Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Monday, October 30, 2006
Still Lives

Still Lives performance show was presented in Bucharest on 27 and 28 October at the National Center for Contemporary Dance(www.cndb.ro) . The show actually began two weeks earlier when the project’ team interviewed different people in the center of Bucharest. The people were asked to comment upon Jeff Wall’s photography “The Stumbling Block”. Interviews were taken in Romanian, French and English. These interviews were consequently edited as to form a three-part show. The audience heard the interviews and they could see the Romanian subtitles on the screen. At a certain moment people appeared on the stage and then several choreographic moments were performed until the end of the show. Wall’s photography was not shown.
The project began as a part of a larger platform named Good Work initiated and developed by Berlin-based artists Frédéric Gies, Bruno Pocheron and Isabelle Schad. I had the chance to have a chat and a glass of wine with them after the show. They were very kind in talking with anybody interested in their project and in casual chat as well. The show was previously held in France in Lille and in Germany in Essen and Halle, respectively. The main idea of the project was to investigate the body’s status in a certain social and cultural context and to look at how people relate to this matter. The show managed to reveal something special about people’s perceptions and about the space they live in. This came out as people in France talked a great deal about violence as people in Romania talked about the events in 1989. These were of course just one of the topics touched by the people who were interviewed. It happened that I encountered Bruno, Isabelle, Frederic and Manuel Pelmus, the Romanian collaborator for the show, when they were taking the interviews. My interview appeared in the performance and they transformed it in a special moment. Basically I interpreted Jeff Wall’s photography as a pictorial response to the accident issue. Paul Virilio, one of the leading cultural theorists places the accident at the heart of the post-industrialized, informational civilization. When I was asked about the song that could best fit this image I thought about The Verve’s video for “Bittersweet Symphony”. The interview then ended with the beginning of the song and all the dancers felt like in domino game and lay on the ground. They told me that the audience at the first show held on Friday thought that it was the end of the show. I saw the second one on Saturday, October 28. However it continued with the third part. The show lasted for around 80 minutes.
The show was very much appreciated by the audience. Personally I found it to be great, and there is a long time since I’ve seen such an original and well done show. This was not only my opinion. The greatest thing about it is the very idea and the way it was done. “Still Lives” means exactly that, a perspective concerning people’s lives in a certain cultural and social context and the interplay between this and their personality and the way of seeing themselves and the world around them. It touches the issue of the way in which we relate to the space we live in and how much we are influenced in our perception by it. Although it used very few means of artistic expression, the show’s idea was powerful and compelling.

posted by Vicentiu Garbacea @ 4:16 AM


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