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Thursday, 11 June 2015

PV4 - sum up video online!

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

Friday, 29 May 2015

OPEN DISCUSSION_PV4

If you missed the open discussion led by KÖM-members with the participants of PERFORMING V4 - Biennial of VARP-PA Residents, here you can watch it:-)
open discussion

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Echoes_Eszter Herold/Zsuzsi Palman – CONVEX PROJECT – Icons of Waiting and Wasting (exhibition) by Mónika Kunstár

a magyar fordítás alább
The art (of) giving birth


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
photo: www.rolandszabo.cz

Herold Eszter/Palman Zsuzsi: Domború Projekt (kiállítás)
„Megálmodlak, megteremtlek”
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”
Kunstár Mónika – KÖM, L1 Egyesület

Echoes_Roland Szabó: Portraits of L1 Association (a photography exhibition) by Zsuzsanna Komjáthy

Plural faces
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.
photo: www.rolandszabo.cz
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 fertilized with the present moment.
Zsuzsanna Komjáthy – KÖM by L1 Association

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Echoes_Zdenka Brungot Svíteková - designed for tΛt∫ by Zsuzsanna Komjáthy

The relationship with temporality
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. 
photo: www.rolandszabo.cz
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.
Zsuzsanna Komjáthy – KÖM by L1 Association

Echoes_Gabriela Karolczak: Phantomic Sensation by Kristóf Farkas

The power of metaphors 

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. 
photo: www.rolandszabo.cz
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” sentence predicates 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.  
photo: www.rolandszabo.cz
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. 
Kristóf Farkas - KÖM by L1 Association

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Echoes _ JOSHA – a portrait – by Orsolya Bálint

JOSHA - the freedom song of a woman

Márta Ladjánszki defines herself as a ‘female creator’, and her choreography JOSHA – a portrait –, is a truly feminine work of art, not just because her solo dancer is the spellbinding Joanna Leśnierowska. We easily identify Josha with Joanna (since the piece is also named after her), but Josha is in fact an imaginary person, with a fictive personality, created partially from the dancer’s movements and stage presence, from the choreographer’s vision and instructions, and also from the scenery and the space she sometimes shares with Zsolt Varga, the musician. 
But who is Josha? This is the question the audience and the performer both ask. 
For us, Josha is a terra incognita, yearning to be discovered. We can only hope to get to know her – to some extent – until the end of the performance, taking us on a journey to explore the external and internal landscape of a person. 
In the opening scene, we see her sitting in the depth of the stage, with her naked back turned to us, in intimate dim light. Wearing only a long blond wig, she looks feminine and teasing, just like a mermaid, or a Selkie, a seal woman from Nordic (among others Irish, Icelandic and Inuit) mythology. She tells a monologue about ending her life just by deciding it, and throwing a party to celebrate her choice, and taking her life into her own hands at last. There she would eat all the food making her fat and unhealthy, and wear all the clothes she always wanted to wear, not minding any criticism, not compromising with real or imaginary standards of society, just letting go of herself. 
The monologue is absurdly funny in its naivety, and poignantly bitter. Why does she have to die to start living like she wants to? Why is it death that has to remind us that we are still alive? Death can be frightening in its finiteness, but at the same time it is the greatest liberation, the transition into ultimate freedom. And Josha is determined to find her freedom, but to break free, she has to fight the invisible demons of self-restriction and self-destruction. When she starts to move, we feel her tension, the heavy pressure making her shoulders slump. She is moving in a space that feels thick and suffocating like mud. It takes her time and effort just to straighten her spine. 
There is a peculiar ambiguity in her being private and (in) public at the same time; the sometimes all too fine lines between Josha playing a role and Josha being herself are blurred. But we do see that she has many roles, and the dynamic dance portrait allows us to see them in a synchronicity – like a real, moving-breathing-thinking person –, as opposed to a static, painted or photo portrait. Sometimes she is seemingly unconsciously switching between the roles, at times deliberately, by putting on high heels, a dress, and changing the dress. 

photo: www.rolandszabo.cz
It is intriguing, that even though we see her mentally dressing down, peeling off the layers of her personality, she starts the performance naked, and puts on the clothes afterwards. Maybe just to show how awkward she feels in those clothes/roles. Or just experimenting with the many roles of a woman, like high heels for the ‘temptress’, and blond wig for the ‘Barbie doll’. 
Each time she puts on something, it becomes her second skin, and for a while we only see her adding more and more layers, creating a more complex, more nuanced portrait of herself, and also evoking the feeling of hiding behind all these skins. She is still not letting go, desperately clinging to her self-imposed restrictions, from which she believes she can create her identity. Or maybe she is only looking for her true ‘soulskin’, just like the Selkie? 
The tale of the seal woman, as retold in Women Who Run With the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estés, is a complex metaphor of a woman’s fate. The seal woman agrees to marry a fisherman, who finds and hides her sealskin (soulskin), with a promise he gives it back to her in seven years, so she can decide which life she chooses. But when the time comes, the husband, being afraid of losing her, refuses to give it back. Being cut off from her true self, she starts to wilt and fade, not even the birth of her child can cheer her up. She is already dying, when her son finds the sealskin and gives it back to her, and after putting it on again, she disappears in the waves of the sea for ever. 
We see in Josha this longing to return to her true self, and being in pain and struggle when she becomes more and more distanced from it. Her movements are broken, just like bumping into invisible walls. She is drawing circles with her hands and feet, like being in an endless cycle. (In fact, a woman’s life is determined by cycles, like the lunar cycles, or the greater cycle of life and death, by giving birth.) How could she find the way back to herself? How could she break the cycles? Does she have to break them at all? 
Meanwhile, the musician Zsolt Varga also enters the stage, leaves and comes back, and leaves again. The minute they are together on stage with Josha, they become man and woman. In their communication, they only seem to reflect, but not really listen to each other, like two separate worlds. She dances self-absorbed; he plays the guitar also self-absorbed, his music is another repetitive cycle. She clearly isn’t dependant on him, maybe she doesn’t need him at all, but he still has an effect on her, making her irresistibly move to his music. He acts like a macho, who doesn’t really care for her either, comes and goes whenever he wishes, but enjoys having power over her, and keeps alluring her with his music, like the Pied Piper of Hamelin. He seems to be confident and comfortable on stage, like a rock star, while Josha keeps on struggling.
In our time, women are taught from early childhood on, that to get on in a man’s world, we have to fight. Fight like a man. So we can become equal opponents, or even win over the men. We learn to fight, or if it doesn’t work, we find other ways, and manipulate. But this constant fighting or even guarding our defenses forces us to do things and take up roles which may be against our nature, leading ultimately to the loss of our true selves. We become the hostages of the fight for freedom and empowerment.
But there comes a point, when Josha breaks down. She starts to lose her composure and strength, exhausted from the fight, tired of rebelling against the situation, against playing roles, also against the music – she even puts her hand on the guitar to end it. It is an old wisdom, that when you get into a whirlpool in a river, you shouldn’t resist it, but wait to reach the river bottom, so you can push yourself back to the surface. In the moment Josha stops to fight and falls to the ground, she also starts letting go.
The lamp shade coming down from above and landing on top of her head can be a moment of enlightment, or drawing a halo around her head, implying that she went through the transition.  She points with her fingers one by one (still moving in a circle) to the audience and finally to herself, creating a moment of unity, the feeling of a shared experience. The lights (designed by Tomáš Morávek) gradually getting stronger during the performance now all go up at the back of the stage, ‘blinding’ the audience, so we cannot put a distance between ourselves and Josha even by sight anymore.
Márta Ladjánszki believes, “the most exciting thing is to discover our own self through watching somebody else”. I did see myself in Josha. I was shaken and exhausted, as if I went through this journey myself. I realized I was still fighting, the emotions, the tears, trying to keep my composure. It was time to let go, and just be me.  
Orsolya Bálint – KÖM by L1 Association