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Landscape and Imaginary Space

All the texts I have been writing in the last years are about bodies and landscapes. I am describing movements of bodies and movements of space and the moments when the one comes out of or crawls into the other. 

The first tool I am working with when writing is my own body. I get calm, I open up, I enter some sort of all-body-listening-mode. I let images come, I let words come, I write what I see and hear.

For me, the performers’ speaking of the texts is in a similar way first of all a listening. You read something, you learn something by heart and you speak something that is not „yours“. When speaking a text, you build a relation to an other thing, an other body. The one who speaks a text is entering into a listening mode, and offering a relation to what they hear. 

The main challenge in Aeon with these specific texts in this particular environment is to understand the relation between imaginary space and real space. If you work in a studio or a theater and you speak a text like this it is all imaginary space; but here outdoor there is a real physical space and it responds to the imaginary space being told about. This is one of the relations we are working with here and probably the strongest. 

Apart from that we are busy with at least two more relations:

  • between the one who is speaking and the one(s) who are listening: there is a lot of „we“ and „they“ and „I“ in the texts and I find it interesting how these words affect us (the ones speaking as well as the ones listening) differently – closeness, distance, separation appear when these words are being said; I realise more and more how much personal pronouns are strong indications of space, spatial relations
  • between the text and the body: How does the one who speaks feel the text? – I am interested in how the body who speaks can be the first resonance field for the text, this particular word or sentence: to let space emerge for what you feel/hear NOW when hearing/saying it.

So, what we are trying to do here is to work on three relations at the same time:

  • where are you NOW in the text? how do you feel, hear what you are saying?
  • where are you NOW in space? what do you see, hear, feel, get from your surrounding? (the air, the temperature, the ground and its stones and plants, the birds, the wind, the sky, the noises around etc.)
  • where are you NOW in relation to the one(s) who listen(s)? Are you in the „we“, the „they“ or the „I“? How do you address us/them and how do you feel addressed by us/them?

How can you be at the same time in a real space and in an imaginary space created by language and in relation to a listening body (your own and others)?

The performers, Lisa, Laura, Joséphine, are handling these relations very differently but they share the questions and their directions.

The Spectacle Around You

All the texts used for this work talk about future journeys: „we“ will go somewhere – we will go to the street, the swamp, the naked earth. 

As a visitor you are on a trip on this field, you are exploring its very heterogenous landscape – its desert, its garden, its street, its stones etc. You sense the ground, the air, your body and its relations to others, the other bodies in relation to yours. 

The performers make you see the underneath of the ground (the plants and where they enter the earth), the three dimensions of where we are  – they make you turn around, feel your sides and your back, truly sense that there is everywhere something and not just in front of you. 

The performers make the visitors who walk with them enter to what is here and now in all its heterogeneity and vastness and richness; they show you around. In walking with the performers you experience a clear sense of „surrounding“: that which is happening is always around you, the front is only one moment; and as soon as the front comes in, there is someone looking back at you and you are being seen, too. 

I experience this trip as creating a „we“; as constant transitions between an integration (I am with you, we are together) and a distance (they are elsewhere, I am here), a sharing of spatial and personal/physical relations. It is a trip, a journey, and highly symbolic – a life time. Out of this purity – the performers’ movements as well as that of the landscape – for me the symbolic emerges.

There is a certain lightness that the performers have, and that affects the audience. In this particular space at Landsberger Allee, which for me is so much in-between of many things: abandonment and resurrection, desert and garden, stones and plants, urbanity and nature, no longer used for anything and future construction site, ugliness, trash and beauty in the width it offers – in all these in-betweens, the lightness, sometimes even serenity that the dancers have, opens up a sense of affirmation, forms a yes.

As a spectator I am taken into this very place right here and now on Landsberger Allee, my whole body is doing this trip through this field in all its strangeness. And I am taken to other places by listening to someone speaking and taking me into an imaginary space that is elsewhere and at the same time here and now.