a radical dedication to stillness and transparency | a dance solo
This long time project perhaps originated as early as 1992 in a workshop with Lisa Nelson where i was deeply moved by the silence that was an inherent part of the practice. In the following years i had been including snippets of silence in my practice, listening and reading. Gradually elements such as stillness and ways of being present, questions of intimacy, kinds of visibility and places of apparent disappearance in a performance space became more prominent areas of interest in my work. In 2003 i began writing the first notes about disappearance through presence.
Residencies and low tech performances
In 2015 I began tuning into Field of Disappearance specifically, investigating different ways of and interests in disappearing. During this time I came to focus on one main inspiration that served as ground and as guideline for the work: The Rothko Chapel in Houston, USA. Fourteen paintings by Mark Rothko in an octagonal space with natural light only and a monolithic sculpture by Barnett Newman outside, ‘together set up a contrasting dynamic of contemplation and action’. It is a space where one can experience ‘its unique tranquility and vibrant presence’. The particular phases of experiences I went through both times i had the chance to be in the Chapel, I’ve been working on to embody in the dance and share through this performance: to connect in the stillness and dance through what can take place within; to disappear through embodying presence; transparency through presence; to allow visibility through transparency.
In March and April 2015, I began working on this project during the 2-month residency at Saari in Finland, supported by the Kone Foundation. I dedicated every day dancing outside and in the studio, to stillness, layering, articulation, transparency. I also made a small photo book with images made in Saari’s inspiring environment, focusing on three aspects in visual material: layering, articulation and transparency.
Here’s what i wrote about my intention for working at Saari. Tua Hautamäki who i met at Saari, will be making the costume for Field of Disappearance. With four other artists in residency at Saari, we created a short film Kahina/Rustle in a nearby small yet mysterious oak forest. The video is a silent cut.
In the year that followed, I continued my studio practice in Amsterdam. In August/ September 2016, I had the chance to intensively work on this project in a 3 week residency at Kokko1721, a beautiful remote dance|farm residence in the East of Finland, to further my practice and investigation. As part of the continuing process, i started performing Towards/Disappearance, solos derived from my practice, placed in different contexts. I used these opportunities to choose different points of view to investigate, to learn more about the many elements of the work while having the inclusion of the presence of an audience. These performances ranged between 20-40 minutes in length and were often shared in a studio or low tech situation.
SILENT DANCES | development budget
During the process of this project, in which my choices are more radical than in my earlier work, questions arise and the desire to exchange with other artists and teachers. In 2018 i received an ‘Ontwikkelbudget’ (development budget) from the Amsterdam Fund for the Arts to work specifically in the area of ‘Stillness & Stillness as a Meeting Space’ in dance. This trajectory consisted of trainings and exchanges in Amsterdam and Indonesia. There were several presentations, both solo and in collaboration, some of which i named Silent Dances. In Indonesia one of the projects was Purification.
It is a deliberate choice to work on Field of Disappearance long term, considering the nature of the project and the radical clarity it asks for. It’s an ongoing process and i’m allowing myself to play with different ways of working on it, as they appear along the way. I find my vision for it growing stronger and feeling affirmed in allowing time for it to evolve. While working towards the solo, other closely related projects have come into being that also help clarify the main project, such as Subtext, Even The Houses Are Dancing And All Is Well and z a c h t j e s (for 2+).