it will come later - reflections by Joseph Lee by Israel Aloni

Reflections

by Joseph Lee

It’s about collective efforts to work as a collective, so there’s inevitable struggle to pull together

what we believe, whilst push away others to stay individual as everyone wants to be seen as

unique, perhaps we are too used to be unique.

So it’s not about collectiveness, it’s about otherness.

We define, re-define, re-redefine what others means to us.

What we can accept, what we can’t. What defines us as an creator. What defines us to be as equal

as the one seated. What can’t define us. Who to define. Who defines.

Or what we heard so often in the process, “Name it.”

We also name.

We name to define.

We push to survive.

No matter how close we get, we are still on our own, yet, the stronger we use our body to sustain

as one, the more rewarding we can expect at the end.

It’s not about the process, but how the process leading to the end. If we don’t see the end of the

show as the end, you might then realize, what will come later.

What does 'it' mean? by Zsuzsanna Komjáthy (Hungary) by Israel Aloni

Original text in Hungarian below.

What does ‘it’ mean?

“>>It<< makes a move. >>It<< could be a man, a woman, a louse, an elephant.”

Gilles Deleuze & Felix Guattari

It will come later – after seeing the latest work-in-progress performance of iCoDaCo in Budapest, this title makes me wonder: what might come later? The premiere, the moment we recognise a message behind, the dance itself, or something else? 

What might come later? What might be hiding behind, or rather, between and beyond the words? What does ‘it’ mean? 

The questions are tempting yet challenging to answer, as the field where we can seek for the explanation – i.e. both the environment that is evolving onstage and the context wherein the whole project is embedded – is a transforming space that does not have an exact, final shape. Moreover, it is an ephemeral, precarious mutability, "a becoming-space of the body, and a becoming-body of space, a becoming-thing of the organic, a becoming-organic of things.” (Lepecki 2016: 181.)

On the level of iCoDaCo project, ‘it’ engages itself in a critique towards the concept of interculturality that stems from island-premiss, and relies on “the separatist character of cultures” (Welsch 1999).  Instead, the project proposes the concept of transculturality that proclaims that “authenticity has become folklore” (Welsch 1999) and entails a more hybrid and constantly forming approach (becoming-space) both on the macro-level of conceptualizing and on the micro-level of working. 

It is not unintended that Israel Aloni, the leading producer of iCoDaCo, suggested ‘Transformations’ as a working title. Here, six artists from four different countries that faced with a serious social challenge at the beginning of the project in 2016 (the fundamental principles of democratic model has shaken somehow) meet and share their energies to bring a virtual level of creation to existence. They gear together and compose a new surface that has neither a starting nor an ending point – only the middle. 

‘How do you make decisions?’ I ask them.

‘Collectively,’ answers Imre Vass and laughs. I laugh back at him, however, I know, it must be true.

‘We do not work separately on our own. Regarding the creating process, we do everything together. We start floating our ideas, and see how they develop. Sometimes, one movement transforms into something new and we are surprised and flattered like children. We experiment, and then we see’ explains Lee Brummer (not with these exact words).

Besides this permanently renewable democracy of creating, the milieu as the environment of creating also changes constantly. All the participants spend two weeks in each other’s native country and through workshops, work-in-progress performances, artist talks and so on, they engage with the local people. By each gathering, at each stage, the production transforms and develops by the effects and experiences.

So we can say, that on each plane of creating:

1th plane: macro level of context (countries);

2th plane: micro level of context (locations);

3th plane: macro level of creating (working),

there are similar assemblages in the proximity, and the only ‘fixed’ line that intersects them is transformation itself. It is a ‘following’ approach (i.e. it engages in a continuous variation of variables), where planes intersect each other through transformations to form a shared, smooth surface. This process points toward an abstract labour, a vortical flow or an itinerant line that always escapes from us when we try to define it. 

But what might ‘it’ mean on the level of performance? What might lie/hide/escape in the middle of the 4th stratum (micro level of creating)? - A kind of danger, one might say and s/he would be certainly right as ‘it’ feeds from that becoming-space that we endeavoured and failed to name above. 

In the middle of the middle, there is a white, semi-transparent curtain hanging on the stage. 

‘Watching the performance I tried to unravel the whole time what might the role of the curtain be’ – says Dorottya Albert (dance critic), a guest of the work-in-progress performance, and her words made me wonder. Is the curtain symbolizing that ‘it’? Or being exterior to resemblance, is ‘it’ the curtain itself?

For me, the curtain assigns that ‘itinerant line’ (or ‘line of flight’) that I have referred to above. It connects, mobilizes and sometimes obscures events that are developing onstage, and creates “indivisible distances that are ceaselessly transformed, and cannot be divided or transformed without their elements changing in nature each time”. (Deleuze–Guattari 1987: 31-33.)

In this ceaselessness, there are the six dancers moving or rather being “moved by some thing”. (cf. Lepecki 2016:  60-70) The movements are strange, quite apersonal and obsessed as if they did not belong to the performers exactly. As if they were constantly being overwritten by the becoming-thing they convey, and in parallel, as if they were also overwriting that becoming that bears them.

Sometimes, the performers shudder in cramp performing subordinated muscle-statues that are seemingly moved by against their will. In other cases, they coagulate (even though distorted) trying to be that intensity that make thing(s) happen. What could that all mean? Where does this conjunction point to?

Following André Lepecki’s argumentation on understanding “being moved by a thing”, we can say that this process might mark a point of singularization. A critical move that glimmers on the edge of subjectivity, and opens up a more radical assemblage in proxy: a moving-towards-impossibility, or a moving towards moving-as-thing. 

But this, as far as I know, will come later. Moving-as-thing will come later. Once it is here, we can say that we have transformed into that beast or that machine that can dance gracefully. Since the goal might have always been this: to dance gracefully.

Zsuzsanna Komjáthy

References: 

André Lepecki. Singularities: Dance in the Age of Performance. New York: Routledge, 2016.

Wolfgang Welsch. Transculturality - the Puzzling Form of Cultures Today in Spaces of Culture: City, Nation, World, ed. by Mike Featherstone and Scott Lash, London: Sage 1999, 194-213. <http://www2.uni-jena.de/welsch/papers/W_Wlelsch_Transculturality.html, 01/12/2018.>

Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari. A Thousand Plateaus. University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, 1987.


Mit jelent “az”?

“>>Az<< tesz egy mozdulatot. >>Az << lehet egy férfi, egy nő, egy tetű, egy elefént.”

Gilles Deleuze & Felix Guattari


It will come later, magyarra fordítva: [Az] később következik – sokatmondó cím. Az iCoDaCo legutóbbi, Budapesten tartott munkabemutatóját követően pedig egyre csak azon tűnődöm: vajon mi következhet később? A bemutató, a pillanat, mikor felismerünk egy rejtett üzenetet, maga a tánc vagy valami egészen más?

Mi búvik e szavak ([Az] később következik) mögött, között és azokon túl? Mit jelent “az”?

A kérdés csábító (szinte szükségszerű) és egyben roppant komplex is, nehéz egyértelműen megválaszolni. Hiszen a mező, ahol bármiféle válasz után kutathatunk, vagyis mind a színpadon kibontakozó környezet, mind a kontextus, melybe a projekt beleágyazott, egy folyton alakuló, változó tér, melynek nincs egzakt, végső formája. Valójában egy illékony, ismeretlen kimenetelű változékonyság, „a test tér-leendése és a tér test-leendése, a szervek dolog-leendése és a dolgok szerv-leendése.” (Lepecki 2016: 181.)

A projekt szintjén “az” egy kritika felé mutat, méghozzá az interkulturalitás eszméjének kritikája felé. Az interkulturális ugyanis alapvetően az elszigeteltségben hisz, és „kultúrák elkülönülő karakterén” nyugszik (Welsch 1999).  Az iCoDaCo ezzel szemben a transzkulturalitás koncepcióját követi, mely szerint „az autentitás ma már folklór” (Welsch 1999), és egy hibrid, folyamatosan változó (tér-leendés) megközelítést képvisel, mind a projekt makro-, mind a munka mikroszintjén.

Nem véletlen, hogy Israel Aloni, az iCoDaCo vezető producere munkacímként az „Átváltozások” szót választotta. Itt, hat alkotó négy különböző országból egyesíti az erejét, hogy valami újat (mást) létrehozzon. Összekapaszkodnak, és egy új felszínt, új síkot kreálnak, melynek valójában sem eleje, sem vége nincsen – csak a közepe. Beszédes, hogy a választott alkotók/táncosok egyenként olyan helyről érkeztek, melyek a projekt kezdetén (is) komoly társadalmi kihívásokkal néztek szembe (a demokratikus működési modell megingott). 

- Hogyan hoztok döntéseket? – kérdezem.

- Közösen – feleli Vass Imre, a projekt magyar résztvevője, majd nevet. Visszanevetek rá, jóllehet tudom, igaz lehet.

- Nem dolgozunk csak úgy magunkban. Minden közösen csinálunk, már ami a projektet illeti. Bedobjuk az ötleteinket, és megnézzük, hová fejlődnek, mi lesz belőlük. Van, hogy egy mozdulat hirtelen egészen mássá válik, valami újjá, ilyenkor persze nagyon örülünk, hogy rátaláltunk erre a mozdulatra. Kísérletezünk, és aztán valami lesz – fejti ki részletesebben Lee Brummer (nem szó szerint ezekkel a szavakkal).

Az alkotás folyamatosan megújuló, demokratikus munkamódszere mellett maga az alkotás miliője (mint környezet) is állandóan változik. A résztvevők két-két hetet töltenek el a másik bázis országában, és ott workshopokon, munkabemutatókon, artist talk-okon stb. keresztül a helyiekkel is kapcsolatba kerülnek. A produkció minden egyes állomáson, minden egyes alkalommal ezen tapasztalatok, ezen benyomások és visszaigazolások szerint változik, módosul.

Tulajdonképpen azt mondhatjuk, hogy az alkotás minden síkján és szintjén:

  1. sík: a kontextus makroszintje (bázis országok);

  2. sík: a kontextus mikroszintje (alkotás helyei);

  3. sík: a létrehozás makroszintje (munka),

hasonló elrendeződéseket követ a projekt, és az egyetlen „fix” dolog, mely mindegyiken keresztül fut, az maga a változás, a leendés. Ez egy „követő” stratégia (az „utánzó” helyett), mely a változékonyság folyamatos variációja felé kötelezi el magát, és melyben az egyes síkok éppen az átváltozások által metszik egymást, hogy aztán a metszések és mutációk által egy sima, új felszínt alkossanak. Ez a folyamat pedig egy absztrakt munka felé mutat, egy örvénylő lebegés vagy vándorló vonal felé, mely mihelyst a megnevezésére teszünk kísérletet, kicsúszik a markunkból. Elszökik.

De vajon mit jelent „az” az előadás szintjén? Mi fekhet/rejtőzhet/szökhet az alkotás negyedik szintjén (a létrehozás mikroszintjén)? – Egyfajta veszély, vághatnánk rá, és nem is teljesen alaptalanul. Mert hiszen „az” abból a tér-leendésből táplálkozik, melyet az imént hiába próbáltunk megnevezni.

A közép közepén, a színpadon egy áttetsző függöny lóg. 

- Az előadás alatt végig azt próbáltam megfejteni, mi lehet a függöny szerepe. – mondja Albert Dorottya (tánckritikus) a munkabemutatót követő beszélgetésen. A szavai pedig elgondolkodtatnak. Vajon a függöny szimbolizálhatja „azt”? Vagy, a hasonlóság modelljén kívülre helyezkedve, talán úgy kérdezhetnénk: vajon a függöny „az”? 

Annyi bizonyos, hogy a függöny valahol annak a „vándor vonalnak” (vagy szökésvonalnak) a helyét jelöli, melyről fentebb beszéltem. Összekapcsol, mobilizál és néha elrejt dolgokat a színpadon, létrehoz egy „oszthatatlan távolságot, mely szakadatlanul átváltozik, és melyet lehetetlen szétmorzsolni vagy megváltoztatni anélkül, hogy az elemei természetükben ne változnának minden egyes alkalommal” (Deleuze–Guattari 1987: 31-33.).

Az előadók pedig ebben a szakadatlanságban mozognak, vagy inkább vannak „mozgatva egy dolog által” (vö. Lepecki 2016: 60-70). A mozdulataik idegenek, személytelenek és megszállottak, mintha nem hozzájuk tartoznának egészen. Mintha a mozdulatokat állandóan felülírná az a dolog-leendés, melyet magukban hordoznak, és ezzel párhuzamosan, mintha ők maguk is folyamatosan felülírnák az átváltozásokat, melyek őket hordozzák.

Van, hogy a táncosok görcsös, valamiféle furcsa uralom alá vont izom-szobrokba rándulnak, melyek láthatóan az akaratuk ellenére mozognak (vagy vannak mozgatva). Máskor egyesített erővel, torz akaratként igyekeznek azzá az intenzitássá válni, ami a dolgokat, a történéseket előmozdítja. De vajon mit jelent mindez? Hová, merre mutathat?

André Lepecki gondolatmenetét követve a „mozgatva egy dolog által” összefüggéseinek megértésében, azt mondhatjuk, hogy egyfajta szingularizáció felé. Egy olyan kritikus mozgás felé, mely a szubjektivitás peremén cikáz, és mely egy radikális elrendeződést nyit meg annak közelében: egy elmozdulást a lehetetlen felé, elmozdulást a dologként-való-mozgás felé.

De ez, ha minden igaz, ez majd később jön; a dologként-való-mozgás később következik. És ha egyszer itt van, akkor majd mondhatjuk, hogy azzá a bestiává, azzá a masinává változtunk, mely képes kegyelemmel táncolni. Mert a cél sosem volt más: kegyelemmel táncolni. 

Zsuzsanna Komjáthy

(Az eredeti angol, What does ‘it’ mean? című szöveg szerző általi fordítása)

Idézett szövegek: 

André Lepecki. Singularities: Dance in the Age of Performance. New York: Routledge, 2016.

Wolfgang Welsch. Transculturality - the Puzzling Form of Cultures Today in Spaces of Culture: City, Nation, World, ed. by Mike Featherstone and Scott Lash, London: Sage 1999, 194-213. <http://www2.uni-jena.de/welsch/papers/W_Wlelsch_Transculturality.html, 01/12/2018.>

Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari. A Thousand Plateaus. University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, 1987.

Transformation tema för dagen / Britt Nordberg (SWE) by Israel Aloni

Britt Nordberg, a freelance culture journalist and researcher of performing arts followed the creation process of it will come later by iCoDaCo 2018-2020 during the residency in Uddevalla Sweden, in October 2018. Then, the piece was still under the working tittle - transformation.
Since then, we had the world premier of it will come later on the 22nd of November at the BalletOFFFestival in Krakow, Poland.

As the year approaches its end, it is a great moment to look back, reflect and dive into the beautiful expressions of the writers and theorists that followed our creation process.

Britt Nordberg’s text is currently available in Swedish only, but we will publish its translation into English in the coming weeks.


Transformation tema för dagen

I have transformed in my heart not yet in my mind

It keeps happening to me

Med de tre raderna klingande i bakhuvudet och synminnet av Lee Brummers upprepade försök att fysiskt åskådliggöra dessa ord lämnar jag Regionteater Väst i Uddevalla efter en heldag med två tredjedelar av den internationella dansgruppen iCoDaCo. Dansarna är gäster som artists in residence i två veckor. Detta är den näst sista dagen och dansarna förklarar valet av sitt residens i Uddevalla med att det dels var den scen som var tillgänglig i Västra Götaland och att det dessutom passade in på syftet att sprida den moderna danskonsten geografiskt. Regionteater Väst har en unik ställning i dans- Sverige med sin fasta dansensemble i Borås och sin scen för gästspel i Uddevalla för den nutida dansen. Det projekt som gruppen iCoDaCo bjudit in mig att ta del av för en dag har fått medel från EU-organet Creative Europe. Jag hamnar nu mitt i en process, som pågått i snart sex veckor. En föreställning med arbetsnamnet ”It will come later” är i vardande. Van att se ett dansverk först i samband med premiär sätter jag mig med spänning på åskådarplats framför en scen med fyra nästan tak-till-golv-långa vita gardinvådor som scenografi. De kan ömsom utgöra en vägg eller snörpas åt i midjan för att skapa öppningar i rummet.

Redan i entrén till teatern har jag mött sju ungdomar från Uddevallas dansgymnasium, sex flickor och en pojke. De är inbjudna att delta i den dagliga inledande uppvärmningen.

Den igångsätts av en synnerligen laddad, entusiastisk och leende Eddie Ladd, dansare och koreograf från Wales med diger meritlista, bland annat som ”kontroversiell” TV och radio-gäst. Senast 2016 fick hon den walesiska teaterns pris som bästa dansare. Nu ska hon få med sig sju morgontrötta gymnasieelever i en träning som inleds med att springa fritt runt på golvet i allt högre tempo. Fascinerad av hennes lust och energi rycks också jag upp på golvet en stund.

Grejen är att göra snabba val i att tvärvända eller stoppa, är ett av flera kommandon.

Snart beordrar hon ”Pick a partner” och övningarna övergår till att göras två och två och blir lite mer fysiskt avancerade, varpå två av eleverna avviker med ont i rygg respektive ben som ursäkt.

Efteråt enas eleverna, om än fåordigt, om att det varit givande att få delta i en annorlunda träning än den på skolan och att lära sig ta instruktioner på engelska.

Efter hand har också ytterligare tre dansare i projektet anslutit sig till träningen. Där är Lee Brummer, som är projektets ledare tillsammans med koreografen Israel Aloni. De är båda också grundare av det göteborgsbaserade internationella danskompaniet ilDance, varur ensemblen ilCoDaCo bildats och där Lee Brummer representerar Sverige, trots sin multikulturella, brittisk-israelisk-svenska, bakgrund. Övriga två dansare på plats i Uddevalla är Mui Cheuk-Yin och Joseph Lee med imponerande meritlistor från deltagande runt om i världen men med sin bas fortfarande i hemlandet Hong Kong. Det tycks helt i linje med Creative Europes policy att kontakter knyts också utanför Europa.

Jag väntar med spänning på att ytterligare två dansare ska infinna sig men får, till min besvikelse, veta att Weronika Pelczyńska från Polen och Imre Vasi från Ungern redan avvikit från repetitionerna i Sverige för att åka hem inför nästa residens i Budapest. Jag inser att de spänningsfält som kunnat uppstå mellan representanter från så skilda kulturer som det av Kina hårt ansatta Hong Kong, de allt mer politiskt pressade eu-länderna ur det före detta kommunistiska östblocket, ett evigt ifrågasatt Israel, det brittiska Wales och ett Sverige i jakt på en ny regering i alla fall inte står på dagordningen denna dag. Det gör däremot Kroppen! Och nu följer ett utforskande av överraskande slag.

Efter uppvärmningen tar nämligen en programpunkt kallad ”exercising the brain” plats i fikarummet. Det handlar om att gå igenom de idéer som ska ta form med Lee Brummer som effektiv förande av ord och anteckningar. Rubrik för dagen är ”Transformation”. Inte bara i betydelsen förändring utan om att komma vidare till något som inte prövats tidigare, både individuellt och i grupp. Följer gör en ordväxling som bygger vidare på tidigare samtal och strategier, som jag inte varit delaktig i och därför har vissa svårigheter att följa. Som tillfällig deltagare får jag successivt en uppfattning om hur ett helt igenom improviserat modernt dansverk kan byggas upp bit för bit för att sedan, om möjligt, bli ett sammanfogat helt. Det står ännu inte klart hur slutprodukten ska presenteras. Det är det tillståndet som arbetstiteln ”it will come later” syftar på, som ett svar på frågor som uppstått inför varje idé.

Jag inser efterhand att detta i huvudsak ska handla om kroppen. Lee Brummer refererar till tidigare övningar och jag förstår av samtalen som förs att man arbetar med olika ingångar som har med kroppens funktioner att göra. Frågorna som ställs är att finna övergångar från kroppen till huvudets anatomi, därifrån till hjärnan, kreativiteten, fantasin, andra kroppsfunktioner, olika former av transformation som också inkluderar kulturella skillnader i ritualer, vanor, lekar, förhållandet mellan information och nonsens, medicinska myter som att kunna bota sin egen cancer, om kommunikation också med publiken.

Lee Brummer noterar rutinerat för hand i en liten skrivbok, inte olik forna tiders skolhäften. Samtalet blir allt intensivare. Jag blir mer och mer medveten om att jag tar del av en väl praktiserad arbetsmetod för ett konstnärskap som ska ta form där och nu utan manus att utgå från och svårintagligt för den som inte varit med tidigare i processen. Till utforskandet av kroppens funktioner visar sig också ingå en så naturlig produkt av fysisk ansträngning som svett, för mig det mest överraskande inslaget. På scengolvet står sex små namngivna glasburkar, där dansarna förväntas samla in den svett de alstrar. Eddie Ladd tycks vara upphovet till detta inslag och också försvarare av dess plats i föreställningen. Hon demonstrerar villigt för mig hur insamlandet av svett går till. Jag snappar vidare upp att ett inslag ska handla om skulpturer och hur deras betydelse kan förändras genom tiderna, från att representera hjältar till att krossas. Idén kommer inte oväntat från den polska icke närvarande dansaren. Mui Cheuk-Yin försöker tänka ut hur hon ska gestalta sin egen födelse, så som hon fått den berättad av sin mamma.

Så läggs en pusselbit till en annan och en erfaren koreograf som Lee Brummer börjar se hur delarna kan haka i varandra till en helhet. Det börjar stå klart för mig att det ska bli ett dansverk som också inbegriper text både dansarna sinsemellan och i kommunikation med publiken.

Efter lunchpaus återupptas det fysiska gestaltandet av de idéer som tidigare diskuterats. Jag lyckas totalt missförstå ett hårdfört drama som jag i efterhand får förstå ska illustrera en ansträngning som går ut på att alstra svett och inte, som jag tolkade det, att handla om förtryck i någon mening.

Fler scener repeteras, upprepas och diskuteras. Stämningen är god och lekfull med samtal och synpunkter som leder vidare i själva utförandet. Tankar som uppstår under arbetets gång skrivs spontant ner på lappar som fästs på golvet. Det finns fler idéer än som kommer att användas, får jag veta.

Vad jag upplevt under dagen är fyra frilansande dansare från tre olika länder och kulturer men med så stor erfarenhet av internationellt utbyte att de är medvetna om de eventuella kulturella olikheter som förekommer. Att bara en av dem talar sitt modersmål, engelska, uppfattar jag inte som något större hinder. Om det gör skillnad när gruppen är fulltalig får någon annan avgöra, då tanken med projektet är att utforska både olikheter och likheter i kulturer och hur man kommunicerar utifrån olika språkliga bakgrunder. Det är å andra sidan det som gäller inom de flesta större europeiska danskompanier.

Även om vissa av dansarna i detta projekt från början varit nya för varandra så tycks sex veckors intensivt samarbete ha utvecklat en väl fungerande grupp. Så har jag upplevt något av en högst kreativ och professionell workshop som ska fortsätta i Budapest och avslutas i Krakow, där resultatet av ”It will come later” ska ha sin premiär den 22 november. När det blir Sveriges tur är inte avgjort ännu. Men med tanke på att Sverige ofta ligger lite i utkanten av de internationella kulturella korsvägarna så ser jag längtansfullt fram emot att uppleva vad de sex dansarna i detta projekt slutligen arbetat fram.

Britt Nordberg

frilansande kulturjournalist och recensent av scenkonst

Text contribution by Dylan Huw (Wales) by Israel Aloni

It’s like group therapy almost

On the margins of language, movement and creation


I have no verbs probably to describe what the hell just happened

Lee Brummer, dancer, Wednesday 12.09.18

***

On my first day observing the early stages of the ICoDaCo process in Cardiff’s Chapter arts centre, it is Lee’s turn to propose a group exercise. She would like to probe the meaning of transformation (the project’s “guide word”) more deeply – to question and deepen her collaborators’ assumptions about what it fundamentally means to transform, to be transformed, or to experience transformation. 

The task she sets is simple. Each of the dancers is to sit alone – it ends up being for around an hour – and write about a transformation they have personally experienced, which they then read aloud to the group. They can approach their text, and indeed the idea of “transformation,” in any which way they choose.

I know words better than I know dance; I feel safer, somehow, listening and responding to language. As I observe the dancers writing – sat in separate corners of the room, deep in the strain and internal chaos of personal reflection – I realise this safeness has a more profound dimension than I might have initially assumed. What I am observing is artists at work; producing something (in this case, writing; usually dance) out of the raw material of memory and imagination. Does the specific medium of an artist’s response to a topic, an idea or a memory truly matter that much? A (dance) artist at work is an artist at work. This becomes a central theme of the day. 

Transcultural collaboration in movement, with the goal of creating a group dance piece, which is the premise of ICoDaCo, nonetheless becomes something very different once you reduce (if only briefly) that collaboration to a language-, speech- or writing-based kind. Its intercultural nature is a central part of ICoDaCo’s fabric, but the pleasures or difficulties which we usually project onto intercultural communication are largely absent in a movement-based practice; different languages, accents, worldviews, backgrounds, approaches are elided when a group’s collaboration is so purely physical. Lee’s task foregrounds these elements to the group’s collaborative relationship, introducing the issue of language to the group dynamic.

The individual transformations explored by each of the performers in their responses to Lee’s task range from the banal to the immensely poignant. Joseph reads bilingually, in his native Cantonese and in English, withholding the specifics of his transformation to the rest of us in the room, who do not speak Cantonese. Thus, we only hear about the impact this mysterious seismic event had on him. Eddie’s – also delivered bilingually – is a two-pronged narrative, about a boy in Eddie’s school who replied to a teacher asking what he wants to be when he grows up with “I want to be a horse,” and evokes the story of the martyred Welsh Benedictine monk, Saint John Roberts. Vasi recalls the first time he witnessed contemporary dance – a piece entitled Group Therapy –  and invites us, his listeners, to dream with him, imagining ourselves travelling through time like the figures in Chris Marker’s La jetée. Veronica addresses a rehearsal in which she and a collaborator appeared to switch bodies, a transcendentally intimate experience. “Language,” she says, “seems to poor to describe it.” Finally, Lee opens up with two comparably intimate experiences, exploring what it means to belong to someone in the most primal sense.

After everyone has recited their transformation, one of the dancers verbalises what we are all thinking: this exercise, it’s like group therapy almost.

***

Do we think transformations as necessarily having a before and after? Or are ‘transformative’ events usually more suspended in time? This becomes the defining conundrum of the day, around which all others necessarily revolve. I keep returning to how Joseph kept self-correcting as he read his transformation. Remembering is fluid, and so are writing and reciting. How do we express the act of reflecting, that fluidity, in movement? What rituals, and which details, might make very personal reflections into something collective?

***

The next step in Lee’s exercise is a more challenging one. The dancers are to recite isolated lines from their transformative texts at random, all at the same time, creating a collective rhythm in which their narratives collide and complement each other. They gradually begin to seem to tune into one another.

“We call it group therapy.” 

“Dwishe bod yn geffyl” – I want to be a horse.

“Why does this keep happening to me?” 

“It just felt right.” 

“I was standing stage right.”

“Forgetting is definitely not an option.”

“What a waste of life.”

These phrases, birthed in different languages and from very different contexts, begin to assume the character of a large abstract narrative, an obscure sound essay on the many different voices of transformation, a choose-your-own-adventure story, perhaps.


Someone interrupts the vocal collage to ask: Is transformation always poetic? What does (or how would) non-poetic transformation look and feel like? Nobody has the answer.

***

After my first day with ICoDaCo, snippets of speech from the group voice exercise ring around my head like a stream of nonsense consciousness:

“From outside, there is one noticeable transformation.”

“Sai’n cofio beth wedes i.” – I can’t remember what it was I said.

“I tried to find respect.”

I was struck then – and the sensation lingered – by how easily these alternately profound and life-altering and disturbing recollections were rendered sort of banal through endless repetition, the phrases weaved among one another in so many ways as to make their meanings, well, meaningless.

The transformations the collaborators addressed were all very different, but some pertinent themes appeared in all of them. The voice-collage exercise, in particular, appeared to emphasise the strange continuities in these very different narratives. Almost all the dancers’ transformations addressed an element of being lost – and most of them contained an element of transformation in the sense of wanting to be someone else. Someone uses the phrase “different losts,” a method of making sense of the chaotic disorientation to which Lee’s task gave way.

What better phrase to describe the challenge, the awkwardness, the joy, of trying to evoke transformation in collective movement – or of the act of collaboration itself. We are always in the process of navigating the “different losts” which dictate our lives and creative outputs. Through the kind of collaboration which ICoDaCo enacts, we tread paths that, if they might not show us ways of being less lost, might at least guide us in making those different losts into something beautiful; perhaps, even, something transformative.

Dylan Huw

Hong Kong, the first physical meeting by Gwyn Emberton (English & Welsh) by Israel Aloni

I am writing this at 5.09am British Summer Time on Sunday 26th August. I have been back on the Isle of Britain from Hong Kong Island for about 36 hours and the jet lag got me out of bed at 4.30am – 11.30am in Hong Kong. International collaboration

I miss it but I am glad to be home.

I miss the team after our first meeting. I miss the space, I miss the Ding Ding that we took to the studio, I miss the bento lunch boxes we ate, I miss my new colleagues from across the globe, I miss hearing the artists finding out about each other and figuring out how they are going to work together, I miss seeing this happen, I miss being surprised when I hear the new ideas, inspirations, developments that are being talked about.

The first meeting is always the hardest.

There are so many questions.

  • Who are these other people in the room?

  • What do they do?

  • What kind of artist are they?

  • Where do they come from?

  • Why are they here?

  • How can we possibly make a work together?

This is added to the fact that the subject matter is so broad - Transformation is a huge topic.

How will six people who have very different approaches to making dances and theatre choose where to start?

It is like putting six pins on the map of the universe…

Some will dive into a process, some will consider, some will consider then dive then consider some more, some will dive then consider if that was the right place then back up and start again….

The first residency is done. Wow, that was fast. We are a fifth of the way there already. The work is moving forward. A new process has started, and it is exciting.

Hong Kong

Y cyfarfod wyneb yn wyneb cyntaf

Rwy'n ysgrifennu hwn am 5.09am Amser Haf Prydain, ddydd Sul 26 Awst. Rydw i wedi bod yn ôl ar Ynys Prydain o Hong Kong ers tua 36 awr, ac oherwydd y jetludded dihunais am 4.30am – 11.30am yn Hong Kong. Cydweithio rhyngwladol...

Rwy'n gweld eisiau'r profiad, ond rwy'n falch i fod gartref.

Rwy'n gweld eisiau'r tîm ar ôl ein cyfarfod cyntaf. Rwy'n gweld eisiau'r stiwdio, rwy'n gweld eisiau'r Ding Ding oedd yn ein cludo ni yno, rwy'n gweld eisiau bwyta o'r bocsys bwyd bento, rwy'n gweld eisiau fy nghydweithwyr newydd ar ochr draw'r byd, rwy'n gweld eisiau clywed yr artistiaid yn dysgu am ei gilydd ac yn penderfynu ar sut i gydweithio, rwy'n gweld eisiau gweld hyn yn digwydd, rwy'n gweld eisiau cael fy syfrdanu wrth glywed y syniadau, ysbrydoliaethau a datblygiadau newydd sy'n cael eu trafod.

Y cyfarfod cyntaf yw'r anoddaf, bob tro.

Mae cymaint o gwestiynau.

·     Pwy yw'r bobl eraill yma yn yr ystafell?

·     Beth maen nhw'n ei wneud?

·     Pa fath o artistiaid ydyn nhw?

·     O ble maen nhw'n dod?

·     Pam ydyn nhw yma?

·     Ym mha ffyrdd posibl allwn ni gydweithio?

Mae hyn yn ogystal â'r ffaith bod y pwnc dan sylw mor eang – mae Trawsnewid yn bwnc enfawr.

Sut bydd chwe pherson sydd â dulliau gwahanol iawn o greu dawnsiau a theatr yn dewis man cychwyn?

Mae fel rhoi chwe phin ar fap o'r bydysawd...

Bydd rhai'n bwrw ati i ddilyn proses, bydd eraill yn pendroni, bydd rhai'n pendroni ac yna'n bwrw ati ac yna'n pendroni mwy, bydd rhai'n bwrw ati ac yna'n ystyried ai dyna oedd y lle cywir i ddechrau ac yna'n camu yn ôl i ddechrau eto...

Mae'r cyfnod preswyl cyntaf ar ben. Waw, roedd hynny'n gyflym. Rydyn ni wedi gorffen un rhan o bump o'r broses yn barod. Mae'r gwaith yn symud ymlaen. Mae proses newydd wedi dechrau, ac mae'n gyffrous.



Reflections in Hong Kong, August 2018. by Israel Aloni

Jacqueline Wong, iCoDaCo producer in Hong Kong wrote on the 17th of August:

Before the first open rehearsal taken place, I was hesitate to predict what reactions would come from the audience. Though the residency in Hong Kong was the first encounter of the collective after 8 months of online communication, the first open rehearsal was taken place on the fourth day of the residency which implied that we could expect very few to share with the audience. Surprisingly (at least to me), the audience has shown tremendous concentration and stayed curious throughout the one-hour-sharing, which started with improvisation by the collective and followed by a session led by Weronika that was inspired by the politically related statues of Poland.

Wayson Poon, dancer from Hong Kong

Wrote on the 20th of August 2018, in reflection on the iCoDaCo work in progress sharing in Hong Kong:

Simple yet decent, the ambience in the room was one of the enticements to the audience. The immense possibilities created by the collective, of which each member comes from a unique cultural background, dance training and practice, made me curious for how the work will be developed in the following creative residencies in other countries.





Marta Wołowiec after the 1st residency in Hong Kong. Written 27th of August 2018 by Israel Aloni

I didn’t suppose the collective work can be so difficult.

It was very interesting to observe the artists’ work. Their struggles, feelings and communication. Can’t wait to see what will happen with the process and creation in the next residencies.  

Today, after two weeks I have some doubts if democracy is the best system for cooperation.

I hope to think differently after two years of the whole project.



Notes by Imre Vass from the 28th of August 2018 by Israel Aloni

22 hrs after a deadline, 40 minutes before take off sitting in front of gate nr. 161.

Wednesday, 8th of November 2056.

Date of my departure from this 3D land, the interweb says so.

I am checking another site, the result is: 29th of June, 2047. I stop checking.

Stretched between data, numbers, characters, symbols, information I am aware of the need of locating oneself in the spacetime fabric. 

I am aware. But am I interested in locating \ defining?  

Transformation happens on it's own accord. I respect that. The universal machinery just works fine. Doesn't need me to fix things or to improve stuff. But I am happy to do the daycare, to change diapers, do the shopping or art. 

Observing the air passing through my nostrils, the skin of my palms touching and sensing the plasctic chair, my back giving its wait to the backrest. Am I being autistic or somatic now?

My body has to be transported now elsewhere... it is boarding time.