CHOREOGRAPHING A CRISIS IN THE ANTHROPOCENE

 

 

FLOATING

You don’t know what the phrase ‚timing is everything‘ means cause you don’t know the concept of time. But for humans time and timing is everything.

So consequentially art is about time and timing. A human’s live is made up of a flow of events. In these strange times, this flow was disrupted, on a big, vast, global scale. It was as though this complex system of events that were all intertwined and co-dependent were now lines with loose ends floating around in the time-space-continuum. The timing of their extremely fast, rhythmized world had been disrupted and it was unclear to them, what this involuntary break, this silence and stillness would do to the dramaturgies of their lives. Usually there had always been a storm following such a quiet quietness. But with such a low low, how high would that peak get ? Does this scare you? Don’t be scared, we’ll always be around, you and me. And i mean forever. 

LETTER FROM THE 100 TRILLION BACTERIA IN YOUR DIGESTIVE SYSTEM

It had become very quiet. Also inside of you. I kept floating, all wet – like the saliva in your mouth – all the mucus in your stomach. Kind of slimy. And i was there in the midst of it all. Inside. Just waiting. Waiting for you to realize i was there. Waiting for you to recognize all the connections finally and that you were never really one - a singular individual identity -  but always many, a complex system of collaborators.

I had heard that there was an invisible force out there – killing millions. I had heard that change was coming. It was suddenly all over the place. But let me tell you this - you and me, we are gonna be floating for a while now. I can show you how it's done with patience. I have practiced for a long long time. 

THE DARKEST DAYS ARE THE SUNNIEST 

He is in pain and still he is making you laugh. And you know, you couldn't ask for a better shelter partner. You humans need each other. HIs embrace at night has become your secret life – savior. I believe, it is what keeps you sane in these strange and often scary times. It’s mostly sunny these days. Even though the sunniest days, have been the darkest lately.

From the outside it all looks pretty strange to be honest. It seems like you are all living in a parallel universe, and as though you made a secret pact to pretend, that everything is normal, when in fact nothing is normal at all.

It’s as though, you all collectively agreed on the fact that this is a crisis-mode, that all your behaviors and actions are extraordinarily weird but that you all keep up a sense of pretend-normalcy anyways, so as to protect your collective sanity. Something in this direction. I get it, kind of. 

What i hope for you all is that you'll realize that the fact that reality is shapelessly floating, gives each and every single one of you the possibility to actively participate in shaping the new one. And you have to stay very awake to do so! I know you are all tired and scared. But we need you to take this chance. There was a crack in the texture of reality, which allowed for you all to see alternative scenario's. If you don't hold onto them, ponder on them and start shaping a better one, we are all gonna be so fucked. So please, stay with the trouble, don't give up!

THE TOWER

It's like a bunch of piled up materials, a lot of materials of all kinds, piled up chaotically into some sort of tower. I am one of these materials. You see the thing is, that when one thing is shaken, moved, a tiny tiny element is taking on an unforeseen path, the entire tower, that’s been built over thousands of years, collapses. And not one element stays in place. I was flying around in high speed aimlessly for a bit there. It was quite exciting actually. And then the chain reaction took down everything.  The elements of the crooked tower will now all be laid out in front of you. No more up or down, higher or lower, faster or slower, no more hierarchies of elements in the tower. I lost my rather good position in it and i'm very curious to see what happens next. It will be up to you, collectively, to reassemble all the materials, including values and relations the world is made up of. So good luck with that!

THE OTHER NIGHT THE SKY WAS ON FIRE AND IT WASN'T GOOD

(or when the virus starts talking to you like an old friend) 

I know that for you humans it must be fascinating that in this completely material world, you are dealing with a threat invisible to you. I know that

you can hardly grasp the concept of it, as i am hardly a life form to you. I know that i'm a very abstract threat, it almost makes me proud, like a conceptual threat. And the effects are so very materialized, so real, so overwhelmingly  big and visible, tangible. How can such a tiny, invisible almost non-thing, have such a massive effect, you ask yourselves. 

It is really difficult to wrap one’s mind around - i agree. 

Maybe take it as some sort of reminder of all the invisible things, that are placed second in your consumerist, materialist society. Like values. Values are invisible things. Yet they are the pillars of your society, of your personalities. They are the pillars of your relations. Values and viruses. Both abstract, both invisible. Think about it. 

Either way, the threat is invisible. Which makes it hard to believe in it for you. And you very much believe in it, i know that,  but a lot of people have a hard time doing so.

It’s like believing in monsters or ghosts. And if me the virus is real, why would monsters and ghosts not be, right ? You see where i’m heading with this ?

The world is upside down. It’s like when Trump became president, and you said to yourself that if that's what reality is like now, you might as well turn into a monkey at any moment. Remember ?

And if a notion as small, invisible and abstract as me, kills millions, then why would ghosts not be around, you ask yourself! And it's a valid question.

Things aren’t what you thought they were. Not anymore. Everything is shaken, everything is shifting, and in this moment of a floating reality, the unreal seems much more possible than it ever has in your lifetime. That’s what i’m trying to say.

And meanwhile he is mostly just sitting there writing jokes, jokes about a post-corona future. They make me and my buddies crack up to be honest with you. They are quite funny and dark. I feel like his humor has gotten even darker, what do you think? And as much as that worries me at moments, i also get a hunch, that it might be the best way to confront this moment in history for you all. With a humor so dark, it makes your mind confront the worst possibilities, disguised as a joke, as a narrative, in order to perhaps prepare for the worst which might still to be coming. Maybe dark humor becomes the most sufficient practice for your minds to deal with the future, in case it will be dire, get harder, and be a big struggle. Which it very well might, from where i am standing right now. I can tell you that much. 

 

Whatever this future holds, i know you would gladly walk into it with him, hand in hand with his dark humor, his broken heart, and all the ghosts and monsters, you may encounter along the way. The laughter will always be near for the two of you. Oh you romantic souls. I'll leave you two in peace for now, you've grown on me. 

SUPERMARKET CHOREOGRAPHIES

(or the eloquent tomato box)

I see you each time, how mad you get at people at the supermarket, who don’t keep the distance. You get so mad at all the people navigating their bodies through spaces with no awareness. And this madness is very entertaining to me. 

You see, there is not so much else i can do in my day when my only job is to contain the tomatoes. It gets very monotonous, very fast. After all a tomato will always be a tomato. They are a rather simple-minded breed - i mean you run out if topics to discuss with them pretty quickly. So i observe your madness and how you then feel so arrogant for getting mad. I know you would like to give the whole of society choreography classes, to provide them with the most basic tools of perception of the body in relation to space and others. And you've got a point - choreography in that sense, can be life-saving at this point in time.

I would love to have a vibrant conversation with you about this topic the next time you pass by. I have a lot of observations i would gladly share with you. 

 

SELF-LESS SHELLS

You humans have, since the beginning, since i've know you, been a bunch of self-obsessed creatures. It has gotten much worse though recently. The whole individualist uniqueness question seems to keep you as busy as never before. And i mean it's already completely ridiculous that you have the presumptuous idea that you are separate from and privileged to the natural world, but that's a whole other issue. 

 

And now you struggle, of course - how does one keep a  a proper feeling of self in a completely shifted reality, you wonder.

You humans right now are all so dispersed, not in the moment, not able to focus, scatter brained. It's very interesting to watch. And you particularly don't fully feel like yourself these days. And i can very well imagine that when the context, you relate to and experience yourself within is so radically shifted, that you'd have a hard time preserving a sense of self, which is made up of relations to the world outside of you.

I could never really relate to this dilemma of yours though. But anyways.

I know that your work is temporarily non-existent. If your work has no place in this world, what does that make you, you wonder? Maybe you should consider defining yourself through something else rather than just work? I mean, that's just my opinion. 

Yes, you are a sharer, that's what i actually like about you. But he doesn't let you share too much, cause if he did he'd lose his sense of self, by focusing so much on someone else trying to restore their sense of self and then you'd all just be self-less shells, lost in a reality which is floating in space. That might be interesting though - i'd like to see what happens. 

 

Two self-less shells lost in space, taking care of each other. The one shell is being funny, the other shell is being sweet and so they float into the vastness of the universe...

FEAR AS A FAMILIAR COMPANION

 

 

I am you fear. I sit in our bones. I am what drives your actions. I might safe you all and i can be extremely dangerous at the same time.

But you're all getting used to me quickly now, we'll live closely for a while now, so we better become friendly. 

Like always in life, safety and stability comes hand in hand with giving up freedoms. How do you balance those, you wonder?

You are scared for yourself, for your loved ones, and for the stranger, you might endanger. Responsibility and solidarity have become the driving forces of your every action these days.

And it is a solid reminder that every action you take or don’t take has consequences and influences a picture much bigger than your self-revolving privileged lives. It’s a valuable reminder. You can thank me later. 

Solidarity comes in the shape of face-masks, hand-sanitizers and the way you navigate your bodies through the streets. It’s an interesting equation.

Responsibility comes in the shape of discipline, soap and the absence of touch. Not touching anything is the responsible thing to do.

Going about everyday tasks without ever touching a thing. I can help you with that. 

SWEET SWEET SHELTER 

Sleeping has become the shelter within the shelter.

Even though in my sleep all the fears and events manifest in dreams, dreams of burning skies, and hourlong torture sessions.

Still, a break from the horrific reality that unfolds in front of our eyes, since the dreams are just dreams and remain dreams. But the real world, everything outside this shelter, is real, remains real and will never turn out to have been just some insane nightmare.

This nightmare is real and it’s happening, and all we can do is watch and learn. As fast as we can.

Day by day we can watch, assess, learn, rethink, recover, sleep and go again.

In between some exercise, a lot of cake and as many moments of care and laughter as possible. A little bit of sun and that’s the best we can do i think.

NOTHING ON THE HORIZON

All the things, that were right in front of you humans disappeared into some kind of vague blur. You can’t seem to see anything on the horizon, can’t focus your vision.

 

Maybe you have to pick something and just place it there – in this image – right at the horizon.

What shall it be?

Of personal or professional nature?

A little red plastic toy or a palm tree? A book you will have written one day or a child you will have given birth to?

You all desire a goal, something to look forward to, something to work towards, so badly. Something concrete. Maybe that’s why you think about ‚next steps’ in your relationship so obsessively right now. Moving in, having a child, going on that trip you always wanted to take. Maybe that’s just one reason though.

But it is clear, that you are searching with urgency for a thing to pour all your energies into, something to work towards.

How about saving me, the planet, the thing that allows for you and the horizon exist, to begin with?

RADICAL HOPE 

 

nothing more.

THE GAP IN THE SURFACE OF REALITY 

Stop and breathe. Consider and reconsider. frequently. All the time. We need to stay as awake as possible. Don’t fall for the familiar. Don’t ever forget how life in the gap felt like. Don’t ever forget the things you found yourself feeling, hearing and seeing while you were in the gap.

Abstract Shapes

Karin Pauer/ Choreographer/ Dance