© Sara Vanderieck

“…I have made love standing up, sitting down, lying down, on my knees, stretched out on one side or the other…” 

Edouard Levé

A strong common ground.

Estaràs’ chorographical language “Monkey Mind” came to exist rather accidentally. By pushing the velocity of movement, she discovered a strange disconnection between her brain and body. The body was faster than the brain and thus they went their separate ways. “Monkey Mind” refers to the endless chatter in your head when you jump from thought to thought, emotion to emotion, like a monkey from tree to tree.

Bass player/composer Mirko Banovic is best known today for his contribution to the works and concerts by Arno and Arsenal. Besides these big names in the Belgian music scene, he worked and works with a diverse array of musicians from very different disciplines. He considers the investigation of music that emerges from literary material combined with the solo live improvisation with two dancers as a new track in the evolution of his personal oeuvre.

In May 2017 Kristien De Proost leaves the Belgian theatre collective Tristero to take a freer artistic position. Being part of a company means to plan a long time in advance and that leaves little empty time for germinating projects. In addition, she feels a need for a new artistic course, more risks and more individual responsibility. In her writing for theater, De Proost wants to take a step further in the process started with On Track in 2013: a personal writing that touches universal themes and can switch from banal to abstract, from humor to seriousness, from literature to sound poem.

Vanderieck has developed a personal way to support the artistic process as a dramaturg/outside eye. Patience and an extreme openness are at the centre of this method. Artwork and a stage/public performance is the perfect medium to communicate a combination of things/feelings/thoughts/characters that are not compatible in the outside day to day world. The search for that combination of incompatible layers to communicate the true essence of the artist’s research is the centre of what Vanderieck supports during the creation.

Even if they have been developing different artistic practices during their careers, there is also a strong common ground in the work of these four artists.

The search for a chorographical and musical language that allows all dualities and energies to coexist in one body, in one sound range and in one theatrical world implies a strong connection with the here and now. This work doesn’t allow escapes into a most personal, private, closed state of mind. The personal and the private can only exist inside and throughout the communication.

Coming from a more theatrical and social background, they are not afraid to use these skills in their creative processes. The use of voice and/or language is part of the chorographical material. If the content of the creation asks for it, interactions with an audience and/or other guests and/or the live environment are part of the research possibilities.

Both Estaràs and Vanderieck have been researching the possibilities of the use of traditional dances in their contemporary work. This research has been highly inspiring, especially the use of common codes that allow a community to participate in a movement ritual and the search for the essence of that material and how to translate that to a contemporary movement language.

The art of Joy & the rage of Zizek.

© Sara Vanderieck

During the first research periods, other inspirational material was added to the table. The use of a black and white contrast and the compositions in the oeuvre of photographers Mario Giacomelli and Francesca Woodman proved to inspire the use of time and space during improvisations. Using non-musical soundscapes as a base for improvisation led to a discovery of different forms of energy. The artists discovered a strong connection for instance between the rhythm and tempo of philosopher Slavoy Zizek’s speeches and their movement material. Personal interpretations based on the “automatic writing” from Edouard Levé’s novel Autoportrait revealed a first glimpse of the way spoken word could exist in the performance.

A game in the here and now.

To be able to perform in the here and now as much as possible, it was decided to create a series of “tableaux” that may or may not be performed in any combination. The “playlist” will be different for each performance, depending on the personal relationship of the artist with each other and their surroundings that day, the specific setting and audience. The starting point of each “tableau” is a layer of Sapienza’s novel.

In the coming research laboratories, different other artists (musicians, actors, painters, video artists) will be invited to participate in the research. The aim is to research the possibility for a few different artists to be invited to perform with Estaràs, Banovic, De Proost and Vanderieck, depending on the specific performance place and time. These guests will have the same freedom to perform in relation to their reality that day but within a common (created and rehearsed) frame.

The intimate space

The individual artistic course of the creators is happening primarily in the major international theatre, dance and music scene. Such a successful career is obviously fantastic for the artists. The research of another new way of creating is much less evident on such big stages.

With When I look at a strawberry, I think of a tongue Estaràs, Banovic, De Proost and Vanderieck want to take the time and space to deepen their artistic development together and individually. How can dance and music create a literature-based narrative together? What structure and method is needed to re-create another version of the performance every day? In jazz this is a standard procedure, but how can this be realized within a multidisciplinary context? To what extend can the real context of a specific presentation really affect the performance played there? What does it mean to make such a narrative outside of an equipped theatre?

The creation of this version of When I look at a strawberry, I think of a tongue for the non-theatrical space is the first step in a larger research and creation. The artists deliberately choose to stay away of the theatres and large(r) audiences for this first development phase. That way, they want to create a work that can be played in less obvious places, both within and outside of Europe.