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On The Road_Echoes_Jamie Lee-Stanislav Dobák: DREAMS by Kristóf Farkas

Spaces in the need of being enclosed by each other

    Dreams created by Jamie Lee and Stanislav Dobák „is an ongoing installation of dance films and photography based on our dreams”, which contains a performance-like dance étude. Among the several venues of the KioSK Festival, it took place in the basement of the building Elektrárne, where you just go from room to room, one by one, and in each you can watch a dance film “based on our dreams” and hell yeah, they're these kind of material! 

photo: Elena Aya Bountouraki
   The choreographies are so simple (I mean they don't want to be more than what the action needs), each of them are in perfect harmony with the feeling and visualization of their material. I can't say that every dream is archetypal, but for me all of them are familiar. I have dreamt at least once all of them, and each time I woke up in a sheen of sweat. Besides the two multitalented creators, the music is James Brown's and Jozef Vlk's merit and for sure their melodies will echo in your bones long after. The dancers, Jamie Lee, Daisy Phillips, Victoria Perez, Anuschka Von Oppen, Janet Novas and Passerelle dancers are all great, just like the way they are acting: through their body. Most of the choreographies are about the bearing of something, in which case the action is first and the emotions come just after. The movement is the source of them, they don't portray. To watch the dancers lost in their fears, solitude, desperation, or watch them being tangled and buck against each other by some unknown force – is the feeling of the voyeur. But, this review doesn't want to give a deep analysis of the dance films and the photography, but is rather about how they can become dream-like and intangible in a construction where one by one they are touchable. I want to emphasize the necessity of the chosen space, because of this we become the performers and not the artists – they are guides of this very unique mind trip.
    In a case when the chosen subject is about dreams, the fact that we have to go under to see – it –, the act of watching is not a primal sensation, but an affirmative feat in the name of what is sensible. So if subconscious could be an exact place, the basement would be a great match. You breathe in humid air smelling like dump and feel the moistness, perspired by musty-fusty walls, entering your skin. The only light sources here are some light bulbs and the film material screened by the projector through the air, spreading on the walls – or on the floor (just like a cube, which has sides). Beside the claustrophobic and rotting feeling of the space (which is not for emphasizing the exhibited material), the origin of the emerging atmosphere are the films and photos. They have lost their own materiality by being screened and exposed, and found it again in/on the dead material of the wall. This kind of alteration turns the pictures into something physically sensible, they become (the part of) the walls – which walls are now coming alive, because they are filled with the fluidity of the film. This is the already mentioned rawness, which is so peculiar in creating the atmosphere.
    The different sensations here are not parallel, but invigorated by completion. In theatre, the role of the eye is obvious, just as of the ear, but to be 'touched' by what is seen or heard, it is the personification of what is already vivid on stage. Otherwise, the circumstances of being ‘under’, to be enclosed in a space which is full of impulses reminding us at the 'behavior' of our dreams, the situation is intensified. Through evaporation, perspiration, horripilation and other physical and psychosomatic effects caused by the influence of the motion picture – or rather motion wall – and the space, I become the part of the exhibition. So, we are touched physically by sensing ourselves and the personification trends towards us. In one word, I reassert the fact that I am personified by myself. And in 'Dreams' I'm standing on that certain stage – in the subconscious level, being watched by my conscious self. So we can say that we watch and examine ourselves in the same time too. But is it conscious?
    No, it is not, in my opinion. It takes time to get used to the circumstances and any constant stimulus. And after it happens, the realization of an altered state is not prompt. Under the conditions of the basement and by being a part of the installation, the mind doesn't sense immediately the fact of the sleepless dream. It is like falling asleep: we don't know when it happens. The next and last step in this mind trip is the dance étude. We enter a murky room wrapped in mysterious and dense fog, where a guy (Stanislav Dobák) is hanging from the ceiling, just like an alpinist. He slowly starts to descend. And from now I won't give a detailed story of what was happening on the stage, I just evoke some fragments, e.g. that he has a torch in this foggy darkness.
    Just like in a labyrinth, he is roaming the space and suddenly finds himself face to face with a creature (Jamie Lee, wearing a furry mask) and they start to dance. They use the same movements, sometimes they wrestle and orbit near each other but these actions are more about getting to grips with the other. At a point, they sit down and start to drink water. There is a bottle and a fish tank on the table. The guy always wants to drink from the latter, but he is always blocked by the creature, who after a while takes little fishes (not real) out of its(/her) mouth and puts them into the water of the tank, what the guy still wants to drink up, but the creature tries to take it away. Finally, with the tank under his arm, he goes to a little room with a big window on its side – so we can see what's happening inside. He puts the tank on the table. He watches it. He comes out and locks the door. I feel giddy. Applause.
    Briefly, the fish tank is locked into a little room in a room, where the performance takes place, which belongs to the basement. But, the act of descending is metaphorical, not just physical, i.e. this is the way from the conscious into the subconscious – from reality into the dream. So these 'enclosings' are steps to reach something much deeper. And while me, the conscious self is watching the dive into the subconscious, which submerges it, I realize that I am part of this dream – despite my own sleeplessness. All of these spaces are enclosed by each other, but everything I see, happens in me. I'm the voyeur of someone else's dream, but with the great difference that I'm enclosed in it too.
Kristóf  Farkas – member of KÖM by L1 Association
KioSK 2015 New Slovakian Theatre and Dance Festival, Stanica Žilina - Záriečie, 23-26.07.2015

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