Meg Stuart
Damaged Goods
Jozef Wouters/Decoratelier
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Interviews
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Utopia Parkway, It’s like… He talks a bit and she dances a bit - Hans-Maarten Post (28.01.2017)
Jury report 'het Theaterfestival 2017', INFINI 1-15 (31.05.2017)
der Standard, Meg Stuart: Der wüste Schatz einer verlorenen Jägerin - Helmut Ploebst (21.04.2017) [ German ]
Ruhrtriennale Zeitung, It’s in the shape of fire - Jeroen Peeters (06.2017)

It’s in the shape of fire

Dramaturge Jeroen Peeters for the Ruhrtriennale Zeitung, 06.17

“Theatre is a great place to dream,” says Meg Stuart in the solo Hunter (2014), to then continue her tongue in cheek monologue: “Imagine this place would not always be a theatre.” Just before that she spoke of online creativity as a blueprint for other realities, of the rigid character of architecture and urban spaces that have only one function, of people crossing in the subway or the supermarket but not really meeting one another. “Imagine this theatre would be a place where once a month you give blood. Or where people gather to collectively burn all their Ikea furniture in a ritual statement. Different actions, you know.” I remember spectators responding strongly to this proposal to imagine the theatre otherwise and discussing their own ideas in the foyer after the show. Perhaps that was the first spark – a collective dream spilling out of the theatre and slowly dispersing itself, carried by all the people present.

How do we envision theatres and other art spaces today and tomorrow? How do we shape these places of encounter, these laboratories for living together? During the past years these questions have been recurring in our conversations – with choreographer Meg Stuart and scenographer Jozef Wouters, and with many others collaborating on Projecting [Space[. During one month the company Damaged Goods will work on location in the Zentralwerkstatt Lohberg in Dinslaken, transforming it into a temporary environment for imagining and experimenting with collective practices of meeting and making – and for sharing these activities with others.

Browsing through my notebook I’m struck by the many references to heat recorded during rehearsals. We did spend some time in cold industrial buildings, but then the transformation of energy also became a research topic in its own right, with a variety of resources gathered to feed the smoldering bonfire that is a rehearsal process. Always interested in the beauty of precarious structures, it’s Jozef Wouters who conjured up this image: “For me a bonfire is about building something that you plan to burn – it doesn’t need to be sturdy or last for years. Setting something ablaze means to consume it, to expend it. There is an aspect of hedonism in that. And as the fire burns the construction grows invisble and smaller, and then the circle of people around it becomes smaller too, until everyone sits down and eats marshmallows together.”

In rehearsal we discussed the impact of energy sources on cultural production, but quickly moved away from wood and coal to what drives bodies dancing, sensing, witnessing. “What about the energies of healing practices? Or the heat of a large group of bodies at a rave party? How can we catalyze the energy of the audience? Is sensitivity an energy source? And fiction?”

Imagine a group of highly sensitive bodies entering a former mining factory. What if these bodies would softly brush up against a concrete floor? Would they become site-specific? Material and spatial conditions would be partners in the conversation, an encounter of heterogeneous surfaces and desires – human bodies, machines, wood, stone and cloth, remote urban clamour or a beam of light. Perhaps it would manifest in abstract lines or in slow, unison dances. Or maybe in stirring attention for the smallest particles when someone blows a handful of dust across the room. What would these meetings tell us about transformation of energy, or about relations of care?

Ruhrtriennale Zeitung, Statt Werkstatt - Jeroen Peeters (06.2017) [ German ]

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