Residency in the frames of Moving Bodies Butoh and Live Art festival, at Teatro Espace, Torino.
My residency is supported by Estonian Cultural Endowment.
The curators of the festival have written their introduction to this year’s theme and the concept of Difference in the texts of Gilles Deleuze.
Difference challenges the idea of self, proprioception and boundaries. Identity and “self” develop in function of the other, through acceptance – rejection – cooperation/conflict and existence. How do these find a vocabulary in dance performance and art? How do different forms of doing come together pollinating and rejecting each other?
We, Ambra G. Bergamasco and Edegar Starke understand Difference not from a negation, but from an affirmation. Learn rather than deny, create a community rather than building walls. Ultimately, we suggest difference as a singular that becomes plurality of such. Philosophically, Difference has been researched and questioned through approaches that look at paradigms of creation, genesis, real, experience, virtual, negation, affirmation. There is a contemporary urge to address Difference; from our individual everyday actions to wider understanding of what today’s reality is; in our own artistic practice and in the space of contamination and relation with others.
During my residency in Teatro Espace, Torino, I am developing a short solo performance together with a written text. I am going to focus on the question of self, regarding the development of an individual as a series of transformative stages, each of which is marked by a personal „death“. The concept of Differance is connected to personality and actualisation of events during one’s lifetime.
I see difference as an essential quality within an individual – one individual moves through different stages, ways of being, taking roles throughout his/her life.
I am truly myself, yet I am a chain of tranformation. I die and I reborn every day.
But what happens when one becomes stranger to oneself, mentally, emotionally, spiritually?
Depersonalization – a mental situation and disorder when one feels severely distanced of him/herself, of his/her subjectivity in general.
I becomes Stranger.
I am also intrigued by the question: what opposites can be find within an individual? How is one’s identity formed through differences and layers of self.
I am drawing from Juri Lotman’s concepts of Other and the opposition of known-strange to explore the estrangement that might lead to acknowledging yourself as a stranger.
I am Other.
How can we accept the different personas within ourselves?
Are we ready to look at all of our selves or personas? Are we wiiling to accept them as part of our identity?
Identities are in constant reformation.
I am centered and I am widening at the same time.
„Nothing more can be said, and no more has ever been said: to become worthy of what happens to us, and thus to will and release the event, to become the offspring of one’s own events, and thereby to be reborn, to have one more birth, and to break with one’s carnal birth – to become the offspring of one’s events and not of one’s actions, for the action is itself produced by the offspring of the event.” (Deleuze 170)
For Deleuze Difference exists in-itself, it is the essential quality, lying underneath the whole existence. Deleuze relates the concepts of difference and repetition to each other. If difference is the essence of that which exists, constituting beings as disparates, then neither of the first two models of time does justice to them, insisting as they do on the possibility and even necessity of synthesising differences into identities. It is only when beings are repeated as something other that their disparateness is revealed.
In my residency, I am researching this unity, which includes all the differences. Difference is always there, yet all these different modalities, little personas, are gathered inside a higher formation. That is the unity, the Eternal recurrence, Deleuze is talking about (referring to Nietszche and his Thus spoke Zarathustra): The highest form is not an idefinite form, rather it is the unformness of the neverending through changes and transformation — Because the neverending is a circle, but the Difference liesat its centre while the Sameness is only its border. The presence of the indefinite includes the of the presences in a way it ensures the focalisation of all perspectives on one and the same object or world or in way that it makes all the moments as the qualities of one and the same Me.(Deleuze, Repetition and Difference)
An individual is recurring, everevolving and renewing through his/her life, melting all the differences into one form of existence. An individual deals with all the emotions, perceptions, experiences and situations, continuously embodying all these as sensations, thoughts and emotions.
And finally – how to embody your stages, past, so that the difference that is formed could help you to grow – to a higher, more mindful self without destructing, dissolving your personality or Self?
“I’m half child, half ancient.” – Björk
You embody you past, present and future at all times.
“My wound existed before me, I was born to embody it.” – G.Deleuze The Logic of Thought
If you stare to the mirror long enough,especially with dimmed lights or during evening/night time – your reflection might seem to change. You discover that after some time the one who stares back from the mirror is not the You that you’ve known all your life.
Shifts in perception
During the residency I started to working with Reflections on both inner and outer levels:
inner level – the understanding of Self, my persona’s, reflection as getting to know my different sides, getting to know my own differences
outer level – mirrors and reflections of my body, my face in the mirror
Changing identities, shifting through different movement qualities – they all are relating to Self and are interconnected with transformation
layers within myself, portraying the essential difference that lies within every individual
shifting images, qualities
After some workshops and spending some time I understood that Time holds also a key role.I got a strong sense of feeling the Time that has built layers inside me. Feeling past, present and future simultanously, stepping out of linear time.
It is also relatable to the inner landscapes and personal sense of time and rhythm that some teachers/masters described and referred to.
So how to depict the everchanging and sometimes conflicting personal inner landscape, the time and space of an individual through manifestations of difference?
How to indicate Depersonalization on body level and in movement language– interconnected with the concept of estrangement. Shifting my centre – feeling that I am not at home within myself,within my spirit,mind and body. This leads to intense and contradictional movements on the body level. Tension, anxiety, intense and sharp movements,also lack of an anchor or fixed centre. Limbs as strange objects, unknown, uncanny, even eerie. Distortion, broking the body structure, the image of a body without centre, not able to stand up straight, to walk.
Working in the morning:
clearness,presence, sharp focus, concentration, I’m fully aware of my body, sensations, strong sense of self
vs working late at night: subconsciousness is more alert,foggier presence,but I notice different things, smells, voices, nuances of darkness, ideas flow freely, my sense of self might change during night time, I’m mor eopen, my body is melting in the darkness –sometimes I feel like floating; doubts and sense of estrangement are stronger in the nighttime
layers, transformation,metamorphosis, shifts of perception an identity, inner time (memories, changing individual,experiences etc), Reflections:inner level (mind,emotions, thoughts) that is interconnected with the outer reflections (mirror images)
changing ideas – shifting through different qualities – qualities relate to Self –transformation, constant shifts
During the days passing and with all the new knowledge gathered in workshops, I began to notice some interesting things or phenomenons also in the surrounding space- i.e the city of Torino. The experience and the talks on the rots and principles of butoh helped me to notice different aesthetical nuances in the city, to turn my attention towards decay that lies within beautiful settings or vice versa to notice small traces of beauty even in the garbage and decomposed settings. I found that related to the japanese aesthetics, where concepts of wabi-sabi and ma are kept in the focus. I have also studied Japanese culture, including these principles of aestheticsbefore and it was very interesting to relate these things coming from butoh practice and philosophy to my earlier studies of Japanese aesthetics and culture. For instance, I found some parallels with some Japanese author’s written texts and butoh.
By the end of the residency I’ve written a prose poem emerging from the experience and the butoh’s philosophical backgorund. I managed to develope the basis, structure and main ideas for a theoretical article that will be accompanied by a short solo performance (approximately 20 min) that I will be presenting at Moving Bodies Festival 2017.
This experience has been one of the most enriching experiences that I’ve had. In addition to the knowledge and skills gained, I built some strong contacts with incredible artists, dancers and human beings and all that thanks to the trusting, sincere and warm atmosphere that was built and kept throughout the whole festival, workshops, gatherings and residency process.
The prose poem which was written during the residency:
The spaces and memories we hold in ourselves
the smells, footsteps and touch we leave
inside the rooms
on floors, walls and ceilings
we have once inhabited
in which we have felt, listened and shared
I stare into the mirror
as long as I’m starting to vanish
and take different stranger forms
as the Self becomes a Stranger
I am truly myself,
yet I swirl along the chain
I die and I reborn
I am centered and I am widening
as emotions crawl
from the ground to the sky through by body
I see a gift blooming in your hands
I feel the spirits behind,
standing, with eyes wide open
I stand on the roots of trees,
on the feet of my parents,
and grandparents and their parents
I am rooted in nature
I came out of it and I will return
There is no time as hours become liquid
I embody my past, present and future
at all times
Who am I?
behind the masks, the roles, the faces
I feel transparent
all the layers have been peeled
I am repetition: I am the same
and the different,
I am already existing
and willing to be born
a deep breath of oxygen
my lungs are alive
my eyes listening
everything floats beneath my feet
I stand on ethereal ground
abśorbing the light
melting into darkness
I feel like I’ve lived ages
and like I’ve not yet
been brought to this world
I am empty
waiting to be filled
Life plays with death
in one heartbeat
Oblivion consumes me
wind whistles between my bones
I hear my cracking joints
and stand in space
Touch is the only language
‘My wound existed before me, I was born to embody it.’”