of fabulous actors and rock stars. As the editor (Fergus Greer) of the album notices in the introduction, „portrait photography is maybe the sexiest genre within photography”, since it is embedded in the field of intimacy. The photographer has to break through the subject’s boundaries to accomplish his task and find the man behind the artist, or, from another point of view, to find the man through his/her proper poses. Even if it is not at all easy to concentrate the deep core of someone’s identity into a photo, it is always a fruitful and interesting venture.
This is indeed the case with the exhibition of Roland Szabó (during the Performing V4 – Biennal of VARP-PA Residents in Prague, in the Ballassi Institute), whose portraits are made of the artists and residents of L1 Association. To catch a kind of redundancy underneath the surface of the faces and gestures of the artists, Szabó applies the form of image pairs. The first picture, a neutral, ordinary one (a simple portrait), is paired with a near photo that has emerged exactly from the personality of the subject of the portrait. Because of this duality, we can interpret the photos as playful dances between the inner world of the represented subjectivities and the outside environment.
On the other hand, the duality of the photographs points to the plural nature of one’s face. Everyone has several faces and masks with poetic, metaphorical or metonymical meanings, that necessary peel off from one’s skull at a certain point of life, just to leave blank, empty spaces behind them. And what is this blank space if not the redundancy itself that a good portrait photographer has to catch? The unique and inalienable space that is measured with evanescence and that is fertilizedwith the present moment.
Usually there is something highly quaint in performances, which are on the point of charting the rhythm of the body and the possible meanings of its implications. This is indeed the case with the international teamwork lead by Zdenka Brungot Svíteková, the choreographer of `designed for tΛt∫’.
The performance is in fact a 50 minutes long, weird experiment with lots of improvisation and repetition: there are three men and two women on the stage, who are permanently squirming, even without a short break (except when they are physically immovably writhing) and who are soon circuiting the whole space in the theatre. But their improvisation is not derived from the ability and the playful nature of the body, and the repetition of their movements is not a simple, formal one. The movements are spasmodic and obligate ones, from the space and the time in the core of the body, or to be more precise, they come from a strange, invisible and nameless territory of the body in trance, which is as abstract and simple (but complex at the same time) as the surface of the rhizome by Deleuze and Guattari.
From a certain point of view, the most interesting point of designed for tΛt∫may be the deep concentration on the faces of the spectators during the performance. They try to do their best to focus on a stable image of the movements, to find a fixed point to rest their gazes – but their attempts remain futile. And that is because once the organic and permanent vibration of the dancers’ body came to visibility, it could never go back behind its boundaries. But what is the bottom line of the vibration and why can’t it be ever stopped? Frustrating questions. The vibration may be a tool of a ‘new sensority’, which in its own way represents the take-off of the movements: the stillness, which is just like the vacuum, full of emptiness, and despite of its supposed steadiness and silence, it is full of microscopic movements too. Designed for tΛt∫is kind of a ’still-act’ in this sense. It works as a “sort of generative force which allowed dance to become present [and which] initiate the subject in a different relationship with temporality” (André Lepecki) and with each other. As the choreography is written into the natural time of the twisting of the bodies (stillness as a rhythm), through the immanent power of the stillness, the choreography is able to make the current moment visible. And what is the most interesting characteristic of the current moment, or as Aristoteles used to name it, the nun? That it is out of time (time-not-yet and time-no-longer). So when Svíteková and her ensemble make the bustle of the nun visible through the vibration, they actually permit the being-out-of-time (they touch the core of the time). Since it would be impossible with trained and represented movements, the whole choreography is naturally built on improvisation. Improvisation is able to open certain channels of the body.
On the other hand, improvisation and vibration emphasize the permanent craziness of the world of being-toward-movement and through the hiccupping, the layers of perception. Actually the main goal of designed for tΛt∫is in a sense very similar to a fabulous Hungarian performance, the Hodworks’ Dawn. Both choreographies try to lead the attention of the spectators to a kind of metaposition (because through repetition and monotony, they offer some new perspectives about the ontology of choreographies) and bring them to a place, where they can have the chance to be lost. The performances share the goal to offer the opportunity to enter a virtual space with full of absence, intensity and instability. However, there are some differences between the two performances: Dawn crosses a threshold to the Outside at a certain point in the choreography, whilst designed for tΛt∫seems to find its virtuality on the surface of the threshold itself (to do this, they use very deep, murmured noise-music). The creators of the performance (Barbora Látalová (CZ), Zdenka Brungot Svíteková (SK/N/CZ), S. Cansu Ergin (TUR), Pedro Prazeres (PT/FR), Fernando Pelliccioli (ARG/I/D) and Carlos Osatinsky (ARG/D)) remain very conscious; they act just like a machine from the first minute to the last. And after we have the chance to melt into the surface, the rhythm changes its tempo; the movements slow down and explode to the theatre.
In the framework of VARP-PA program, residents got the possibility not just to create a performance but also to do theoretical research in different topics of performing arts, just like the research presented in the workshop Phantomic Sensation. Gabriela Karolczak, Martyna Lorenc and Marysia Zimpel (who was unfortunately absent at the time) gave us a lecture based on theory of cognitive psychology and neuroscience, explained through physical (dance) exercises.
But what does the title of the event mean? What is ‘phantomic sensation’? Does it exists or is it just a hypothesis we can use for further research? Is it maybe only a metaphor to examine a phenomenon from a different, visual point of view? Phantom sensation exists, and it is scientifically proven, but the term ‘phantomic’ was generated by Gabriela. Instead of trying to give an answer to the above questions, it is easier to describe the process the research was about.
In the first part of the workshop, we received comprehensive information on “correlates of sensation and movement of the body in the brain.” Briefly, quoting Gabriela again: „if you lie relaxed, and I touch you here, maybe you can feel some tingling in another place? What will be the next place where you would like to be touched? And then… how can I use this kind of information to inspire my dancing?” That is to say, the sensation map with its newly discovered couplings create a whole new body picture we can call the phantom body(?), the body of the homunculus. This is not equivalent with but is connected to the phenomenon of the phantom limb, namely when the phantom, the “missing” body part is itching or aching.
The research tried to give a summary of the way we feel our own body. But the problem is, if it is a problem at all, that the tutorial class named itself Phantomic sensation while all the time everything we heard or did was about experiencing the real perception of the body and not the image the brain creates of it. In my opinion, the latter could be explored in a complex but useful exercise, for example through treating/imagining the body as mutilated or even dismembered. This cruel sensation is the converse side of the research, through which the aim of going deeper into our own sensation and perception could be completed. But for now, let us examine Phantomic Sensation.
“Call for touch – feel it, observe it.”
One of the exercises was aimed at the „storytelling” quality/ability of the reflex generated by the touch. The perception and the afterlife of the touch can be described metaphorically, although it is “only” a neural impulse. The described sensation doesn't happen literally, but it is evoked by the sensation of connections between the cortices' electrical stimulation.
Closing our eyes during the exercises helped us to focus and strengthen our self-reliance. After getting comfortable, my partner could touch my body at any point and Gabriela said: „Follow what comes, follow your sensations.” My first thought was that the dancer always knows that one single impulse has an effect on the whole body, even if he/she feels the desire to react to it with a total different part of the body, in a total different quality, or even if he doesn't move at all. This statement is also legitimate in this situation, with a slight difference: it has a scientific verification (see the pictures above). A simple movement exists in its „pure” form only written on paper or by articulation, but after the dancer performs it, it is filled with him/her and is materialized, ending its limited existence by being determined in a physical body's physical gesture. An exercise deepens this experience, which is the most basic knowledge of a dancer, but in this case, it only tries to come close to an action based on phantomic sensation. The connection exists, but this is nothing more than a warm-up exercise and not a phantomic sensation-specified act in my point of view.
The previous condition – the fool's paradise
What are the advantages of making conscious what could have been half-conscious before? Here, fool means the basic instinct reactions encoded in the knowledge (talent, practice, school education, etc.). If a dancer participates in a duo, he/she will know where he/she touches the partner and why, and performs it with the whole apparatus of his/her technical skills. In this case, the “follow your sensations” sentencepredicates nothing more than what is obvious, and the “integrate it to your connections” instruction is far-flung. Is it really that easy to discover the effects of each cortex on the other? Your body is your own again – well, the truth is, it was mine the whole time. To focus specifically on the leading ability of the somatosensory cortex via the motor cortex is not unilateral, the action-reaction between them is simultaneous, and we are not able to give priority to one of them.
Whom would I recommend the workshop Phantomic Sensation?
What was very important during the whole workshop – and this was maybe left unaddressed – that we can't separate the two cortices from each other, only speak about their mutual work. Drafting these feelings could be the main point which could make the sensation profound. The last exercise was the best example for this, when one person touched the other, who followed the sensation and talked about the pictures the touch generated. Meanwhile, the third one was listening (showing his back to them) and sketching the heard impressions on a piece of paper. After it, we discussed our experiences.
Indeed, the lecture was not merely theoretical but to focus more on the visual aspects, to stress the importance of imagination and the context the movement was nested in, the only possible language with which we can talk about it, the metaphoric, would render the lecture into a dance in education (DIE) workshop. The research is intriguing, but in this form I would recommend it not to professional dancers, but to anybody who wants to lose himself in the inner world of dance.