Monthly Archives: January 2020

Audience Voices on Chora


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

Niklaus Largier on Chora: Mesmerized


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

Chora: Note on Relating


Chora | Concrete Dancers | 2019

Poetics of space, not dramaturgy of actions

The space gives the movement, the movement unveils the space.

We are working on a different relation of time and space: different from installation in which space is exhibited and visitors move; different from performance in which time moves and spectators watch.

We are interested in how spaces, various spaces move bodies – performers’ bodies as well as visitors’ bodies. We take ”space” as relational sensorium in which bodies are being moved by being here – through affections, sensations, perceptions: listening, seeing, sensing, experiences of closeness and distance.

”Being moved” is taken in all senses: the physical and somatic movement of the body as well as the affective and reflective movement of the soul and the mind – feeling and thinking.

We are interested in how such a being moved by relations is given back to a space, allowing the space to appear: The space gives the movement, the movement unveils the space.

The main difference in this approach on the side of the performers and their training is that we work on perception and opening up the sensitive antennas of bodies, their awareness for affections, their becoming ”passible” (as a very active way of being passive). We do not work on shapes, we do not intentionally produce a recognisable, readable language of movement. And we also do not work against it, it simply is not our interest.

The main difference on the side of the visitors is that we do not offer any dramaturgy and thus no implied interpretation to be discovered. We do not work on the level of meaning, we do not aim for readable, understandable and recognisable connections; and also not for the opposite. We are trying to change the register. We do not take visitors as detectives who have to find out something, be that meaning, concept, task, score. We want to go before and beyond that and invite audience to let be, let appear what is already here.

Like a landscape the space will open up to the viewer but it is not made for them.

We encourage and invite performers as well as audience to let go of looking for, recognising and identifying relations and rather let them happen, contemplate space, be surprised. We encourage to stop searching for and to forget about missing something.

We understand our work as a space in which relations and connections are not already given, already produced and understood but as a space that opens up to relations – makes them become present, lets them become the space of presence. We do not (re)present relations, we are creating conditions in which they can appear.

The beauty is in the appearing of a relation, in its becoming present, its being born out of nothing and for nothing – again and again.

That is why we do not fill up nothingness. We let it be. Out of nothing and for nothing movement originates. A movement that serves nothing.

We name it ”poetics of space” to put the light on this coming into presence of any and every movement; and to differentiate it from shaping actions and connections that might be the essence of dramaturgy.

I could also say: We work on the conditions – time and space, sensing – and not on the content (or: we take the conditions as content).

This is the reason why movement is different in, of and for all the elements we work with: Movement in and of video images, movement in and of texts, movement in and of a live performance is different from each other because it happens in different spaces. The conditions of time and space are different in the various landscapes shown in video images, different in words and imagination, different in the live environment performers and visitors inhabit and pass through.

The main focus is not on the shape of the movement – the movements of the bodies do not exist independently from where they are, from which space moves the bodies. We try to stay as close as possible to sensed and perceived space and time as themselves moving conditions for movement: the where moves bodies and the bodies’ movement lets the where as where appear. The where drives us, motivates us, moves us – in every sense.

One of the ancient mythological names for a space in movement out of which movement emerges is ”chora”. It still today echoes in the word ”choreography”. Thus, we are working on the essence of choreography as being the art of moving and being moved by time and space.

Parataxis, not syntaxis

One can connect things having a goal, a finality, a unity in mind, aiming for it.

We are looking for ways of relating, connecting, that do not close on unity, finality but that are essentially open.

Ways of relating in which one goes to the other, lets go again, goes on etc. – thus creating an open string, open to infinity. No consecutiveness, no consequence, no progression. But moments of an infinite and and and, one next to the other, in various relations of distance and closeness, of density and looseness, of lightness and heaviness etc. We are interested in intensity and extensity.

A paratactic way of relating rather than a syntactic one, shifting the focus from causality and finality to musicality, to rhythm and infinity.

In paratactic strings difference, distance, separation, pauses – spaces in-between – are not the opposite of relating but the very space for relations. Relations do not fill the gaps, they need them, they come out of them – gaps and relations let each other appear.

This is also true about the relations between different elements and spaces we work with: We do not glue videos, live performance, objects, texts together, trying to bring them closer, thus forming a whole. Our work is not immersive. The ”being-in” we are creating is not total, it is not closed, it is an open whole, a lot of nothing.

The being-in consists of in-betweens, it is an interspace.

In an interspace some elements and spaces can be very closely connected, almost becoming the same; some can be very distant and far away, almost becoming unrelated.

We work with autonomy of different spaces and elements. The autonomy of an element (text, video, performance…) is the condition for relations to happen while at the same time its autonomy can only appear in and as relation to others.