Tero Hytönen: Greetings from Stockholm
Weld - Insister Space
At Issue: performing
I went to see a full featured performance evening in Weld, Odengatan, Stockholm in 5.6.2018. The evening was organised by Insister Space, an organisations created for dance and choreography, and particularly for makers who identify as trans-women, trans-men, non-binary or cis-women.
Altogether, there were a total of 7 performances from different working groups in the evening. But in this post I focus on only one of them called I Object!
Choreogprahy: Gry Tingskog
Performers: Emma Starndsäter, Oda Brekke, Tulli Vahtola and Gry Tingskog
Production in collaboration with: Inter Arts Center – Malmö
We are waiting at the to the doors of the performance space and there we get the directions to step in carefully. The show is already on going and the space is almost dark. Entering the space happens by the flock, after which we walk down stairs to the space. From the top of the flock, one can see that in the dark space there is a dim light in the middle of the floor, drawing an unbalanced shimmering pile.
In the room there are mattresses and pillows arranged in the circumference around this pile. When the audience is in place, the eyes start to get used to the dark and we start to see the pile as hands and feet. No one's face is visible and the performers are dressed in velvet overalls that reflect the dim light. According to the program, there are 4 performers but in the pile there seems to be more limbs than that.
Quietly the characters start to move from this stalled picture. From a small breathing movement evolves an organic object that grows and shrinks at the same rate. At this point, it starts to become clear that there are 3 dolls in the pile. The dolls are human-sized and dressed in the same velvety overalls as the humans. This pile of people and non-people begins to differentiate into pairs and small groups. In each pair, the other party is a doll and the other one is a human.
In the follow situation the dolls are shown affection to, and they are being laid with in different positions. At this point I associate to cuddly toys and the sense of safety and intimacy that they create. The positions are varied as in the process of seeking a better sleeping position, and the group starts to gather again into a bigger pile. The pile that is now more active, starts to shap at a faster pace and a variety of sculptural images start to appear. Bodies in squeezing, hugging and resting.
Quietly the characters are starting to move from this stalled picture. From a small breathing movement, an organic object that grows rapidly grows and shrinks at the same rate. At this point, it starts to distinguish that there are 3 dolls in the pile. Dolls are human-sized and dressed in the same velvety overalls. This pile of people and non-people begins to differentiate into pairs and small groups. In each pair, the other party is the doll and the other one is a man.
Follow the situation where the dolls are shown with affection and with their dummies in different positions. At this point, my dream came to dreams and their proximity and security. The positions are varied as the better sleeping position is sought and the group starts to gather again into bigger casings. The more active pile will be shaping at a faster pace and a variety of sculptural images will begin to appear. Bodies in squeezing, hugging and resting.
The situation begins to build towards a higher and higher sculptural pile, followed by the a new movement motive: a collapse. The high pile of people and dolls starts slowly tilting to one side and the whole thing crashes to the floor. After the crash, the building starts again and the next high pile collapses again in a different way. In addition to the building and collapsing, sound starts to appear. The sound comes from performers who "imitate" falling / explosive tones. High pitch squeak sounds that lower during the collapses. Thickening and ticking sound, like a clock that marks the events of collapsing.
The humanity of performers is more and more visible towards the end of the performance. They begin to talk about how to build even taller pile. Casually they start to evaluate how the performance could continue. The lump-like pile of material that we saw in the beginning of the performance has now developed into humen that act and organise. The piece unwinds itself to the beginning by ending to the pile where the hole thing started.
In the program note, the piece is said to described to be a study about relations between object and subject. Through its various phases, I found alternative readings between human and non-human.