Ohne Worte

"The pleasure of the text is the moment, when my body is following its own ideas - as my body doesn’t have the same ideas than myself.(...) The pleasure of the text wouldn’t be reducible to its grammatical functions, as the pleasure of the body isn’t reducible to its physiological needs." (Roland Barthes)

Ohne Worte (Praticable) investigates the comical act through a physical approach, that means through body practice, movement and dance. It adresses the comical body as a body of excess, a body that slips out of control because of the misbalance of its functions. This "body without words" is theatricalised, flirting with expressionism and the clowning tradition, displaying a virtuosity that allows the performer’s slip-ups to be looked at, laughed with. Referring to traditional theatrical figures, such as the ones from silent movies, pantomimes, fairy tales, ghostly appereances, Ohne Worte (Praticable) displays a multiplicity of bodies within one, proposing a fluid, manifold identity, un-covering other, invisible bodies.

While insisting on repetitions, movement loops and delays of meaning, the performance focuses on physicality as a way to avoid emotional and strategical relations to representation, to take leave of existing images or pre-conceived representations of comical bodies. This anatomic approach allows the performer to escape recognizable shapes or movement patterns, searching for places where the clownesque and humor appear, where surprise is triggered. Ohne Worte (Praticable) unfolds from physicality to sensation, condition and emotion. It doesn’t imply any psychological motivation, but produces emotional reactions, allowing the viewer for a bodily, active, imaginative response, rather than delivering meaningful imagery.

In a formal sense the piece is concerned with the extreme accumulation of movement, questioning contemporary entertainment as the spectacle of endless production.The exposure of the movement material and its development underlines which tools a performer has to own in order to entertain. It also questions the theatre machinery as designed to fulfill the spectators’ request to be entertained and to be overwhelmed by the enthralling failure of the virtuoso. While exploring, producing and presenting its own tools, Ohne Worte (Praticable) is meditating on the political vulnerability of the theatre, one which always has to entertain.

Ohne Worte (Praticable) proposes a specific view on the texture of a theatre act: the audience is witnessing the subtle theatrical transformation of the space and of the performer. The space is starting to resound towards the spectator and the performer. The performer is dealing with her acoustic, resonant body in a very similar way, creating enigmatic, inner landscapes. The musical score of the piece in relation with the dancer’s organic sounds produce a siren-call that challenges the spectator to respond without allowing her/himself to be possessed.

concept and choreography: isabelle schad

lights: bruno pocheron

sound: hanna hedman, bruno pocheron, isabelle schad

dramaturgical advice: sasa bozic

artistic assistance: alice chauchat, hanna hedman, bruno pocheron

music: alfredo catalani, la wally.

clothes: jaap

exchanges with / thanx to: laurent goldring, frederic gies, sybille müller

production management: susanne beyer

production: good work productions / isabelle schad

supported by: espace pier paolo pasolini valenciennes, hau 1-3 berlin, hauptstadtkulturfonds berlin, mimecentrum berlin, pact-zollverein essen, tanzfabrik berlin.


conversation between Isabelle Schad and Sasa Bozic, March, 23, 2008, Essen

S.B.
I would like you to explain me how you decided to make a piece concerned with producing a lot.
How did you come to that formal approach and what does an extreme accumulation of movement mean to you?

I.S.
It partly had to do with the project Praticable, where we were dealing with the approach of practicing together and making these explorations and our body practices be a common ground from which we would develop different pieces.
As we were working a lot on the different systems of the body, I was becoming curious about the endocrine system, because it was the system I knew the less about. What the work on it does to me and how it affects my body. Stimulating different glands I observed what kind of movements could be produced, what kind of postures - related to characters - and what kind of energetic bodies, body states, feelings and sensations. More sensations than feelings actually.
This was one track.

On the other hand, in my last dance pieces I have been exploring the creation of spaces for imagination in the theatre. The theatre as a space for the spectator to travel through his personal experiences, to connect to his own emotions, life stories... to have quite a lot of room for him/-herself.
I worked on it to a large extent by reducing movements, by slowing them down and by going more and more towards inner movements and a sort of composition between lights, sound, sometimes text and body work. Often I put the body into situations. Those situations did not bring the body into movement in the space.

I kind of found out how to do that and I have been working with certain tools, producing this space and time where the spectator has place for himself.
And i was curious how I could do the same thing - same phenomena - with a lot of movement, also travelling in the space, going back in a way to dancing, but not in a way how I was used to do it before, using contemporary dance techniques that I learned etc..., but by finding a different and new approach to the dancing body on stage, which for me was - for a long time - a more or less tabu issue to present or deal with.
Or more or less ... something that I didnt want to use in this sense any more. Because of my strong movement against style and form.... and against a way of producing dance pieces I have been - since a long time - not interested any more.

S.B.
If this is not widening our conversation too much, I would like to share some of my thoughts with you also... but....I would like you to tell me shortly how did you come to the idea that an imagination travel or a path of imagination for the spectator, is being stimulated through a decay of movement. And what do you think the procedure concerned with a lot of movements is producing? So tell me a litlle bit about your own exploration on bodies that are moving or not moving? What were your observations?

I.S.
For me the reduction of - from the outside - visible movements, doesn’t mean that the body isn’t moving. I was working a lot with inner movements to create a different body sensation and to sense something... to experience something that you can share with the spectator, so it is not a stillness of the body. For me reducing movement had a lot to do with the way I m dealing with time, altering our habits of perceiving time and space as well,... so I have been very much busy with perceptions.... and... the emphasis of your question was on imagination?.... what was the emphasis of your question?

S.B.
Movement production. In a sense that one way is to reduce the movement, the other way is to produce lots of movements, but what is the movement producing? In reduction or in .... accumulation of the movements?

I.S.
That’s also what I m trying to figure out myself now... in this project, ... and it has to do with the theme of each respective project, but in general, I think it has a lot to do with creating a state or something, that is maybe close to trance or hypnosis in some moments. Something that has to do with energies, with repetitions and loopings, that are altered, that deal with transformation, and with a different way of dealing with time - in the sense of - again stretching it,... but this time it is full.... and again it needs duration.

S.B.
You are right. I experienced that also, by watching the rehearsals .... what you are saying, ...but then we come back to the question - again - what the movement is producing? In the sense of the meaning. Everything that you have been saying is dealing a lot with perceptions. Altering the time perception, altering the space perception, sensations, affects, emotions, affectivity etc. But what is going on with the production of meaning?
Are you interested in that and how are you interested in that?
And how do you think you are controlling that part of : your body is producing a lot or producing less is also producing a meaning, a conceptual, rationalized meaning, a message....in the sense of communicating a message.

I.S.
In the sense of communication. This is the complex part of this piece I think.
What I want to do is: I m offering a projection surface together with the space, which is the theatre. I m going through different theatrical figures, touching them, I think they transform, they are slippery, not easy to grab, but in a first place I m dressed myself as a character, as a figure.
Which is maybe vaguely between a phantom of the Opera and a fairytale figure, or a figure that can become kind of monstruous, ...something in between that I personally like to call it other bodies, which.... I can’t - and don’t want to - nail down with words...., but which is some kind of under-represented otherness in me.... and as I don’t want to talk about myself and my other bodies, but about other bodies in general, I would rather talk about myself offering a projection platform.

S.B.
I think it is very nice that we start to talk more into this direction, because it can help you to clarify your position as an author actually and how you can become aware of the ways of controlling that position, of sending some information from your perspective.
What you said is very nice and I will try to repeat to see if I understood it.... in this piece it is really not about you, and your other bodies, but you are coming in some sort of world of ideas and ... because what you have been saying were the metaphers or certain figures, that belong more into the world of philosphy or the world of ideas.... so I m not talking about myself - not talking about my experience, my subjectivity, of the duality of my subjectivity, of the other bodies inside of me, but what I m trying to catch is some kind of otherness of the bodies. So we are talking more in general aspects here, and because of the general aspects and the world of ideas that you are touching we are actually going into the field of philosophy...... some sort of your own. Or unique, personal.... that’s philosophy.

I.S.
I really try myself to understand still the connection I made with Roland Barthes’ Le plaisir du text.
For myself there is a strong connection,.... as I was reading the text.... in terms of the texture it produces.
I think I m also trying to produce some sort of texture. A texture that allows the spectator, the viewer - maybe - a similar travel to what I have been wanting to produce when I reduced the outer movement. Some sort of texture that needs rupture, that needs interruptions, that produces a joyful sensation in digging into and creating something in the space, that opens for another space, that allows for personal experiences. Or what I like to define sometimes as unconscious trip.

S.B.
I agree with you that it is not only working for you but it is also working for the spectator on the same level, that this texturality of the performance is coming also into me, so I can be lost in it, I can be overwhelmed by it. It kind of passes through me. I m overwhelmed by this texturality and the pleasureness allowing me the gaps, the ruptures as you said and the breaks where I can stop - sometimes think - have some kind of rational meaning coming in, communicate some message, but again allow myself to be lost - just to be lost in a space - in my own mind space - that is created by the impulses coming from the space or from your body.

This is on one level, but I will go one step back, in the sense, it’s actually a very nice procedure in perceiving the piece that you are proposing, but how was that idea influencing the work on the material, or did the work on the material - the body work actually - in one moment tell you: ah, it is producing this and this...
Did you start with this concept or...?

I.S.
It was an allez - retour, the body practice was the starting point to approach representation - as this is one of the principles of how we procede in Praticable. Then I have been finding out through the work on the endocrine system, that these figures, comical bodies etc would appear.
Then once you try to define the idea and to go towards: what is the representation you are dealing with and what do you want to talk about? ...then for me it was a trip of allez- retour, constantly.
I m dealing with the comical body - to define what kind of comical bodies are also talking about otherness and have been quite strongly political or.... critical towards society, for example in Tati’s movies - or also Peter Sellers in The Party is totally representing the other body or the one which is falling out of normality, even though all the other guys at The Party are not behaving so normal neither. But he is sticking out.
So there was an interest on the comical body on the one hand, which kind of went parallel with my interest in the texturality - and that’s where Roland Barthes was some kind of inspiration source, when I was reading the book The Pleasure of the Text, and I was analizing how he produces this texturality and pleasure reading the text whereas he is in the same time talking about the tools he uses, the interruptions, repetitions...

S.B.
That’s also one of the characteristics of this.... your work.... I think.
I.S.
.....what I would like to...
S.B.
No, I m perceiving it and it’s there. And because it is there, I would like you to specify a little bit more.... not the production of pleasure, but the texturality and pleasure by itself which is inside, to explain a little bit more about the investigation on comical bodies, connected to the political aspects, as you keep repeating this connection... not just in the show, but in a more general way...What kind of political awareness is embodied in the comical body?
And how did you get to that?

I.S.
For me the comical figure is always somehow.... in a protest position, ...to be in a revolte or in the role of shaking something.
Bringing through the figure of the joker awareness towards something.
Already in Middle Age the joker - or better the buffo? at the court has been the one who had the allowance to talk about certain political issues that otherwise have been completely tabu. So the figure dresses you and protects you also ...dresses you up to have the allowance to talk about certain kind of political awarenesses or awareness towards society where you can bring in political messages...

S.B.
The medieval jokers, Till Eulenspiegel,... all these comical characters, figures, have been allowed to say the truth, to speak more openly, because they couldn’t actually do anything. And that’s why.... they have been outsiders. They have been - not even talking about the power of the king - they didn’t even have the power that the common people had. They were completely unprivileged. And because they couldn’t change anything, they were allowed to say the truth.

I.S.
Yes and then we come back to the role of the comical figure as an entertainer. This figure was there to tell the truth and actually to entertain all the other guys. This is how it happens in comedies or in movie comedies as well. That this sticking out figure is actually quite a sympathetic and entertaining person and without that figure there wouldn’t be funny, spectacular things happening, things that are going wrong and that give reason of laughter, ....so in a very naive way one could say this sticking out person is producing entertainment.

S.B.
How do you connect that with the role that you are producing in the piece?

I.S.
I think the piece is talking a lot about entertainment. About how much you actually need to produce to be on a level of....
Everything is known already. It is very hard to make people laugh ... specially with handcraft means... that is not spectacular, but that is actually still entertaining a public.
The simple fact that through the media, television or even in big kind of theatre productions so much has been done already.... What can be still shocking, what can be still big, comical ..... and why are people laughing at all, what does make it funny? Usually people laugh when something failes, when you are not managing to do something, but you are constantly trying, some sort of slippages and failures. This makes eventually people laugh. Quite cruel, no?
In my piece the point I wanna make is not about making people laugh. It is more about dealing with the figure itself. What is inside such a figure and what are the other layers of emotions underneath, that are covered up? What is really getting revealed and what can be recognized by the spectator as something known? How is it touching memories?

S.B.
So what you are actually interested in is with which tools someone is operating to produce entertainment.
So you are more interested in that than in actually producing entertainment.

I.S.
Yes. And for the laughing it is the same thing. With which tools I could make someone laugh, in connection with the space and the lights and so...
But then it is not about reaching that point where people gonna laugh. These observations and the timing of it - it is a lot about the timing - about how surprise gets triggered but also how I am able to produce that surprise in myself still - even so I know already that i gonna deal with this surprise.
So it is difficult. And I think the field of comedy - as well in film - is supposed to be one of the more difficult, because it goes so much into perfectionism, actually. And here we go back to the entertainer. How much do you need to work on being actually then a good entertainer where people finally laugh or finally gonna be satisfied, which is a cruel system in itself. Which is not something I wanna pinpoint neither or put a message on top or complain about it or...
It’s more the observations and these observations I kind of share in that time and space with the spectator without that they have to discover that I have been working on entertainment. They don’t have to discover. I want them to have a journey.

S.B.
That you have been exploring the tools that the comical figure or comedian has to have inside of himself to actually entertain. And by presenting and sharing and investigating those tools, the piece has to be political, without actually.....

I.S.
without having a political message.

S.B.
...but just by observing the tools someone has to own in order to entertain someone else. It very much develops Brecht’s idea of a theatre or political theatre, which is never imposing a message but is actually just observing and showing the tools of politics. It is not putting an emphasis on certain political issues. It is just offering the tools for understanding ... how something operates. How something demonstrates, how something has been created.

I.S.
What is this place of imagination in this piece that you think I can create? As I m showing so much, of course one could argue there is less space for imagination. But as I m working on this texturality, which could produce this open space we have been talking about, ....but where does it bring people? I m curious to know, ....where do they travel. What is this place or space of imagination?

S.B.
Imagination... it is a hard question, because imagination is always personal. And with this piece: it is about producing a lot of movement, opposed to producing a lot of meaning, which is a double thing. My imagination is triggered with specific texturality that comes from the internal body rhythms. There is an enormous amount of material, gestures, movements, but which are repetitive, they are altering and developing slowly. In those alterings I find gaps, ... and time is changing. My imagination starts to work by this accumulations of movement in opposition to decay of meaning-production. it is a trance kind of state, where I am moving through your body in order to find something else. It is also about reaching to yourself, your own loneliness ... and about finding your position.

I.S.
So, it is a lot about feelings and sensations. And kinesthetic transference?

S.B.
Yeah, and there are strongly emphasized signs, clear semiosis and communication of those signs, which are kind of coming afterwards - after we experienced the sensations.The spectator is sent on a travel,... almost for losing himself inside of you, inside of your body. Because your body is not treated as a projection surface, but as a certain space...

I.S.
It is a shared space into which you can be lifted ?

S.B.
It is not a projection surface as you have mentioned before, because I do not project certain clear signs of an identity into you. I feel it as a space that I can come to and find another space inside.

I.S.
It brings me back to another idea : of considering the theatrical space in the very same way as my body.

S.B.
Especially with the treatment of the sound and lights in connection to the rhythms of the body. It is really bringing me back to the conclusion of the theatralisation of the body.

I.S.
Which brings me to the idea of the outside and inside projections. The space is resonating and bringing sounds towards the spectator and towards me and I am dealing with my acoustic, resonating body in a very similar way. So, the treatment could be parallel, or juxtaposed, or working togheter, or against...

S.B.
I think it is breathing. Juxtaposing, or going together...then we are in the terms of procedures. But, the breathing space transcendents all of those procedures inside itself. The space is very much active

I.S.
It is alive.

S.B.
Yeah, it is alive, so inside of itself there are all those procedures. For me the space is also like a body, or a ghost...

I.S.
But some of the spectators will ask me : What is this show about? There is a potentiality inside of it, but...? How shall I understand it. Can you guide me through?

S.B.
It is hard to talk in the terms of clear answers about this show. We can say that it is an exploration of the tools of theatre to entertain. By exploring, producing and presenting those tools, it is meditating the political vulnerability of the theatre, which always has to entertain. Not exposing, or judging the entertainment as part of the theatre, but by opening and representing those procedures talking about an urge of entertaining as one of its basics. Talking about Ohne Worte we should consider that what the show is producing and what it transcendents - overpowers the question what it is about.

I.S.
It is important to know what is the piece about, because this piece is not about a production of pleasure, it is not about production of comical bodies neither. You always want to summerise the piece, to clarify it for yourself. And when I try to do it, this seems to narrow down things I am dealing with or it becomes simplified or even a simplistic version of it.
S.B.
I am questioning your wish to write a text what this show is about.

I.S.
Because it is what you are asked to do, thinking of advertising, p.r, etc.

S.B.
Then I would say that it is about exploring the tools that the medium of theatre has to fulfill in order to entertain. But, this will not sell the show.


2. PART

S.B.
There is a substantial amount of texts written about comedy, comical theater, the politics of comedy, but rarely one can find a text about physiology of a comical body.

I.S.
The clowns must have had the same approach. A physiological one. I know from colleagues who had workshops with clowns, which were explaining how laughter gets produced from and within the body. The small intestine and the lower brain are the places where laughter gets produced. And the rythm of it is going in opposite direction to the rythm of crying... but there would be much more to say of course...

In my piece, I was not working on studying the images of comical bodies, Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin, Peter Sellers etc to represent or to approach the comical body. That’s why it is more slippery and not possible to nail down: this is Buster Keaton, or this is Charlie Chaplin: As I used the opposite approach from the physicailty towards the representation, I think there is a certain quality appearing - which comes from the that body approach : that the produced images are very embodied. Because it is coming from my body, from really precise work where in my body I initiate the movement, it is very deep in a way.

S.B.
And in relation with the title?

I.S.
The title came to my mind in the beginning of the process. I was thinking of laughter, comical aspects and imagery... Ohne Worte is used as a title in German culture for short stories, comics, images - or one image - for which you do not need texts. They are self explainable. The story is understandable through the images, and then the title Ohne Worte is put next to it. I liked it. I was not sure in the beginning if I will use any language or words, and if that has any meaning for me. I kept it open. even if I use some words, I wanted the piece to be self-explainable, that it does not need the words to explain it. So I do not necessarily want audience to read a program text in advance. I want them to experience it first. It should have had an aspect of being self-explainable. Ohne Worte is the title that is usually used for images that are comical, so it relates to a comical aspect. It was fitting very well. People were commenting that it refers on the practice coming from the fine arts; there is this relation towards product, on several products you can apply the same title. Untitled, or Ohne Titel, it is common in visual arts, music and Ohne Worte is used for this genre of images that doesn’t have to be explained, so I liked this serial aspect of the thing as well. I am already planing to do other Ohne Worte: Ohne Worte-the comic, together with Laurent Goldring, Ohne Worte-the group. It should be similar to the title.

S.B.
How do you relate the title to the usage of sound in the space?

I.S.
You talked to me the other day that it is Ohne Worte with sound, I thought of it months ago. Ohne Worte mit Ton.

S.B.
It is a good idea to apply subtitles for your Ohne Worte series.

I.S.
The sound was an important exploration tool for me. To get to the specific energetic centers, the glands, which are related with the chakras... to stimulate them, I needed to make an exploration of the sound, to sound inside glands or organs, to produce different kind of sounds in different parts of my body. They sound very, very different, all of them. I discovered for example that I can produce very high sounds inside of my head glands. Sounding from these glands was a huge discovery for me, because I could not sound or sing high pitch beforehand. I had a very reduced range in which I was comfortable with my voice, like one or two octaves. This discovery that the sound can be activated in the same way as movement, that it can be stimulated, initiated from the specific parts of my body, was new to me, and fun. An undiscovered field. It is a nice feeling to go to unknown territories.

S.B.
Some of the parts of the piece are organised, are related to the motives coming from opera. There are evoking certain kind of melancholy. For me, opera is the oldest form of conventional theatre. A rather lazy form, really dead in a sense that nothing has changed. It looks rather preserved. In one scene you are playing with the form of a concert, also. It relates to the usage of partiture, aluding to the forms inside of a form. For me this usage of partiture goes from a certain syrene-role you are playing with. The spectator is challenged to understand your sounds, your singing, to respond to it in a very bodily, active way. But, putting themselves in a role of a conventional spectator, I feel myself as Odyssee, wanting to hear it, wanting to posses it, but not allowing myself to be possesed by it. There is an obvious irony of the spectator position, also. How do you reflect on that?

I.S.
Watching some videos of rehearsals, I came to the conclusion that the sound production in the show is equal to the movement production. When I practice one of the sequences: the Leaf, the breathing in it became very imporant. There are other scenes where I use the steps. Steps, rythms and sounds started to become very important in how that sound helped to construct the scenes. It is the way how the space is being organised through me.
This is rather different than the real sound production in the musical part of the show, where there are singing and monstruos sounds coming form and out of my body.
I found that the monstruos, other, comical sounds inside of me, very much related to how I treat my body in the sense of movement.
Treating the body as my body sounds helped me to produce the catalogue of characters or figurs as well as animals, dogs, monsters. So many different sounds made me laugh or relate to comics, cartoons, where the sound work is completely exaggerated. Dealing with this aspect of actual crazyness - a whole zoo being there inside of me led me to the huge fight of all these characters fighting inside of me, like monsters eating the dog, and dog wanting to get out of me all this imagination I could produce inside of me in this crazy final scene.

S.B.
The process of structuring the piece is rather complicated, because in the same time it is a performance but also the presentation of an certain exploration and body procedure.

I.S.
Ideally, the structure could follow classical drama, there is an opening scene, development, intermission, dramatic hints where the whole thing could lead.
S.B.
In the theory of 19. century french theatre existed a term called: well structured piece. It had to have 5 acts, clear motives and development of those motives. The piece is for certain evoking a thetricality that.....

I.S.
It is referring to silent movies, pantomimes, fairy tales, ghost sort of appearances, certain operas or ballets. I am referring to traditional figures.

S.B.
Why are you not referring to more contemporary forms. Are you pointing out that there are no sufficient contemporary forms of entertainment, or?

I.S.
i am not referring to reality shows, for example. I am not sure how many people are entertained by it. I do not want to deal with it. It is pretty much manipulative, oppressing, pushing people to go for some very humiliating acts, it is rather terrifying.

S.B.
I also find it terrifying. Entertainment industry today goes for the idea of cruelity as fun. The reality shows are looking like some sort of arena where globally we watch oppressed people fighting with each other. How come there is less and less entertainment shows which are healing in a way. And in this piece you are playing with the certain old forms, but not aiming for their return. If we watch Buster Keaton or Charlie Chaplin, of course there is cruelty in those forms also...

I.S.
...but, it is presented in a very human way. They were passing through the steps themselves: being the hero, losing it, beeing humiliated. They were not using other people. There is also another usage of spectatorship, there is no people applauding, giving points etc, like in reality show.

S.B.
It is maybe about losing criticism.

I.S.
Criticism is a good point. I adore Tatis movies, because you do not have criticism put in the first plane. His movies are extremely well composed and choreographed. There is also an amazing inside - outside work and a work on the sound. The whole meaning gets constructed in its critical sense, he is really observing the reality in a detailed way. After watching his movies I found myself observing reality and this very funny way of being that is all around and beetwen us. The architecture of how we are walking in the streets and how we are dealing with objects and how through our own perception of the space we are self-organising and choreographing ourselves through life. I think he made an amazing job in observation and these observations bring people towards being critical. Focusing on details and being aware what is happening around you, you already have a starting point to be critical towards certain observations that you are not agreeing with.

S.B.
We can say that it is a basic point of a good entertainment: this mixture of criticism and the production of an unconscious, that it is so creative and overwhelming.

I.S.
Even my outfit is referring to something that is old. I am wearing a mask, referring to pantomime, but it is blue, I am not wearing street shoes, i am not wearing private clothes, not dealing with the everyday objects. I was watching the Ministry of silly walks by Monty Python: they are shooting in the office, wearing street clothes, so they are placing themselves in the reality. I am placing myself in the theatre and in an - almost - nonplace.

S.B.
It is a very much operating procedure, an usage of a stage as a world of itself, not really in the representation of the outside world. I can relate to that world, but it is not mine for sure. But it has its own atmosphere, structure....

I.S.
it is very much invented. like a universe sort of thing.

S.B.
But it consits of one person, soundspeakers and a curtain... I wanted to ask you about the usage of colour? Thinking about usage of colour, I meditate on the meaning of the word persona. It comes from the ancient Greeks word: per sonno, which means to have, to posses a voice. Which refers to the Ohne Worte title. The ancient Greeks thought that any person, who posses a voice had a personality. Had an ability to express, to say things. Which brought me to the origin of the word personification, which comes from the way how the Greeks resolved a mistery of an animal, which poses per sonno, a voice, but it is not a personality. That was a voice of god, talking to the creatures of nature....How did the colour help you to create another persona, and how do you name it?

I.S.
I wanted to have a distance to myself, to have another colour, another skin, everything that is visible of my skin is coloured, so I have some sort of a costume.
One day Bruno brought this blue colour and we started to try out.... we have been watching the colours for a little while, what colours I am existing in, and what would be the colours of the comical figures, and the ones from cartoons. I have this brownish hair colour, so the brown pants where fitting good with the blue, so we were slowly coming to the decision that this invented figure should be bi-coloured: only the brown trousers matching with my hair, and the blue. It was the whole construction of the costume, which I m doing really, really, rarely. I usually grab something that is around, or I find it sort of, and if it feels good to me, I use it. The costume idea was little bit scary to me, I have to say.

S.B.
Because it ressembles the theatre, or?

I.S.
No, no. Mainly every time someone was constructing a costume for me it was something else than I expected. And I was so disappointed, that I brought back my personal stuff.

S.B.
The whole visual appereance is very simple....

I.S.
The bi-coloured solution was fitting to tintin, the character which is also dressed in two coloures. Then I found the idea of the blue-painted face in Pierrot le Fou, in Shiva, in the Strumpfs, the Shrek - well green in this case. And it is always about personalities that are alien to us, because it is not our skin color. And for me it refers to the alien, and other. To be not recognised in our sameness.

S.B.
It works more in the sense of the operatic space and usage of a weird theatricality. You said now something more about the idea of otherness...How do you relate to the idea of a political, different body?

I.S.
Very simply, everyone who has been other has been discriminated during centuries, from the blacks, Eskimos, at a certain moment being gay was different and other, in certain cultures it is still. And all these movements of someone who’s different is scary: to impose different rules needs to be excluded from different parts of society and needs to be pushed and discriminated in a certain way. Changing the skin colour does make me different, other. But as I have mentioned before, this is not the only aspect.

S.B.
But, you are not other than the space. The whole space is other, but not the other in a sense of politics of the body you have been mentioning before. I think something else is working here. We are in a field of representation of a sort of abstraction. Going in that direction I wanted to suggest a certain methamorphosis going on in your character in one moment of the piece.

I.S.
With the Egyptian trousers scene?

S.B.
No, after the black out. That would relate to a different kind of otherness.

I.S.
You think in a Kafkaesk kind of way. I think that it is related to the skin colour... the simple way, the simple way of racist attitude.
It it has to do with recognition. If you go with a certain expectation, as a spectator, and you recognise it.

S.B.
But the recognition is a matter of convention...

I.S.
Because the recognition of a certain style produces that you love that style. If you do not recognise any elements, if everything is new, or alienated, than you will have a problem to love it. This depends the person of course.

S.B.
The theater is built on the recognition of the convention, and it is built on representation, and to understand it and think of it, one must always be aware of conventionality of that medium. It is existing still as a place of representation inside of certain conventions. But here, talking about your new piece in comparision with your older pieces, do you think there will be some shift of expectations?

I.S.
It had already some nice reactions from some programmers and people who are knowing the continuation of my work. Still Lives - our latest project - already did surprise some people. The esthetics were not any more into perfection and visual imagery. As we are dealing with non-professional performers on the stage, what is visible is sometimes very rough, nothing is hidden. This caused a lot of surprise already, which I like. i do not want to create a style, or a certain way of imposing my work towards people, that they have to recognise how it looks like. Like: That is my signature. I like big shifts and transformations and to use different tools each time. Than I think that Ohne Worte is not so radically different to some pieces that I have already done, like with Germana, when i have been much more into the minimalistic aproach, and more internally, but the procedure is very similar and dealing with things that I am finding hardly words to explain, because it is about the unconscious and time and space. I think, if I am succesfull with this work, they should link, and really go togheter very well, even so what I am producing now is dealing with much more movement, a different energetic body.
S.B.
Talking about Vue Imprenable, it is rather similar, even though the core and the usage of the body is rather different. But there is some sort of time usage, and dealing with the expectations of the audience, especially the idea that dance is not organised in an order to produce a semiotic message, opening the space for meditation goes pretty much in the same track. Opposite to the piece you did with Dalija Acin, which was much more readable in the basic semiotic way.

I.S.
The specific theme was very different. And spoken language is so strong. We have been producing meaning with language, and dealing with the idea how do we then produce meaning through our bodies. This is a much more complex field and it is resonating through the centuries. People have been busy with that question through the years. How do we speak with our bodies, what is the language we are creating? Is it pure esthetic, and pleasure seeing people doing some virtuosic stuff I am not able to do myself? Other than that, producing language through choreography is very interesting. A language in relation to texture, in the relation to words, to grammar.

S.B.
But it is produced in completely other way.

I.S.
It is pretty different.


See online : Trailer Ohne Worte (Praticable) General Rehearsal HAU3, Berlin, 10.4.2008

Published 29 August 2011