Our works are Space Choreographies because they deal with the mobility of space and the spatiality of movement. We are interested in the simultaneity of what happens and where it happens; in such a way that the place of the event does not exist before the event, but is created along it. A Space Choreography is not a stage set in which an action takes place; nor is it an installation that exhibits a space. We understand Space Choreographies beyond stage design and installation and beyond performance and exhibition. This raises the question of what the participants in a Space Choreography actually do, how they do it and who or what they are while doing it. And this question comes up for both aspects of participation, that of making and that of watching. We understand the performers participating in a Space Choreography as a Space Chorus and a Space Chorus is determined by the fact that its movements – physical and/or vocal – create a space. This creation of space also includes those who attend a Space Choreography. What does this “inclusion” of the visitors mean and how does one visit a Space Choreography?
Opposite and Event
Usually in performances we watch subjects acting and in exhibitions we look at objects in their form and shape. In performances we sit, in exhibitions we stand and walk; in one case what we watch moves, but we do not; in the other case we move ourselves, and what we watch is immobile. The performance takes place in time, as a spectator you follow something (plot, story, dramaturgy…) that develops, at least unfolds in the course of time; the exhibition is spatial, many things are there at the same time, you walk through as a visitor, observe something from all sides. In the performance one watches a movement, in the exhibition one is oneself in motion. If you think in terms of exhibition and performance, movement is activity and either on the side of the performing or the visiting subject. But it is not a spatial event that takes place between all participants.
What if movement is distributed differently, for example, if everyone is moving and being moved, not just either the performers or the visitors? And what if this movement of everyone does not happen for the purpose of interaction, dialogue or exchange between the participants? If nothing but this movement itself takes place, nothing is added to it – no task, no story, no plot, no action, etc.? If it is a movement that encompasses the whole space and all participants, that exhibits itself and is sufficient for itself. – Where and who or what are you as a spectator and how do you watch something like that, and is what you do spectating or something else?
Experience and Structure
If one looks at our previous Space Choreographies in terms of what being a spectator can be in them, one comes across ways of participating in a spatial event. There is a transformation of being a spectator itself, when there is not a subject and object, active and passive, that face each other, when being a spectator does not mean watching something, but rather sharing a spatial experience. Sharing does not mean that performers and visitors become “the same” or (should) do the same, but it takes place before or beyond identification as performers or spectators. It is about watching as experience and structure. Structure means that what is meant by “watching” – more generally: the way in which one participates as a visitor – that lies in the centre of the artistic work itself, is created by it and is not something that only happens when a work is “finished”. Watching takes place much earlier and comes much deeper from inside of a work than one might think at first. One thinks like that because of rehearsing without an audience and then thinking that watching is what comes when you don’t rehearse anymore. That makes things complicated and contradictory: while the way you experience a work is rooted very deeply in its process of creation and is part of its essence, spectators are at the same time that which eludes production. In contrast to the artistic participants – the Space Chorus – one does not normally rehearse and train with an audience. The more spatiality is involved as an all-encompassing happening, the more essential and tangible this difference becomes, the more one can and must work with it and think about it. One has to be concerned with what kind of invitation to what kind of participation is in a work, and the way in which spectators are prepared and become aware of it. Ultimately, it is a matter of looking at each work in terms of what kind of spectatorship it produces. For spectators, this means first and foremost being able to accept the invitation to participate in a work and to explore how one is part of it while watching.
Fortress / Europa (2015)
Fortress / Europa begins as an exhibition, the visitors walk around looking at paintings, the performers are initially invisible, the wall elements stand statically in the room, the paintings are attached to them. In the next step, the performers begin to move, the walls open up, leaving an audience space free, the visitors sit down.
There is a change in movement: Those who stood still before, now move, those who walked around, sit down. What follows can be seen in this way: An exhibition that passes in time, in a certain way performing itself. As an audience, one watches a moving installation. The wall elements are reconfigured again and again, the performers carry and move them, their faces towards the walls, you only see them from behind, they almost merge with the wall objects, the objects almost become protagonists. The audience space is in the centre of the action, the room is reconfigured around it, so you only see a section, something always happens behind one. At the same time, you sit in the audience space aligned to each other in such a way that you always have other viewers in your view and are seen by others. You are very exposed yourself, while at the same time there is a temporal course through the permanently changing spatiality, but neither individuals representing something nor an action that you could or should follow.
Probably the overall situation is something like this: An installation is moved, the performers become components, the components become protagonists, the spectators become exhibits. In a certain way, all of them find themselves in a space that moves and exhibits itself in this movement. In the change of who is what and how (object, exhibit, protagonist) a space appears in which everyone is embedded. Which everyone shares, even if they – performers, spectators – do not interact and do not do the same. Being part of this space and sharing this space is what happens. Nothing more or nothing else happens. As a spectator I can get involved in this happening, i.e. participate in it in the literal sense of the word, by seeing, feeling, perceiving, surrendering and surrendering myself to my own being exposed. Then I am in and with it, I participate without doing anything specific in the sense of interacting. It is a very corporeal process and has to do with relaxation and silence and letting things happen. When this happens, when I let go and do not want something (to understand, to be entertained…), the work goes through me and can actually take place in the in-between, in the interrelation of all those present. But it requires of me as a spectator a change in how and what I look at. As long as I am curious, looking for what you can call action or story or statement or concept, as long as I am interested in what you can understand as the performers’ skills, I see nothing. On this level there is really nothing, nothing takes place. The gaze that wants to understand something or find something ingenious and skilful fails. But if I succeed in letting what happens simply happen to me, a transformation takes place in me as a spectator: The “I watch something” becomes less, instead I become a zone of contact and feel an intensity.
In summer 2017 we worked together with the singer and performer Christine Börsch-Supan for several weeks outdoors, in the mountains, the Hohe Tauern in Carinthia/Koroška. We continued our artistic research on voice, space and movement, with the intention to work for the first time only outdoors, in a landscape, and to get to know its acoustic, visual and choreographic possibilities. We showed the result of our work from 8 Sep to 6 Oct 2017 as a video and sound installation at Kunstraum Lakeside in Klagenfurt/Celovec, curated by Nora Leitgeb.
The summer of 2017 was characterised by extreme weather conditions caused by climate change. The south of Europe burned in the sun, while the north drowned in rain. Our artistic questions about the relationship between man and nature also arise from the massive climatic transformations to which our living environment is exposed.
For some years space is a strong topic in our artistic work, and in the course of time we have begun to think space and movement together. Movement as a kind of “spacing” – giving space to oneself and creating space – has led us to the ancient chorus, e.g. in the artistic research projects Choros I + II, and this in turn to the question of landscape. The ancient chorus before the beginning of theatre was a singing and dancing choir that did not have a fixed, architecturally predetermined stage, but performed outdoors. It prepared its stage through its actions; at first simply by stamping a circular surface into the ground in a round dance. “Choros” is the name for this ancient choir, the round dance and the place where it danced. This simultaneity of movement and place interests us: Choros as a dance place does not exist before the chorus, the stage does not exist before doing. We are looking for ways in which what happens and where it happens are created simultaneously and go hand in hand.
Intimacy of Expanse
Landscape as an open space, a place of interaction of elements and forces, not primarily made and inhabited by humans, an exposed and unpredictable environment dependent on geological durations and environmental influences. – In working outdoors we became involved with this openness of the landscape. We neither hiked in the mountains to reach a summit, nor were we interested in landscape as a backdrop. We went to the same places over and over again, and stayed there for a very long time. Without us knowing or planning it beforehand, it was high grounds that attracted us most in the end. These are flat places that open up into the horizontal inbetween steep slopes and in front of rocky walls – in the middle of the verticality dominating the mountains. Here, it is not so much height and depth, and the conquest and abyss associated with them, that determine the landscape and its affects, but expanse. On these high plateaus we spent many hours again and again, staying and letting light, air, underground, sounds affect us. With and from these elements we found body movements and ways of speaking and sounding. We worked with the landscape, the nature of the surroundings, made ourselves permeable to them, but not with the intention of merging with them. Christine’s movements and her voice stand out from the landscape and at the same time they are embedded in it. What happens is not a unification, but an affection. In the long stay at a place and the physical, sensual opening to the landscape, in the feeling of its elements – the intonation with a breeze, the dancing on the blades of grass and walking on the stones in a stream – an intensity is created that is due to a very specific relationship between closeness and distance: In the human body, which sounds with the air, feels the stone, rolls in the grass, the vastness comes very close.
We spent a long time in places in the mountains that are not destinations in themselves, places that are remote, on routes that are scarcely used; places through which one only passes, if at all, when being on the way to a peak or a hut. In these places we have heard, seen and felt the surroundings and have intensively studied the relationship of the human body to these surroundings. In several senses, “recordings” have been created: the body recording the landscape by dwelling in it and moving with and within it; and audio and video recordings of these voice and body movements.
The video recordings are related to landscape painting, if it is a matter of this painting to first putting landscape into the picture and letting it be seen in a certain way; in other words, not to be the image of something, but to produce a view that belongs to what is seen. The videos are filmed in such a way that the gaze capturing them is physically present, it sees with them, it breathes with them; as a viewer, one sees in the movement of the image the breathing, the pulse, the weight of the filming body, the gravity that acts on it. And also in the image space itself, everything is organised around the relationship between rest and movement; one sees a distribution of the unmoving and the moving, which relates the human body and the environment of light, wind, water, clouds to each other and permeates all elements: Sometimes the body is completely still and thus allows the course of water, sun, clouds to emerge and become visible, sometimes the rhythm of movement of the body fits into that of light, wind or stream. In this way, each picture breathes as a whole and in each picture you see an interplay of different rhythms; the longer you look, the more you immerse yourself in the pictures, the more varied and finer the various elementary movements that relate to each other become.
The voice moves with the water, the wind, the buzzing of the insects, it is another soundtrack that blends into the environment. With this insertion it makes itself and the other sounds audible, it is not the foreground to sounds in the background, but in the resonance with the stream and the air the interplay comes out. As with the body movements and sometimes simultaneously with them, the voice is also about participating in the elementary movements and sounds of the landscape. It is about a sounding, vibrating breathing with the air and the sounds that are already there on the one hand and that you find when you go out into the open air, but which at the same time only appear when they are added to the sound of the voice. Christine’s voice receives the landscape, it sounds out of hearing, enters into what she hears, brings what she hears into her own voice. From the recordings of this hearing resonance, the sound environment for the listeners is created.
The texts spoken in Choros III (Koroška) come from a cycle entitled Into the Open and are nature lyric. They describe a space in which one body becomes another, carried out once more, again and again, from the ground, from the earth, from space. They speak of this space as a free one. The texts want to write about this free space and write from this free space, they want to write (themselves) freely and write something free. They try a reversal, which is similar to what the movements, the images and the voice are all about: to take up less of oneself, to do less on one’ s own initiative, but to take up something from somewhere else – the landscape, the surroundings, nature – and be set in motion. Not only wanting to go out into the open as a direction of liberation, but also wanting to be approached by the open and being touched, changed by the open. In lyrical writing, this freedom is not only a motif or theme, but also and above all a movement – that of the rhythm and sound of language. In the sound of the words and their stream one also hears a freedom from their other use, from information or communication.
The author/choreographer Sandra Man and the visual artist/choreographer Moritz Majce have been working together since 2010. What distinguishes their collaboration is that they view and produce choreography not from the perspective of the performing arts but rather as a visual art: as art in space.
For the exhibition Choros III (Koroška), conceived by the duo as an artistic research project on the choir and choreography, they have developed outdoor choral constellations as a way of engaging with the specific spatial conditions of landscape as “nature”, and with the possibilities for its reception as well as with its acoustics, its prospects, and its horizon. In parallel, an exhibition will be presented at Kunstraum Lakeside that is also composed as a kind of “landscape” of various views and sounds.
The work includes various elements of the “choral”, including the ancient Greek term choros, meaning circular, sung dance; the dance floor and those who dance upon it; and the linking of dance, theater, and music. The choir is perceived as a spatial network of sensory relations. In a direct confrontation with the audience, the spatial choreography is realized independently of the media used as a movement between all elements and the audience. Vital to this exercise is the direct encounter with the landscape of Carinthia, which served as the production setting for all voice and video recordings, all of which were made outdoors in the alpine region. Body and voice are seen as part of nature here, reacting to the weather and the topographical conditions. Reference is also made to the political and ideological appropriation of the landscape and the choir in the course of history, whereby the work does not merely take up this critical thread but rather reconceives landscape, choir, and space as a multidimensional fabric that is not there for the taking and belongs to no one.
IDEA + CONCEPT: Moritz Majce + Sandra Man
VOICE + MOVEMENT: Christine Börsch-Supan
OUTSIDE EYE: Katharina Wallisch
CURATOR: Nora Leitgeb
Wir bedanken uns bei Lakeside Labs GmbH für die großzügige Unterstützung bei den Videoaufnahmen mit einer Drohne und bei Franz Habich für die Steuerung, sowie bei der Agrargemeinschaft Nachbarschaft Söbriach für den freundlichen Zugang zu einer ihrer Almen.
Eröffnung: 7. September 2017, 18.30 Uhr
Kunstraum Lakeside • Lakeside B02 • 9020 Klagenfurt
www.lakeside-kunstraum.at • +43 463 22 88 22-20
WE ARE LOOKING FOR PEOPLE WITH MOVING/DANCING EXPERIENCE WHO LIKE TO WORK IN A GROUP.
Part 1: 8 + 9 July 2017, 16–20h Uferstudios (can be done separately)
Part 2: 10–14 days rehearsals in October 2017
Part 3: 4 presentations in early November 2017
We are working on a revised version of our piece „Narziss Echo“ (http://www.moritzmajcesandraman.com/narzissecho). The premiere was in March at imagetanz festival in Vienna and there will be presentations in the beginning of November in Berlin at Open Spaces festival of Tanzfabrik. For the performances in Berlin we will be reworking some parts and making new ones. While in the first version we have been working with a single dancer we now want to work with what we call a „space chorus“ of 12–15 people.
The project deals with the relation between audience and performer, engaging in questions of looking and identifying as performing (watching, being looked at, being/performing a spectator); it is an installational setting with a limited amount of audience members. We will play with the inside and the outside of the setting, using the whole space incl. the audience area as the stage and moving spectators only slowly from the frame and the outside into the inside and the seats of „their“ space.
First, there is a video shooting on 8th and 9th July, from 16–20h at Uferstudios. Second, there will be appr. 10–14 days of rehearsal in October. Third, there will be four shows in Berlin in the first November week. We cannot pay for the video shooting, for the presentations in October and November we do have a budget. For more information about our work see www.moritzmajcesandraman.com
If you are interested please send a mail incl. CV to firstname.lastname@example.org
Thursday, 29 June 2017, 20h30
Tuesday, 04 July 2017, 20h30
Wednesday, 05 July 2017, 20h30
Künstlerhaus, Am Flutgraben 3, 12435 Berlin
Between representation and participation lies the audience space. It is the space where a piece takes place. It is bigger and wider than we usually think and feel. It has more than one side, it is multidimensional. It is your body with all its weight and volume, with all its senses: listening, watching, feeling – in all directions.
Let’s try to see the Zuschauerraum, the space reserved for the audience, differently: not as the space where an audience is placed to watch the piece but as the space an audience is being given by a piece. Let’s understand and experience Zuschauerraum not just as a designated area in a building but as the space of a perceiving audience; a space that is not anyway there before and after the piece but a space that consists of Zuschauerkörper – perceiving living breathing feeling moving bodies full of energies, impulses, desires. Let’s think Zuschauerraum not as the seats you are taking but as the space your bodies are making. Let’s try out and explore this Zuschauerraum in present tense.
It’s common to expect and wish that performers move the audience. Let’s find out what it could be for performers to not only move the audience but be moved by it. Be moved by gazes, breaths, sounds, by the impulses and energy of an audience; by where the audience is and how it is. By an audience who is present, open, aware of all senses and thus transformed in a way that allows to fully explore all sensual dimensions of watching.
What would it need for that – as a training for performers as well as audience members?
Could there be a training that includes and involves an audience as well as performers? Is there a way to work on and explore the act of watching, the energy of perceiving as what moves the performers? What comes out if the performance becomes really dependent on the real presence of an audience? What happens if there is nothing else or behind this being perceived and being perceived becomes being moved?
During the last two months we trained a lot to be open and to use all our senses. We worked on looking, listening, feeling as relations to each other and a flow of contacts as reasons to move and be moved. We would like to find ways of sharing this openness with an audience who wants to become part of the contact zones we try to open up and dive in.
We propose three evenings of rehearsals with audience; we would like to find out more about the experience of being a Zuschauerkörper and about the ways our bodies can be moved by your presence.
Thursday, 29 June 2017, 20h30
Tuesday, 04 July 2017, 20h30
Wednesday, 05 July 2017, 20h30
Am Flutgraben 3
(next to Badeschiff, Arena and Club der Visionäre)
There will be a limited number of participants, please let us know if and when you come by sending an email to email@example.com.
Please be on time, the door downstairs is locked and will open only once at 20h30.
Dear 3AM friends,
We cordially invite you to 3AM – Filaments and Voids.
Let’s celebrate together the amazing space at Flutgraben, welcome artistic attractions and distractions, enjoy sound and silence, get together and share an evening of performances, concerts, films, dancing, food and drinks.
When: 4 June 2017, starting at 19.00h
Location: Am Flutgraben 3, 12435 Berlin
Philipp Enders and Adaline Anobile
Daniella Kaufman and Karoline Strys
Christian Kesten and choir
Moritz Majce + Sandra Man with Zoé Alibert, Katherine Gorsuch, Olivia Patrizia-Kunze, Sonia Noya, Fausta Scarangella, Sinja Völl
Nikolaus Neuser and Florian Juncker
Juliana Piquero, Maya Weinberg, Catalina Fernández, Manuela Schininá
Julia Reidy, Samuel Hall and Liz Kosack
Ilana Reynolds and Ira Hadžić
ATTENTION! The (orange) door of the main entrance will be open only 5 times for 10 minutes every time: at 19.00, 20.00, 21.00, 22.00 and 23.00h.
IMPORTANT! For the first time we will also come together before a 3AM to warm up: The participating artists will share with you their thoughts on what they are going to try out at the 3AM event. This get together is itself a tryout in getting in the mood for 3AM.
When: 1 June 2017, starting at 20.00h
Location: Public and Private Studio at Flutgraben, the door will open at 20.00h and 21.00h
3AM – Filaments and Voids is organised by Katharina Wallisch, Moritz Majce + Sandra Man.
Funded by Senat Department for Culture and Europe.
Supported by Flutgraben e.V. and Public in Private Studio.
As you know, 3AM is an independent event with a focus on giving value to experimentation and local collaboration. Our frame stays purposefully open to allow for any new forms to emerge. We’d like to offer possibilities for artists to make tryouts that could be useful for their artistic works, therefore we’d like to create an environment that welcomes doing, viewing and experiencing art in its on going creative process.
More about the 3AM background and idea you can find here: http://3am.events
Many thanks to all the participating artists!
Looking forward to dancing with you!
Narziss Echo works with micro movements in body and voice and lyrical text. Its substance and material are affects and relations: looking, listening, speaking. Almost in direct contrast to Festung / Europa (2015) where we used very heavy wall elements we work now with waves and impulses – light, sound, nerves; whereas in Festung / Europa a chorus of 28 people was literally carrying the piece it’s in Narziss Echo the single body, the single voice and their technical doubles and extensions who are performing; and while in Festung / Europa the audience was grouped and enclosed it is singularized and detached in Narziss Echo.
The fine and airy connections of gazes and spoken words and the exposure of single bodies make Narziss Echo a fragile piece. Its fragility lies in the very character of the material (micro movement, atmosphere of the voice, lyrical words), in the role of the audience (who is exposed and participating but not interacting), in the spatial and sensual separation of the two performers and in the relation to their respective technical doublings (the interplay of what is live and what is recorded/on video); all of these aspects, elements and strings together make the performance and whether or not all of them find and engage in the right rhythm is the challenge and the risk of the piece every time it is presented.
Narziss Echo is precarious and in an almost naïve manner does not protect itself; every little lapse (too slow, too fast relative to what is needed right here and now) in the performance, every technical sound or video problem, every movement and reaction by an audience member can derange it. – But: This risk, this radical unprotectedness and openness to contingency is the piece. It’s a piece that can easily break, fall apart, become vain: the moment when Narcissus recognizes himself in the mirror, the deadly catastrophe of mere superficiality and shallow looks-like-something-but-is-nothing belongs to the piece. It can happen that the piece falls into a vain abyss of identification and sameness. But it can also happen that it relates differently to this moment of narcissist disaster and allows to surf on the flat and slippery surface of the spring. In this piece it is not only the dancer who incorporates Narcissus and who can thus fail but everyone, including every single audience member, and everything, including technical stuff, contributes to and participates in the rhythm that is needed to create the right surface tension for drifting (this interplay of elements and in-betweenness of the performance is btw the reason why we call our pieces „space choreographies“). The spring in and of this piece is the rhythmical tension of gazes, movements, voice, words, the permeability of audience and performers, bodies and technical equipment. In this airy arrangement lies the danger to collapse into narcissist pretentiousness as well as the chance to experience narcotic intensity.