The abyss of quietude
and the art of practicing a conversation
By Claudia Galhós
It could be said that at any research meeting, when a group of two or more people come together, even when they come from performance, media or visual arts, they are inevitably entangling on some kind of conversation. But curiously enough, that statement is becoming more literally truthful inside Tanzhaus, as the twenty artists from TryAngle Düsseldorf enter in a more profound process of sharing experimentation.
What does this means? It really means the emergence to talk is being multiplied. This is happening side by side with proposals very much focused on the implication of the body in a given context; side by side with procedures of collecting sounds or images in order to transform their meaning, texture and configuration afterwards; and even side by side with mixed processes that cross the embodiment experience within a frame of theoretical debate or merely discussing and sharing perspectives.
This emergence to talk are being materialised through more or less private conversations, but they come out to be a sign of a profound need to know more about the other, to exchange ideas and experiences, in order to create a substantiated ground from where a valid and enriched interchange may occur. And so, a touching, wonderment, inspiring and disarming experience takes place. Being able to enter that marvel, being a witness of that exchange, turns out to be a privilege. And this is in the same category or at the same level of a more bodily or performative or mixed experimentation, almost as if assisting to a private, fragile and delicate session where people exposes all their vulnerability. And in the process, there is the possibility of discovering someone that was hiding any possible shade of a sweetened gesture.
This is the case of some conversations that are going on. And someone that is not part of the conversation joins in the proximity of that action, watching to it as a privileged person in an audience. The quality, intensity and content of the materials produced are equivalent to the level of any other kind of improvisation strategy or recollection of artefacts, images or choreographic lexicon created in a more clear performance frame. These were the cases of the conversations happening between Jayrope and Kinsgley A. Odiaka for “Hopes of Youth” project, and was the case of the metamorphosis that occurred with Cécile Martin’s “Fly” project. Another example is the strategy Li Alin found to generate material for her “Sex without sex“, with continuous individual encounters with other artists. And adding to this, there is all the opinions and points of view shared having a certain experiment or project as a subject, while it is occurring. Plus there are the Forum meetings in the mornings and the moments of exchanging the remains of the day at 6 p.m. in a round table – similar to a ritual of a big family that rejoins at the end of a journey to tell the stories of their days.
Taking the case of Cécile’s project as an example, being still about flying, turned into individual talks, crossing moments of performance, with a depth that is not so common after all. Of course in latest decades, the format of conference or conference-demonstration has become a possible form of performance. But sometimes there is not even a need to go so far. A truly engaged conversation between two people already offers a meaningful experience from someone that is fortunate enough to attend to it. And by being that, contains already the potential disruptive and disturbing effect that a valid contemporary work of art should have. But then, what makes a contemporary work of art a valid work of art anyway?