Creating the Mating dance (new opening scene)
The Mating Dance has started to come into existence in response to the idea of investigating the concept of rhythm (rather than the original idea to investigate the concept of presence). In my notes I have formulated this new direction as follows:
From the perspective of rhythm as a core to experience in general and performance in particular, we investigate the body in relation to live-video. We work with one rhythmic metaphor that we have found through T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets, which is: the rhythm of waves. The idea is to investigate what ‘waves’ do with the body of the performer (how does the body speak, breath, manipulate soil according to this rhythm?) and what do waves do with live-video (how to film, project, manipulate, create images according to this rhythm?).
To perform interactions between the body and video we chose to focus our filming experiments on the hands. By filming in close-up the hands that are burried in the earth, images occur that are non-human images; images of the human body that are in some sense de-humanized so that they become 'other' entities or creatures or forms (see picture). But it turns out to be very difficult to work on this level of image making because the actor has to move his hand super very precise and he has to look constantly at the screen (to see what his movements are doing to the image-on-screen) which all together is very difficult to make ánd emphasizes very much the screen-image rather than the live image.. Considering the problems we find with live-video technology in general, we decide to continue experimenting with other forms of technology, such as image-projections (see "technological deviations" )
We decide to continue working with the hands on the back of the performer (see picture). From there on the idea comes up that the two hands may encounter each other on the back of the performer on which we project more abstract images (see picture).. From there on, the idea is born to make an encounter between two hands on the back of the performer. Before we know it, we are sitting behind a table (see picture) to practice the encounter, by making a little narrative about the character of the Right hand (and particular its rhythm; its way of moving) opposed to the character of the Left hand. A driving force for both their characters is: the breath. They breath differently. It has been wonderful to see how the movements of the hands changed, when the performer had the task to move them in sync with his breath. By giving his breath to the movement of the hands, he brought these hand-characters to life; they become convincing, independent creatures.
We make a little script for the encounter between the two hands, with an entrance of both hands, a moment of sensing each other, the Right hand approaching and seducing, the Left hand accepting, the two hands making contact that develops into an entanglement that develops into an intense tension between the two hands. We call it the mating dance because it's basically a sex-scene.
In a later stadium we have burried the performer under a heap of soil (see picture) which would ultimately become the opening scene of the performance. The logic of this given is that the performer has to come out, from under the soil which leads to the question: how will he do that? We try to do it with the mating dance and we adapt it to the situation with the soil. The stage for his hands has changed from his back, to a layer of soil on his belly. Remarkably enough, the dehumanizing effect that we found while working with the live video technology, is still working in the final performance but not in a technologically mediated way, but live.