one week only!
Bilderwerfer from Vienna, Austria will make its New York debut with "back2private,"
a performance and chat installation in which a differently-abled cast of five,
equipped with head mikes and an on line connection to IRC chat rooms, performs
a totally unique kind of dance theater: riffing improvisationally to different
channels and conversations from around the world.
The troupe's motto is "Every
body is perfect! Against the perfect body!" The ensemble of five performers
is totally bilingual, but three of the company are handicapped and of these,
two require wheelchairs. The troupe was founded in 1994 by choreographer Daniel
Aschwanzen as an ensemble for actors with different disabilities to work in
an artistic combination of new dance, contact improvisation, acting techniques
and video. Bilderwerfer (literally, "image throwers") develops new
aesthetic approaches and innovative movement techniques that fundamentally
change the classic body image in dance. In their performances, the company
intends to project new pictures and to challenge outdated body images. In its
first two years, the company produced three full-length performances, met with
considerable success at international dance and theatre festivals in Europe
and the USA, and became known for ingenious installations in public spaces.
Two years ago, the company
teamed up with Yosi Wanunu, an Israeli-born stage director, to re-invent itself
as a dance-theater company. At the time, Wanunu was an expatriate from New York,
where he had worked at the Ontological-Hysteric, HERE and Ohio Theaters. The
current production debuted in November, 2000, in Vienna. Wanunu writes:
"In the last year
we stole some people's identities without their knowledge, we spoke their words
publicly, we aired their confession live on stage. We pretended that we were
the exiled Shah of Iran, an inmate on death row, a deaf housewife who likes
to collect porcelain dolls, a woman who gave her son for adoption, a young girl
who likes rabbits. We pretended to be Christopher Reeves before the accident,
Rosemary, a housewife, no kids, nice husband, loves Italy, drinks a lot of grappa,
Matrix, a guy who is crazy for action movies. We seduced a young man from the
Philippines who ran away when he discovered that our last boyfriend left us
because he discovered that he was gay. We got kicked out from a Muslim chat
when they discovered that we are also in a sex chat at the same time, we contaminated
many rooms with the phrase "mama bussi". We built fake houses from
cardboards and plastic in shopping malls all over Germany, we bought cheap
Persian rugs and turned them into our living rooms, we rolled office chairs
pretending we are a modern version of a Greek chorus, we played golf, soccer
and whatever everybody played that night. We did all that and we continue doing
it night after night."
The performance operates
with Instant Relay Chats, which are projected live on stage. It works with
the integration of conversations, channel talks and online-separees as well
as video chat as a theatrical event. Every night, new texts are being projected,
therefore the performance changes according to what's going on. This Babel
of speeches and conversations by ordinary people from all over the world,
as well as the integration of the daily use of computer technologies, comes
together in a performance that "translates the mode of being online into a fluid performance space."
The performance evolves in workshops that are dedicated to two purposes: finding
new modes of performance that bring chat text into a life event, and working
with materials that do not represent futuristic ideas about new media, but
the use of computers as an integrated part of daily life.
This amounts to a live
interaction between the stage and virtual world. The performers enter chats
and muds, scan the input of an anonymous user and turn it into live text on
stage. Conversations, flirtations, intimate chats and political discussions
appear in real time. triggering and changing the action patterns of the performers.
The stage is connected via high speed phoneline to the net. The chat text is
projected and the audience can read the virtual/real text while they see and
hear the performance on stage manipulating this text. The performers are equipped
with a transmitter that enables them to get the net live and decide moment-by-moment
what to repeat, change, paraphrase or just ignore.
Daniel Aschwanzen is a
video and performance artist, choreographer and founder of the dance festival
Tanzsprache. He has performed with sculptors Tone Fink, Walter Lauterer, the
jazz-band Ohmnibus and the Catalan performance company La Fura dels Baus. Yosi
Wanunu was born in Akko, Israel. He studied History of the Arts there and worked
as an theatre director and stage designer in New York. He founded the theatre
company Toxic Dreams 1997 and has collaborated with Bilderwerfer in several
projects since 1999.