by Claudia Galhós
“I have this idea of dramaturgy. Which is connected to the way I think we approach life. And is also connected to the way I approach a creative process. We start by dealing with abstraction, because there is no context to give particular meaning to what we see. But as we become more familiar with things, they start to gain a definition. And as this happens, it creates the emergence of a counter reaction. So, it may mean trying to destroy it, dismember it. And after all this, it reformulates itself again.”
These are Gui Garrido’s words, in the beginning of a three hours try out of the possibilities of “Hit”, that proposes to explore the different approaches – sound and physical – to an excerpt of the melody from “Carmina Burana”. The statement, that is a simplified exposition of his more complex thought, opens a possibility to rethink the meaning expressed already by the choice of how to approach life and imagination when in a free artistic research: through abstraction? Realism? A constant metamorphosis between the two?… This means that is not just a formal question, but is already an ethic question.
The XXI century is far from being the infancy of civilisation and art. But the ways of the world are constantly balancing between a tendency to constraint movements, actions and thoughts versus a profound desire to go back to some kind of state of innocence. In the first one, the tendency is imposed from the exterior and from an idea of an economically efficient system and organisation of society. In the second one, there is a profound desire to go back to some kind of state of innocence, that allows freedom of expression and the imagination of a possible new world.
Representing extreme positions, both possibilities, when isolated from the other, are an impoverished approach to life and to art. It is also a question of ethics, in terms of how each person and artist positions himself in relation to the other, the one different from himself. But the hardest might be to find the balance between the two choices: acknowledge the need for some kind of framing and values of sharing space, time, resources and wishes that living in community requires; but at the same time insist in touching a more innocent and unrestricted state of being and of recreating one self, believing it is possible to change the world.
So, how to accept the framework of theatre even when deeply questioning it? How to accept, because we know, that there is always some kind of construction, because something in the set up is always artificial or imposed from the exterior, and there is never in an absolute way a possibility to escape it? And how to, at the same time, persist in the search for authenticity, and a less constrained genuine expression of the self in a web of relations? Or how to enter a more profound and genuine state even when in the frame of a space of representation, effectively embracing the possibility of just let it be and really be there?
It is also a question of refusal of the notion of ‘creation’ and of the notion of ‘piece’ – whatever artistic languages may be used. The concept of ‘work of art’ has been very much questioned in modernism, from the end of the XVIIIth century and all through XXth century. The emergence of such terms as ‘creation’ and ‘creator’ and ‘piece’ or ‘performance’ proposed a more open frame as alternative to the idea of an idealised ‘work of art’. Meanwhile ‘work of art’ became charged with a notion of art has belonging to a higher sphere of sensibility, superior to daily life. And so, criticised all through modernism. As the idea of ‘representation’ was.
The words ‘creation’ and ‘piece’ emerged as alternatives to the idea of a more conventional show, and everything such a designation implies. They are more adequate for the undefined identity of the artist, that most times is not only a choreographer or a theatre director or a visual artist, but something else words are not able to categorise… But with the emergence of post-modernism in the late decades of XXth century, also these words – ‘creator’ and ‘piece’ – became problematic, because of all the meaning they contain in themselves. And in this beginning of XXIst century this inadequacy becomes even more evident. And even more in the context of TryAngle – that is a microcosmos of a much expanded reality.
Although all this ‘green up’ discourse and propaganda may result in ideological excesses, it is true that there is something to reflect upon about an ecological ethic in arts, that only makes more clear a critique on capitalism and consumption society, based on a logic of always producing new things, and putting it in the binary and reduced concept of relation between people that became mere sellers and buyers. In all the experiments and all the questions and all the discussions that take place in TryAngle, it appears some initial ideas about what can be art today in terms of what is that artists do? Maybe it has to do with the revolutions of the beginning of last century and the idea of inscribing a gesture of interruption of norm, that establishes a different possibility for perception of the world. Maybe with that rupture – sometimes minimal and almost imperceptible – the conditions for the transformation of life are created. But this question – possibly refusing to create with the notion of ‘creation’, that I propose as a contemporary form of artistic radicalism – doesn’t mean rejecting what was just said.
Art today is still about the idea of inscribing a gesture of interruption of norm, that establishes a different possibility for the perception of the world. With this rupture – sometimes minimal and almost imperceptible – the conditions for the transformation of life are created. But is something besides this, that goes to another level of conscience of the importance of the artistic act. It means the operation of transformation over what is the substance that was transformed by the artist. It means a transformation over the first operation of transformation by the artists. Also implies a thought about immaterial and material.
What does this implies? It implies firstly that for an exterior eye it is even more complicate to relate and access this double act of transformation, because it goes deeper and is more profoundly buried under the surface. Gisle Martins Meyer project, ‘Sounds of Düsseldorf’ is a good example of this.
With Clorinde Durand, Jasmina Zaloznik and Montaine Chevalier he went into the streets of Düsseldorf to capture this material world in the form of the immaterial sounds it produces. Then he worked in those sounds in order to turn them into some kind of music, loosing their material existence. And after he had the different textures of sounds, harmonies and rhythms, he proposed that this music would get a new presence and would be again materialised through the dancing body of Kingsley A. Odiaka.
Through the proposition of Gisle, Kingsley, the dancer, relates to the transformed information contained in the sounds, but in a way that they are for him out of context. The sounds are perceived to Kingsley as abstractions of a once material and realistic world. Through his body, they gain another form and presence, but maintain their quality of non realistic and non literal translation of their meaning.
This is also related to what Gui Garrido was saying in the beginning of another day of trying “Hit”: I have this idea of dramaturgy. Which is connected to the way I think we approach life. And is also connected to the way I approach a creative process. We start by dealing with abstraction, because there is no context to give particular meaning to what we see. But as we become more familiar with things, they start to gain a definition. And as this happens, it creates the emergence of a counter reaction. So, it may mean trying to destroy it, dismember it. And after all this, it reformulates itself again.”