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Participants' reflections on 21 Sept

Me and the Machine
Not to be Seen with Ones Own Eyes

The fact of having a body seems to be so self-evident and banal. Me and the Machine questions the body experience in in a time when technical extensions of the body are more and more accessible.
I wrote down “me and my body“ on the list. This is when and where performance begun.  A visitor is ascribed 10 minutes  during his “turn“. The situation in the waiting room (both thanks to its lighting and spatial disposition) reminds one of a visit to the dentist, already a quite strong bodily association.
Entering the dark room, two senses (sight and hearing) are replaced by technical mediations. The body experience is denied and orientation in the space disrupted.  To be honest I felt clumsy and heavy in my body/the body of the protagonist – maybe also because of the physical presence of the items on my eyes and ears.  Yet still it felt agreeable. It was necessary to rely someone invisible leading me. The trick was to connect the visual and aural perception with the sensation of touch and with body movement. It worked one way only; a visitor had to follow the instructions and impulses given but the technology could not respond to his/her movements and bodily sensations with a corresponding visualization and sonorization. So the experience resulted from precise coordination between the seen and heard (mediated), the felt and the understood. The causality of the process was turned upside down. The body was supposed to react to the visual impulses of the movement and not the other way round. One‘s eye can see the movement before the body starts to move or even without body movement at all; these moments sometimes broke down the initial communication and connection. Without the guidance and touch of “someone there“  the play became much more difficult.
The sight is said to be the most respected and over-valued of the senses. Here a visitor enters the space where he is deprived of the possibility of seeing with his eyes. In fact, the visitor accepts  the eyes and ears of someone else while keeping his/her own body.  I wouldn't say this plunged me into the illusion. On the contrary, the illusory aspect is admitted all the time – also by the physical sensation of the items.  What I felt even more strongly was the presence of someone manipulating me. By this I dont mean any rudeness: the esthetics of the material (story, music, whispering) and the quality of the touch tended to create the atmosphere of closeness and trust. And yes, it was agreeable. But still this presence was there  –  someone observing us without us seeing him/her.
Me and the Machine asks where the body ends at a time when more and more new technologies are appearing to extend it (from glasses to liver transplantation to cyborg bodies).  Isn't the body itself quite a sophisticated mechanism which very often inspires the inventions?  Wasn't the ballet mécanique an ideal of the constructivist era? Me and the Machine creates an experience of the body that has just been extended – that is wearing the glasses for the first time. Before the feeling of something radically external disappears in time, the body has to deal with a certain discomfort of this presence, accept it and get used to it. Thus it is being redefined.  The performance captures a very fragile moment before the “and“ between “Me and the Machine“ disappears.

Ivana Rumanová

Misleading Title - Impressions of Marta Ladjánszki’s Josha

Josha is an insight into a mysterious world, a revelation of a shared secret; it is like a ticklish smell spread in the air. Without the slightest visible effort, the performer steals the attention, and gently sweeps it among her steps. While Joanna maintains the visual focus, the music is responsible for the ambience. The musician’s deeply hypnotic and repetitive guitar phrases cultivate the audience’s capacity to embrace whatever they are to offer. The seductiveness of the sound increases the density of the space. The presence of Zsolt’s musical work strongly grabs hold of the public, while at the same time leaving them feeling at ease. Some sort of general acceptance fills the room all of a sudden, without the need for looking for definition. The air is liberated from all “shoulds” of conceptualizing; their actions are rather an invitation to taste their reality.

The meeting of three individual galaxies- movement, music and light - unfold together in a fourth common dimension. The collaboration feels harmonious, and strongly tied together, because the absence of any single component would immediately break the fullness of the event. This connection justifies the presence of all of them, and relaxes the audience from unnecessary doubts. There is a certain democracy between the operating elements, although it is easy to fall into the belief that everything is centered around Joanna. Still, the focus is somehow indefinable; it is hard to reveal where it is. In the case of a classical portrait it would be exactly the opposite, sharply directed. Therefore it is more than relevant to ask who Josha might be. Could Josha be born without the support of light and sound? Was it the intention for the dancer to inhabit Josha, or is it the collaboration of all three forces? It does not hurt to wonder, whether the theme of the performance is one single component of the whole, or it is about a collage of personalities, about the exhibit of a meeting?

Julia Lányi

Daniel AlmgrenRecen: Dance(Rafal) 

A man in casual clothes enters the empty stage. Above we see the title of the piece, which is Dance(Rafal), as if it were a case study. This man has brought his non-dancer‘s body into the field of dance. It is a field that is is foreign to him, as is clear from his look and facial expression as he says "hello" (without telling us his name, as a case again). His facial expression shows insecurity, as if he just wanted to get closer to the people who are watching him. Above all, it is personal, and this makes up  one level of the performance. The other level (the public level) is movement - and on this level he goes through the past, a (recent) history of making movements. He does this without stopping, like a machine. Still, he is not a machine, he makes (facial) commentary, he communicates with his material. The two levels mix. He enters more personally into the movement while losing a personal distance from the movement, and at the same time movement enters into his person as he adopts it. How can dance systems affects human systems?

                                                                                        Mirna Roncevic

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