Meg Stuart
Damaged Goods
Jozef Wouters/Decoratelier
MOUVEMENT n° 73, Mutation permanente - Gérard Mayen (10/03/2014) [ French ]
SPIKE, Uncomfortable Zones - Adam Linder (09/14)
AGENDA, Hunter: Meg Stuart's quantum shamanism, Michael Bellon

In her new piece‚ Hunter, the Brussels-based choreographer Meg Stuart explores her personal cultural archive. One could see it as the performed sequel to the book Are We Here Yet? from 2010, in which she reflected on her practice.

Remarkably, Hunter is Meg Stuart’s first full-grown solo since she broke through as a choreographer with Disfigure Study, in 1991. What made her decide to make this piece? “I had never made a medium-length solo like this,” she replies. “The solos I did make since Disfigure Study were all kind of side projects between group pieces. This time I really started choreographing on my own body again, making movement studies, curious of how my age [laughs], my experience, and all the work that I’ve been producing and the material that I’ve been exploring, have influenced me and my movements. So in the preparation I went through my personal archive: the work, but also the family history archive, Super 8 tapes, photos, cultural heroes, and stuff that I used to like when I was young. In the result, the personal and private meet the public, because the collaborations and the shared thinking with different artists, scenographers, and musicians were an inspiration too.

What do you think you were hunting for?
Back in time, you hunt for clues to who you are, for patterns in the choices you have made, for the things that got you were you are now. Hunting has a certain urgency: it is longing but not reaching, looking for a connection. But it is also playful. Making these quantum leaps in time and space, I also explore possible parallel lives and worlds. As if by going back into the past I can rework and rewrite it.I went to a shaman once, and when we talked about family history she said it took seven generations to make changes in the patterns families live in. And I do sometimes have the feeling that the lives of other people – family and others – are influencing my movements. That I am actually dancing experiences of other people. You could say that in Hunter I am crossing the weird notions of shamanism and quantum physics.

So the piece is not a chronological personal diary or overview of your work.
And it isn’t a direct translation either. It has the form of a collage, with very clear sections and a very important sound score by Vincent Malstaf. I make all sorts of associations and juxtapositions; I also use fictional selves and bodies, so the material is all first-hand and has its own complexity. And as I didn’t want to be all alone onstage, there are a lot of voices. Of people I know, but also from William Burroughs, Alan Ginsberg, Yoko Ono: a lot of fragments and voices which are talking to me or through me. I also talk about Trisha Brown, David Bowie, Laurie Anderson… Not that I drown in nostalgia or that it is only for people of my age. [Laughs]

Did the hunt bring you to places you had never been to before as an artist?
There is a part in the piece where I am talking and blogging about art, urban space, dancing… Maybe I didn’t realise before that I have so many things to say. [Laughs] I think that this person on stage, who doesn’t need to be behind a lot of alternate identities and is not afraid to be transparent, is kind of new. I don’t think I’ve done another performance before in which I was so openly saying what was on my mind. I also show many sides: tough, aggressive, and masculine, but also softer, lyrical, fantastic. Which doesn’t mean that I’m off on a solo career now.

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