I wonder what might be the similarities between them, and I definitely wonder why I need to find similarities between them.
Yesterday, Works at Work was inaugurated with the presentation of three solo works by students from Danish National School of Performing Arts, the Inter-University Centre for Dance Berlin and the Justus-Liebig-University in Giessen
Dry Ice, no void that is not touched by it’s inside.
Kahr Rasmussen enters and leaves.
We are there to take part of his piece, of his work. He is at work, we are not. He is about to show us his interpretation of Rodrigo Sobarzo dance piece Mining, a young, white male boy is breathing, shaking, breaking – out of itself. We are about to witness. Is that possible to do at work? To se another body doing a crash landing in itself, in it’s own situation?
Cecile Bally is communicating, but not with us, and neither with herself. The communication that she practices semes to be like the stairs that you have to climb before coming home in the evening – if you don’t live on the ground floor. Speaking as climbing, socially, timely. It’s impossible for me, as well as for you to not count in the writing and the reading of these letters. I am also responsible for Ballys piece, and you are too. Timeline, a forthcoming to climb. Please, can you tell me what you do?
Ballay’s piece An organisational study, that’s my work presents as a model based on her understanding of data in order to extract herself from it:
I was writing on how ideas emerge. I am digesting.
To write a performance. To perform a text.
To embody my master thesis.
Se mettre à nu.
A methodology to produce absurdity.
The last sentence is the most interesting, since Ballays piece is not absurd at all, or it does represent the absurdity in the normality inside which we try to keep our bodies, out of which Kahr Rasmussen is breaking.
Bally’s frenchspeaking is a summary of all the education I have ever passed, and probably it will also serve as a possible summary for my coming education, working applications and birth-givings to children as well. It all can be found in between her two lips, that are constantly communicating with nobody.
Inside that room, the fourth wall is trembling. Who am I to sitt here not moving? The tips of my toes are scratching the floor. I take of my shirt, as Kahr Rasmussen did. Before leaving, Ballay left a pile of her cloth in the middle of the room. Who is supposed to take them on? Instead of grabbing a sock, I move my feet three centimeters to the left, give a little massage to my neck, and sit still. Next body, next show must go on.
Joana Tischkau’s WHAT YEAH shows everything but a face. Bodies tremble, all those bodies deciding which legs and sholders, ass and breasts will be counted as body parts, and which will be counted as human. In Joana Tischkau’s cat-looking position, I become all of them. A fhere is a starting inside me, a struggle between those mediated parts pars of flesh, and those parts of subjectivity through which the mediation is being done.
Thanks to Kahr Rasmussens poured-out garbage bag, and to Ballay’s everyday frenesy, I can stand the mixture. I can continue committing bodily pressure not only to myself, but to my surrounding as well. Perhaps the only permissive body is the dead one, the quiet a non-productive piece of flesh and skin. But, the bones are still connected to each other and – of course – the dead is dressed. Is the entombment a way of preserving this bodily action? You must be representable even when you are dead, they say, cleaning the body and ptting a new skirt on.
Inhumation. Is the expropriation of space, bodily, social and earthly, a way of preserving the production of presence after which we all are supposed to adjust our beings? If so, then it is impossible to tell somebody that you will leave for a while, that you will have a rest or that you will “soon be back”. You will never be away, your digital and juridical-economical presence is to dense to not participate in your surroundings, whether you wish it or not.
The movement of inner organs, their nourishment and health maintenance, is closely connected to these rhythmic but at the same time mental powers.
In an essay on the economy of human movement, Katja Rothe writes how the education of the dancing body in the twenties, was a way of creating a free way of life, and that the rhythm of bodily movements thus also held the promise of individual self-development and of a better life. As well as the butho dance would be to the Japanese post war industrial society, the ryhm was a way to counteract the disfiguration brought by modern civilisation”, Rothe states. She means that this way of regarding dance training in early nineteenth century Germany was a new, old form of immediate communication”.
Say that to a new-born teenager. Immediate communication, what is not?
Who is not communicating today, if even the dead are spatially speaking; either if they are ashes in a pot or flesh in the ground? Floating all over the chair, writing all over the computer, screaming all over the space. I try to be quiet but I can’t. The communication of listening, practiced in each corner of this room, as well as of the black box at Dansehallerne, don’t leave us be. Kahr Rasmussen picks up his phone, Ballay is having a FM collapse and Tischkau acually directs herself to this listening. But is it, as a part of the huge human capital in constant circulation, possible to adjust what is being listened to, to chose what is heard? Most people should say no.
Rythm played a central part in the process of this discovery of the human within, writes Rothe, meaning not only human conciousness, but also a deeper understanding of modern society and its forms of labour and economy.
Body plays a decisive part in the production of meanings, writes the author Mara Lee Gerdén in her newly published doctoral thesis in fine art writing as resistance, responsibility and time. She states that body creates meaning itself, that they not only are different, but that they also make difference – even in writing, she writes, I write, you read. Did it make any difference?
According to Fritz Giese, the body might be invisible in the rhythmic movement. Perhaps this is the link to the escape present in all of the three student pieces shown last night. Meaning that the I and the we are constituting each other, mutually, Gies means that the subjective position is collective, a position from which we can escape from being seen only by shaking. Here I want to reformulate Gayathry Spivak’s question; if the subaltern can speak, to if the subaltern can chose not to listen. Who’s body in not part of what is being said in this certain space, in this text that you read or at least look at. I cannot decolonise my body, since I am part of the colonising event. I am present, I am actually feeling quite present, and I suppose you do as well. Even if I jump and shake, I am there – at least according to my previous experiences of interacting with myself or with others.
In the sold out performance, Antonia Baehr leaves us all in the Abecedarium Bestiarium. The group adjusts to the space, social groupings are created and new connections are being made. I cannot not listen. Time passes; Baehr enters and tells us her story. We listen – how can we not? Then everything changes. Baehr becomes through two hours. In a mixture of friendship, imperialism through existential submission and industrial consumism, she actually succeeds not to listen. In the becoming of what is no more, those creatures who were extinct by human condition – who were turned into human condition and therefore disappearing themselves – Baehr situates herself in between the speaking and the listening. When becoming it all at the same time, she underlines the silly character of my question in the beginning of this text: what are the similarities between those bodies, as well as my try to grasp the difference between speaking and listening. Only by doing both, one can chose not to.