A New Sensualism

A new sensualism is emerging in this time of globalisation, a time when the globe is recreating itself. It is hard to imagine anything more elementary. It is not only that something is changing while everything else stays the same, rather it is a transformation of everything, including the nature of change itself. Technology is clearly no longer an instrument but a condition – it is becoming our nature. We live in a technonature on a radically changing planet. It is characterised by a technologically triggered climate change that confronts us as natural catastrophe, and a technological environment in which we are losing social bonds, while at the same time everything and everyone is connected. It has become clear that we cannot control and plan what is going on, and that in itself is integral to what is going on. We can feel and sense this new becoming. We live it. We are not detached from this extreme planetary transformation, but are in it and are part of it. The planet is not changing without us. The transformation going on cannot be looked at and studied like an object. What is changing is changing us: what we see and how we see, what we hear and how we listen, what we feel and how we feel – how the senses make sense – is transforming itself, and that is why sensing as such is becoming so surprisingly unfamiliar, new, intense, exciting, disturbing. We are being born into the environment of a transforming planet; we are exposed to the experience of it, to living in it. In our work we aim to let ourselves be affected by the elementary change we are going through. Our pieces work with presence and sensuality to feel, hear, see this self-transforming time and space. In doing so, some of them address technology and nature explicitly, others do not. It is not important. When technology becomes natural and nature is technologically transformed, this affects our existence and our senses – always. Not only when we use devices or talk about it. The transformation goes deeper and beyond technology’s instrumental function. If a piece is about presence then it is about the elementary nature of this change.

After a long period in which both works and people feel as if they are the last of a line, burdened by a certain melancholia and the heaviness of closure, of history being over, we experience an atmosphere of something else coming into existence. Indefinite beings, ones who start living and feeling in this new world, who start to be (in) technonature. That is why mere presence becomes so important in many pieces, including ours. What matters in them is the drive to open the senses, to approach our transforming existence as sincerely as possible, even innocently. On this planet which is giving birth to itself – and so to us – we are vulnerable and fragile. We are not dominant. We are not the strongest. We have the power to kill some or even many of us and a lot of life on earth, and we do so every day. But we are not life as such. There are forces in continuous motion within and without us, and we can clearly feel this today in the change and transformation that is happening around us, between us, within us, exceeding and surpassing us. We want to open ourselves to these forces and offer a space where we can get in touch with them. This changes our relationship to those who come to experience our work.

None of our pieces is ”interactive” but all of them engage with the audience and establish relationships, offer a kind of participation. The act of being present, of pure being there, happens in and as an environment. It is an environment that includes the audience, and that which appears in-between, consisting of relationships – bodies, feelings, sensations, perceptions. An environment of affects and forces to which you are exposed and connected, open to what becomes present right here and now. In this environment, another way of being an audience is emerging. It is not about what you see – neither what nor you – but about the state a piece offers. As an audience you still have to enter that state; being a spectator or visitor here does not mean staying outside, observing. From the outside you will not see. If a piece works, it does not force you into something, it gives you space and time for being. It is an offer, not a product and not a task, and it is not always happening. The pieces we are trying to make ask for a certain way of watching and being in them. A watching that is not triggered by anything interesting on the sidelines of what is being shown, and that is not an understanding on the part of the spectator. It is rather an appearing than a showing, and rather a meditation than an understanding. A watching as a state exceeding what you see and who you are as a spectator. Neither the performers nor the audience can control it, but all of them are involved in exploring a state in which watching becomes being sensually present. Our works follow a belief in presence, in sensuality, in openness. They are not critical, not ironic, not detached, not cool; neither are they personal or emotional. They are at the same time humble and risky, because they follow a drive. It is subtle and it is strong, it is a new experience of being on this planet. It is a sensual affirmation, a yes. This yes is not ignorant of violence, of injustice, of exploitation; it is not an escape from the suffering. It is charged by and opens itself up to what is stronger than any destruction. It echoes that there is something rather than nothing. This yes sounds like it is coming from somewhere else. It is the call of an adventure.