Presented at Kulturraum Mainzer 7 in Berlin and as a part of CARPA 4, Helsinki.
No Collective and Lindsey Drury (Dreary Somebody) presented a performance of music and dance involving multiple inhuman dancer/musicians and human performers [Johanna Gilje, Lindsey Drury, IthaK]. Within the work, the inhuman dancers moved in seemingly random trajectories through a performance space without programmed pathways or the manipulation of a controller. Through their interaction with the human dancers, the work reframed “improvisation with objects,” as one could not fully predict the movement of the objects, or their response to contact with human bodies and other objects. Regardless as to the internal mechanism that drove the objects, the experience on the outside was that they were “making choices.” The focus of this work was to create a situation which challenged the performer’s ability to enact her will over the objects with which she performed, along with the tendency of audiences to identify human performers as enactors and objects as receptors of action. The resulting work revealed how the ability to move unpredictably can assert an object its own will. The question of agency traditionally oriented toward the bodies of human movers (“Why does she move like that?”) was thus expanded.
Despite the necessity in this description to differentiate between the inhuman and human performers, the point of the piece is to explore and problematize common notions of what constitutes a body. The work was developed through the concept that the delineation of body is based in the perception of a certain agency that controls a given movement. All the moving objects in the piece, whether inhuman performers, human performers, or human (and inhuman) audience, appeared to have agency because the source of their movements was instilled within themselves. The most important thing accomplished in the piece is not that the inhuman performers “became human,” but instead that the humans present in the room faced the fact that they are also objects. Therefore, the work does not reinforce the difference between human and inhuman, but instead dissolved that very distinction through an expanded definition of body and its basis in movement.
Berlin video documentation: