Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Dance, blindness and a change of roles

Although I have been fascinated with blindeness lately, as I think of my small project to present in December, together with my project proposal and critical practice paper I have started asking myself how I actually want to incorporate blindness into my work. I am not interested into representing a story or a fairytale about blindeness. I guess that the subject itself is a complex one to touch upon in performance and visual arts, where meaning is brought about by the spectator's interpretation of visual and verbal language.

However I am determined to find a way in which to propose blindness within the performative space, where the audiences' eye sight might be challanged. In the meantime I came across an experimental dance performance choreographed and conducted by Berlin based dancer and choreographer Felix Ruckert in 2002. 

Secret Service invited the audience to become the centre of a performance piece where dancers blindfolded the audience from the very beginning and led them through a long journey of exploring their body language. The piece consisted of two parts. The audience was introduced to the rules of the piece, blindfolded and led into the performance space by the dancers. From there on, they were to trust their 'guide', their senses, their body impulses. The second part involved taking off clothing and pushing the body to other limits, which doesn't particularly interest me at that point.

What I find interesting about this piece is that it put the audience at the centre of the performance (although credits are given to the dancers that conducted the 'spectator-performer' into the space) and the total privation of seeing, which put the spectators in a position to entirely trust people they don't know.

The originality of the concept of Secret Service lies in the fact that spectators were basically treated as amature dancers. So I imagine this piece very much as a workshop, a trait that I find is becoming more common in performance nowadays. Is this a way of bringing the spectator closer to the performer, making the work more widely accessible and responding to the ever growing needs of spectators to be on equal terms with the performer? Where does  a performance stop being one and becomes an open workshop?

No comments:

Post a Comment