My encounters: Group Works #8

The fourth performance Trip was also a result of a school collaboration, but this time from the school SNDO in Amsterdam 10 years ago.

On stage we see three female dancers standing in a triangular formation. The room is bare, and the light is dim. Slowly, the three women start to open their mouths widely showing all their teeth. Saliva is running down their tank tops and a rhythmical beat starts to play aggressively like drums on a football stadium. The bodies start moving in a unison and simple choreography. Light from the ceiling is faded up, and the shadows of the dancers are casted on the white floor doubling the number of moving bodies on stage. As the performance evolve the dancers get more and more exhausted, but the beat of the music demands the bodies to continue despite their visible tiredness.

When the movements, the music and the open mouths suddenly stop, the performers sit down on the floor and tell us that Trip will be over in five minutes so if we have anything we want to share this is the time. The light starts to dim. Some people shout out their enthusiasm while others sit still, but common for us all is that we are aware of each other sharing this moment and the experience. When the lights go out the performers and the audience have been on a trip together.

The universe of Trip is not a comfortable place to be. On the contrary it is a dark, aggressive and raw fight that goes on forever. As an audience member it is impossible to keep your distance whether you like it or not you become engaged in what happens on stage. Unlike the earlier performances, Trip is not presented with a program text that highlights the conceptual aspects of group work in the piece. To me it is thought-provoking that it is the least conceptual work that succeeds to deal with group work in an interesting and engaging way both when it comes to the performer- audience relation and the thematics. This makes me think of the split between presenting a performance in a text and the audience’s physical experience of it.

As in the black box there is a hierarchy between the maker and the taker so when you as an artist or presenter write about a piece, who do you imagine your audience to be? What do you want to give them with your presentation? And why do you think it is important? For some reason these questions seem relevant when reading Works at Work’s festival program mostly because I am not sure what the festival team wants with their statements WORKS at WORK says:. Why is it important for them to tell me what they think when I as an audience already have read what the artists themselves are saying about their piece and have encountered the programmers curation Who does the festival team think I am and what do they want to give me?

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