DIG: Ultimate Dancer (SCT/SWEDEN)| Hevi Metle
Time: 12.30pm – 6.30pm
Free – Drop-in – no ticket required
Part of Dance International Glasgow
This durational performance will take place in our front gallery as part of our Dance in the Gallery strand. You are welcome to stay for the duration, or to drop in and out during opening hours
This new performance will draw on a feminist approach to alchemy and transformation to explore matter and form. A durational work of six hours, six minutes and six seconds with slowly shifting bodies, a drawn out vocal composition, and sculptural material changing shapes and accumulating in the space.
Hevi Metle has an integrated touch tour, performed by Juliana Capes, and a visual description which will continually change the audience interpretation, and evoke new imagery through hundreds of riddles.
You are balanced in a place between dance and what I might call performance art (although I know that is a contested term, and worry about using it). What encouraged you to create a longer, durational work this time, and how does that fit with your previous work?
In most of my work I’ve made performance material which I can imagine existing for a longer duration of time, and feel sometimes that the choice of making the standard format of an hour long piece is often dictated by the presentation context, as my work is often programmed in festival contexts/double bills etc. in theatre spaces so there are some limitations there to what type of performance to make.
I’ve been interested in making work specifically for gallery spaces as these spaces offer more freedom in terms of allowing more time and perhaps a more relaxed way of engaging with performance as audiences are free to come in and out as they please.
For Hevi Metle we are making performance material which is very slow, repetitive or even static at times, so it will function very similarly to an installation. It changes over the course of the day so it can be watched in its entirety, or people can pop in and out of the space and just catch glimpses of it.
Can you tell me a little more about how feminism interprets the alchemical processes?
I’ve been doing a lot of research into alchemy and have felt that the basic idea of transforming a raw material into something solid and purified is quite a patriarchal process – to solidify and reach some kind of ‘end goal’ which is fixed. I am fascinated by the world view theories of the middle ages, how the body was interpreted and connected to the wider cosmos, and a more holistic approach to medicine and healing than what is established in the Western world today.
But the alchemists of that time were men who were celebrated as progressive thinkers, whilst the women doing similar type of experiments and thinking were later burnt as witches. So in the process of making this work I’ve been interested in a reverse alchemical process as a feminist approach. To take something solid and make it unrecognisable.
To use alchemical methods of repetition but not to purify into one thing, but to make it layered and to have infinite interpretations. To demonise sense-making and move more towards otherness and abstraction. I’m talking specifically here about using a reversed alchemy as an idea to approach the making of this piece, so there’ll be hints of that within the piece but it’s not necessarily about alchemy.
There’ll be a balancing act of encryption and access in the piece, so we’re developing integrated access functions to support audiences to interpret the work, but are simultaneously making the format of the audio description very cryptic. There’s encryption and dissolution of language present in the piece through riddles and slowed down sung text. We have also developed a form of phonetic writing which is like a fusion of ‘ye olde’ language and contemporary kids’ slang
There has been a theme in your work of shamanic, or spiritual process, that draws on psychedelic aesthetics. How does hevi metle continue with this interest?
Hevi Metle will have a very strong and mystical anti-Brexit aesthetic – it is a window into the unknown. We’re in the middle of the making process at the moment so the way we think of the piece is like: Imagine if Cleopatra was teleported into the future and joined a forest circus in Nottingham, made friends with some fairies who play in a heavy metal band and practice mime in their spare time. This is the vibe we’re going for!
The other side of your work is to challenge the expectations of what choreography can be: again, how does hevi develop this approach and the strategies you have used in the past?
The starting point for me in making this work was the question ‘how can choreography be experienced, if not visually?’. In Hevi Metle I am working collaboratively with choreographer and artist Angela Goh from Australia and Glasgow-based artist Michelle Hannah to develop ideas around body, metal and language.
We are also working with Visual Describer Juliana Capes to develop the integrated access such as description and a touch tour. Here we are thinking about choreographed touch, and how choreography can exist as text and sound or even scent. It’s a sensorial approach. We are working with physical practices of becoming 2D, or trying to materialise invisible imagery through mime. And choreography as sculpture. It’s a wild mix.
And the slightly dull question to conclude: what are you hoping that audiences will take away from the experience?
A brain blown to pieces by riddled beauty? Or – a slightly expanded state of mind.
ULTIMATE DANCER / LOUISE AHL
Created in collaboration and performed with Angela Goh and Michelle Hannah.
(Image description) From ah d’arc and in fin knit spayse reetches a bunch of fleshi and mellting dijitts 2 poll ish a shy knee, meh tallic oh bjeckt weeth purr feckt sylver balls. Dare r blakk nayles and abs trackt brewses hid den a mongst de mew tated flesh.
A Tramway co-production with BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art. Further support from Dance4, The Work Room, Siobhan Davies Dance and the National Lottery through Creative Scotland.
This project is informed by a period of choreographic research residencies with Critical Path at Tasdance and the Drill in Australia (funded by Creative Scotland and Australia Council for the Arts).