Chora

Niklaus Largier on Chora: Mesmerized

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Chora | Open Spaces Festival, Tanzfabrik Berlin | 9.11.2019

Conceiving of ourselves as viewers at first, we often turn into participants. What seems to be observation and abstraction becomes absorption, immersion, experience in time. Reading turns into feelings of sweetness and bitterness; looking into taste, appetite and arousal; hearing into affective pleasure and melancholic longing; touch into an abyss of desire.

I am tempted to start with a simple scene. A multipurpose room with an old hardwood floor, once used as a gym, in what is probably an ex-GDR school building in Berlin, Pankow. Sitting on a chair, I am observing a group of dancers rehearsing, working towards a future performance. A choreography, Chora. The Earth is a foreign planet. Every day it shows a different face, produced by Moritz Majce and Sandra Man. Silence reigns, except for the faint hum of a freeway in the distance, and for irregular moments of sound produced by the steps of the dancers. From time to time hints of a minimalist soundscape float in the air, mostly rhythmical echoes that don’t distract from the bodies that move. This is all there is. Bodies that move, bodies in no explicit form of interaction, bodies in space and time. Bodies that give form to space and time; involving me, while I am sitting there: attracting the gaze, holding it, redirecting it, absorbing all the senses, affects, and thoughts into the new space and time that unfolds here. It is, we might say, nothing else than a landscape of figural effects and of movements; a landscape where sensation and imagination converge in blissful play; a landscape of beauty.

I think, surprisingly, of Hume’s skepticism and his happiness in scenes of eating and conversation—and of his melancholy that came about when he engaged in philosophical matters. Looking at the movements of the dancers unfold, I don’t think of concepts. Instead, thought itself turns into movements of perception and feeling; and, starting in a critically descriptive mode, I find myself a skeptic absorbed in a dream of sensation. Looking at the dancers, sensing the movements, I think of angels. Angels, each of them singular and not bound by the hierarchies of thought, engaging each other in a form of language unknown to us. Angels, as in the drawing of Paul Klee that Walter Benjamin loved, looking back towards the ruins of history and alluding to a language that restores what is lost. Angels, as in Rilke’s vision, terrifying in their beauty and always close, too close to us in their intimate movements and presence. Angels, also, deeply immersed in the broken world, carrying all its passions, its desires, its senses in their silent voice. In Wallace Steven’s words “the necessary angel of earth, / Since, in my sight, you see the earth again.”

Or, shifting to another image, I think of bodies, just resurrected from the womb of the earth, seeking the words and the language they don’t have, yet fully alive in this tentative world of moving encounters. Bodies, encompassing all, humans and animals, flowers and stones, rivers and landscapes; hierarchies lost in the flow of the forms.
What remains, in this state of a different time and perception, is the figural play of the bodies alone, a play that takes shape both outside of and in our souls, fully material and fully spiritual. It would be wrong to speak of depth here, of meaning, or of a world. All this, even the allegory of angels or of resurrected bodies that I am happy to produce, is being undone. It is being undone, time and again, and replaced by the pull of the movements, the series of impressions, the axes of gaze and sensation, their layerings and circulation, in short, by mesmerizing effects of figures and configurations—not figures of life, but of living in the blissful multitude and beauty of silent voices.


Watching the undoing of social, racial, and discursive subjugations in these movements I think, thanks to Rahma, also of Audre Lorde when I write this. Of her “Poetry Is Not a Luxury,” and of the sentence: “The white fathers told us, I think therefore I am; and the black mothers in each of us—the poet—whispers in our dreams, I feel therefore I can be free. Poetry coins the language to express and charter this revolutionary awareness and demand, the implementation of that freedom.” In that essay, she concludes: “For there are no new ideas. There are only new ways of making them felt, of examininng what our ideas really mean (feel like) on Sunday morning at 7 AM, after brunch, during wild love, making war, giving birth; while we suffer the old longings, battle the old warnings and fears of being silent and impotent and alone, while tasting our new possibilities and strengths.” This, the “tasting” of possibilities and strengths, in the undoing and remaking of figures, comes into view here—not in poetry this time, but in the silence of dance, nourished by the cosmic dreams it embodies in its figures and unfolds in the mesmerizing effects that so blissfully unsettle.

Niklaus Largier: Figures of Possibility, to be published in 2020

Video-Übertragung von »Chora (Satellite Views)« am 16.4.2020 auf WUK performing arts

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Chora | Stillshot vom Open Spaces Festival, Tanzfabrik Berlin, 2019

Von heute an hätten wir eine neue Live-Version unserer Arbeit Chora im WUK performing arts in Wien präsentiert. Aufgrund des Virus ist das jetzt nicht mehr möglich.

Stattdessen senden wir am Abend des 16.4.2020 um 20.30 Uhr MEZ ein Video auf der Seite von WUK performing arts, das auf der ersten Episode von Chora vom letzten November in Berlin basiert.

Anmeldung zum Facebook Event hier.

Zusätzlich veröffentlichen wir ein ganz besonderes Stück: die Textdokumentation von Chora der Autorin und Performerin Beatrix Joyce.

Publikumsstimmen zu Chora

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Chora | Concrete Runners | 2019

»Es ist ein wirklich einzigartiger Raum, den ihr geschaffen habt. Auf eine Weise unaufgeregt und tief berührend zugleich, die ich noch nie erlebt habe. Ich war sehr glücklich darin.«

Christine Börsch-Supan

»Dears Sandra and Moritz. I came to watch Chora and I found it very precious and deep. I loved how it is so connected with bodies, persons and relations but speaks to me at the same time about the world, the environment and human/nature. I loved the installation and the dance and how the two are interdependent. It opened new possibilities of imagination and I loved as a public member to be inside this game/performance/state of being.«

Elena Dragonetti

»Ich liebe den Raum, den ihr kreiert habt, die Filme, die Präsenz. Am Ende habe ich bemerkt, am besten ist es, wenn ich mich mitbewege und beeinflussen lasse von der Umgebung, dann ist jedes Teil ein Element vom Ganzen.«

Joséphine Evrard

»Thank you for the space you created with Chora. I was there on the last day for many hours, and I experienced a peace that I rarely feel within art. A lot of accepting, specific energy from the performers that was very unique and ego less. There was something very safe in the space and I am grateful to have been there and absorb and just be. I felt very connected to this work, and I am happy for experiencing it, visiting this poetic world.«

Anna Fitoussi

»Sorry for my thousands of likes but I am in love with your project Chora?
Thanks for sharing it at Tanzfabrik.«

Paola Fontana

»I was very moved and inspired by the work I saw from you and Sandra. There were so many layers of my self in context to your work that I had to transgress, but once I did, it was like a doorway to another world of feeling and sensation and new spaces and possible paths. I was very happy to have experienced it. And I really mean ‘experience’, because I think If I had just watched, I wouldn’t have understood all that the inside of that work was offering so generously and so efficiently. So thank you both again. I think my words aren’t doing my experience of it all justice.. but I just wanted to express how happy was to have been there and to have stayed. Thank you«

Jared Gradinger

»I wanted to say thank you !
I really enjoyed your work, enjoyed entering this whole world of Chora. It felt like something very special to come on a Saturday morning after breakfast and being able to take part for some moment. This world you created felt very open, opening up, transparent, inviting, stimulating, as if answering open questions somehow. Always something subtle changing and giving a new impulse, a new tempo, some new information: let it be your movement, some change of bodies in space, the connection in between, all platforms, the videos changing, the light, the doors opening, fresh air, new colors, new visitors.. I enjoyed it all.«

Friederike Heine

»Ich wollte euch sagen, dass mir die Performance unglaublich gut gefallen und mich sehr berührt hat und ich froh bin, den Tag miterlebt zu haben!«

Lara Lehnert

»I came in without knowing and expecting what to happen, not even much about the program of Tanzfabrik. I walked in, stood in the space to experience what is happening, then visiting the space to see what is there; the screen, the poem, the landscape (video and reality), the materials, the people/ performers… it seemed to me that the setting was participatory since we, the audience, are not assigned any specific way of being in the space (apart from some pillows on the brown square blocks). Then I asked myself how much I am also creating the landscape and how much I can be involved. Then I see the poem about cells, eyes, skin, and I embodied them in a way that I am part of the everything, like an animal walked into the human made nature. It took some time to settle, text the boundaries, and not to disturb the space and the habitants, and it was a meeting to the existing things in the space, and I feel happy to be noticed that I am there but not overly taken care, it gives me space to keep regenerating my senses and thoughts. Sliding was fun, meeting through clashing softly and meeting bodies, being in the space with others, thanks for allowing.

I enjoyed the screen was placed outside the studio. Seeing the reflection of people dancing on the window with the poem together have brought me a special way of seeing the space. Thank you once again for the creation.«

Cary Shiu

Chora – 5.-9. November 2019 @ Open Spaces Festival, Tanzfabrik Berlin

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Chora, © Moritz Majce + Sandra Man, 2019

CHORA
Raumchoreographie

Die Erde ist ein fremder Planet. Jeden Tag zeigt sie ein anderes Gesicht.

5.– 9. November 2019
Open Spaces Festival, Tanzfabrik Berlin, Uferstraße 23, D-13357 Berlin

Kein Stück, keine Premiere, kein fixer Rahmen: Chora ist jeden Tag anders. Es wächst mit der Zeit, bis zu 16 Stunden am letzten Tag. In verschiedenen Medien, Konstellationen und Rhythmen erscheinen 12 Performer*innen: entrückt in der Technonatur, verschmolzen in terrestrischen Fantasien und auf Objekten als prekärem Untergrund. Wie bewegen wir uns in einem instabilen Raum von immer längerer Dauer? Wie schauen wir zu? Chora ist eine Raumchoreographie, eine flüssige Umgebung aus Objekten, Performer* innen, Bildern, Texten, Klang und Besucher*innen.

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Chora, © Moritz Majce + Sandra Man, 2019

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Chora, © Moritz Majce + Sandra Man, 2019

Di 5.11. | 19:00 | DAVOR – Eine Natur kommt zurück. | Audio-Video-Installation

Mi 6.11. | 18:00-20:00 | ANFANG – Choros ist eine Lebensform, Chora sein Lebensraum. | Ongoing Live Installation

Do 7.11. | 17:00-21:00 | MOMENT – Der Moment ist ein lebendiger Keim. | Einzelbesuche

Fr 8.11. | 15:00-23:00 | GESCHICHTE Während wir still kreisen. | Film + Text Screening

Sa 9.11. | 09:00-01:00 | WERDEN – Die Zeit ist ein unbekanntes Gebiet. | Ongoing Live Environment

6.11.19 | 20:15 | Artist Talk mit Marie-Luise Angerer (Uni Potsdam), Bernd Bösel (Uni Potsdam), Moritz Majce, Sandra Man und den Performer*innen. Moderiert von Jacopo Lanteri (Kurator Tanzfabrik Berlin).

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Chora, © Moritz Majce + Sandra Man, 2019

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Chora, © Moritz Majce + Sandra Man, 2019

IDEE, RAUMCHOREOGRAPHIE, VIDEOS: Moritz Majce + Sandra Man OBJEKTE: Moritz Majce TEXTE: Sandra Man PERFORMANCE: Zoé Alibert, Eli Cohen, Judith Förster, Charlie Fouchier, Assi Pakkanen, Florencia Martina, Gian Mellone, Sonia Noya, Stephan B. Quinci, Laura Siegmund, Maya Weinberg, Natalia Wilk STIMME: Frank Willens PRODUKTION: Patricia Oldenhave ENGLISCHE ÜBERSETZUNG: Anna Galt STIMMAUFNAHMEN: Fernand Kenzler

Eine Produktion von Moritz Majce + Sandra Man, gefördert von Hauptstadtkulturfonds und Wien Kultur. Koproduktion: Tanzfabrik Berlin, WUK Wien.

Tanzfabrik Berlin • Uferstraße 23 • 13357 Berlin
Eintritt: € 15 • Tanzfabrik Berlin

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Working on Chora

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Bergheider See, June 2019

The relation of time and space is central to Chora. How does a space move us and how does it change when we move (in) it?

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Bergheider See, June 2019

In Chora we continue working outdoors. Mountains and dunes have been our rehearsal spaces and video spots for the last years. Since Choros and even more so in Chora we are intrigued by technologically transformed environments; abandoned areas in which nature is coming back; artificial lakes waiting for the first creatures to come alive.

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Prenzlauer Promenade, May 2019

A landmark is with us in Chora, an object, a mobile piece of earth. It is called ekkyklema, in reference to an ancient Greek theatre device, a mobile platform which was used to present happenings from the invisible inside of the stage house (the skene) to the outside.

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Wölla, July 2019

The ancient Greek name chora is known to us through Plato’s dialogue Timaeus. Chora is the name of a receptive space in constant movement giving space to movement. It is a mythological concept – dating from before classical Greek philosophy and also from before classical Greek theatre –, storing archaic ritualistic dimensions. In Plato’s Timaeus chora is the space of movement as such that lets everything else – the elements and their movements – emerge; it does so by not having any shape itself and by being permanently moving. In Timaeus it is said that chora is a space which is never still and never in balance: it is shaking, trembling. Timaeus also links this mythological precosmic shaking of chora to the human body and its desire to move – in order to keep the elements in healthy relations.

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Wölla, July 2019

Through the ancient name chora the contemporary perception of space in motion, of a world and a planet in fundamental transformation is linked to the peripheries – pre-philosophy, pre-theatre –, to the deep times of Western thought and art. Chora, the name, is a channel to the ancient, the mythological and even archaic and to their symbolic and affective potentials. In a strange way it seems right and coherent that today in the most futuristic conceptions of space the most archaic image of transformation reappears. The most natural and the most artificial meet at the same time, disturbingly and convincingly in many of the most contemporary places on our planet.

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Prenzlauer Promenade, May 2019

We dedicate Chora to questions and experiences of time and space. We understand it as a process of growth that will continue and last into its time of being publicly presented. We will grow into publication, through it and out of it. We expose ourselves to a time – the growing – that is usually over when a work is presented, when it is finished. In Chora we set a frame that allows us to stay open to time, to be affected by time, to let time come to us.

Videos / pictures with Zoé Alibert, Charlie Fouchier, Judith Förster, Micaela Kühn Jara, Julia B. Laperrière, Sonia Noya, Assi Pakkanen, Katharina Wallisch

Call for Choreutic Movers (Dancers and Performers) 2019 OVER

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Chora, model view

For their new space choreography Chora Moritz Majce and Sandra Man are looking for choreutic movers. The essence of Chora will be a chorus in a growing landscape on mobile grounds. Expanding over one week in November 2019 as part of Open Spaces Festival of Tanzfabrik Berlin Chora will be dealing with expansion and excess – diving into pleasures of becoming and facing threats of too much.

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Choros VI, District, Berlin, 2018

In Chora Sandra and Moritz continue their work on space choreography and landscape, consisting of movement, objects, videos, spoken words and sound (see their recent work Choros VI), on the chorus as a life form of somatic and spatial relations and technonature as our current biosphere.

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Choros V, WUK performing arts, Vienna, 2018

They are looking for professional dancers and performers with strong interest in precise group work and intense choral practices, joy in relating to others, becoming and incorporating a collective organism by investing their strong individual presence.

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Choros I, Uferstudios, Berlin, 2016

They will give a workshop in April in Berlin.

After a tryout block in May and two video shootings in May and September main production time is from mid September until the last performance on Nov 9th.

Moritz and Sandra are looking forward to read from you on:

ms@moritzmajcesandraman.com