9 forays is part of a cycle that began in 2017 centred on dance and literature, more specifically on litera- ture about nature. A choreographic language and writing are being developed based on various books, observations and incarnations. This process is linked to knowledge and research about the body. The books that have inspired me in the creation of this work include The Life of Plants by Emanuele Coccia, Friday or The Other Island by Michel Tournier, Brilliant Green and The Revolutionary Genius of Plants by Stefano Mancuso, Our Cabins by Marielle Macé, and Manifesto of the Third Landscape and Garden in Motion by Gilles Clément.
I have been working on the body in association with the functioning of plants since 2018. The plant world is approached as a specific source for the body’s state and physical evolution: most plants are per- petually moving although they seem motionless, they produce nothing other than themselves, they are set in motion and influenced by external elements – tropism – and interact with what is around them, they have roots… Adopting the principles of how plants function allows another form of humanity to be explored, a physicality to be triggered that is freed from its habits and marked less by a desire to make things happen than by one of allowing things to happen.
Alongside this, I tackle the notion of geometry in relation to how it is perceived in the imagination (per- fect geometry) and its basic aspects (line, curve and angle for example), but also the geometry of the body and its ability to develop a living geometry.
I am keen to engage in these two imaginary worlds at the same time because they have characteristics that are similar and different. They blur their respective definitions and question the way in which they are theoretically represented.
The books involved in the process offer a common source of knowledge and reflection. Here I am fo- cusing on two writers in particular: the philosopher Emanuele Coccia, author of The Life of Plants, a book on the plant world and the atmosphere that is philosophical, botanical and poetic at the same time, and the landscape architect Gilles Clément who, among other things, has developed the notion of the third landscape. The Third Landscape comprises areas that are unused or neglected by people but are close to land that is being used (such as urban areas, agricultural land and landscaped gardens). These undeveloped or abandoned spaces are home to a great biodiversity and the natural world is re-establish- ing itself there. They are found next to woodland, alongside fields, in protected nature reserves and on primary land (land that has never been developed). It is the paradox between not being used and rich- ness that interests me.
In my choreographic work, abandonment corresponds to a certain passivity in the body, the abandon- ment of desire for the benefit of sensory listening. Non-action as a starting point is a strategy that ena- bles the body to become a “neglected” area, providing a space where a richness can emerge. Performers rid themselves of a desire to construct movement, circumventing habits and having the opportunity to develop a raw and intuitive set of gestures that have a precise quality of movement.
I invite each performer to directly connect with what is going to determine their movement and in doing so pursue my practice of gestures emerging without mediation, without will, related directly to events. The writing is formed from a state of elementarity, a response from the body that is both raw and con- scious and that influences the actions that follow. The body lets itself move (body tropisms) through its internal environment (mental imagination) or external environment (others, the environment). It is the starting point for a language to lead towards choreographic writing.
The notion of the Third Landscape also has a political dimension: Gilles Clément associates the term “Third Landscape” with that of a Third Estate, a space expressing neither power nor submission to power. No wish for power but a complete presence. No submission either, but coexistence between a person and other people and their environment.
The group on stage questions this notion because it immediately brings a strong visual image to the stage – almost an aesthetic dimension in itself. How to branch off and transmute this imposing image to produce a cruder dimension, the perception and challenges of which remain in the bodies beyond the intrinsic power of the group effect. Here, being and evolving with others will happen if they rid them- selves of the psychological and emotional challenges in favour of purely sensorial listening: following micro-impulsions, copying, functioning like a single entity consisting of many.
Through its characteristics of a physical space, the notion of the third landscape not only permeates the choreographic choices, but also the design of the stage, lighting and sound. Through a minimalist inter- vention, intended as such in order to retain a primary focus on the choreographic challenges being faced, the sound, stage and lighting design work towards creating a defined space. The sound comes from the stage and is primarily diffused from it. As well as the ambient sound, a single theme emerges from time to time and creates a narrative tension. The light is concentrated on defining the borders (edges) and the atmosphere of this space. Sound and light seize hold of the space in a very concrete way, designing it with no intention other than to make it exist in the omnipresence of the performance time and bring out all its dimensions.
PREMIERE: 10 March 2021, Charleroi Danse (Charleroi, BE) – POSTPONED: 22 October 2021
Concept & choreography: Louise Vanneste
Dramaturgy: Sara Vanderieck
Sound: Cédric Dambrain
Scenography & light: Arnaud Gerniers
Choreography & dance: Paula Almiron, Jeanne Colin, Lucas Katangila, Amandine Laval, Katia Petrowick, Jason Respilieux, Jonathan Schatz, Léa Vinette, Castelie Yalombo
Outside view: Anja Röttgerkamp
Costumes: Jennifer Defays
Production & booking: Alix Sarrade (Alma Office)
Administration: Gabriel Nahoum
Production: Rising Horses
Coproduction: Charleroi danse, DC & J Creations, les Halles de Schaerbeek and Théâtre de Liège.
With the support of Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles and Tax Shelter du Gouverne- ment Fédéral de Belgique and d’Inver Tax Shelter.
Louise Vanneste / Rising Horses is supported by Théâtre de Liège (2018-2022). Louise Vanneste is associated artist at Halles de Schaerbeek.