You are where I am not and I am where you are not.
is the over-arching choreographic approach Sabrina Huth and Ilana Reynolds have developed in their artistic research project on how to encounter the presence of someone who is in fact absent. Under the constraint they never meet in the flesh and have never done so far, since July 2018, Ilana and Sabrina investigate through spoken and written text, movement and performance, the imbricated relation(s) between presence and absence: how do we meet a body that is not here? And what do we share? They set up a series of what they call Interpersonal Fictional Realities – shared events, in which they inhabit the same place at different times, or different places at the same time. In this way, the absence of one another creates a set of conditions to experiment with modes of being-together whilst being physically remote.
*the ‘meeting’ point of shared material and immaterial traces (text, notes, objects, movements..) of the other’s absence and where I can imagine your immaterialized body choreographies.
*articulations and echoes of you not being here inscribed in my body.
*extend beyond the body of the performers; they manifest in the space between different places and temporalities; sometimes between different realities.
*considered through the lens of the virtual.
According to Deleuze and Guattari*, the virtual both composes reality and in itself contains all possible realities. It cannot be perceived or sensed because in order for those realities to be conflated they cannot all occur simultaneously in regular time or space. Yet its actualizations and effects are sensible and traceable. They manifest in the images and traces we co-create and collect of one another`s absence.
*Deleuze, Gilles, and Felix Guattari. 1994. What Is Philosophy? Translated by Hugh Tomlinson and Graham Burchell. New York: Columbia University Press.
Fictional places of meeting is the imagination I have of where or what you must be doing. That imagination I have not yet seen physically with my own eyes. It lingers in my thoughts as feelings, colors, textures…
The story begins…
…with a meeting that never took place.
On July 29th, 2018, we (Sabrina and Ilana) were supposed to meet in Vienna for a joint week-long residency called Mind the Dance during the 6th IDOCDE (International Documentation of Contemporary Dance Education) Symposium at the Impulstanz Festival in Vienna, Austria. One of us didn´t make it to Vienna, however, we decided to still work and exchange together from our respective places. The physical distance between us shaped our research: how were we going to collaborate without sharing the same time-space? How do we encounter a body that is not here? How does imagination and fiction of the other provide a potent and present space?
After the residency we were enchanted by the experience of the physical absence of the other. The absence of the other became alive. Imagination and fiction of the other allowed us to bridge the gap, the’ in-between spaces’ between each other, providing a potent and present space to work from. I put myself in the place you are in and where I am not.
Through our ‘never meeting’ and from the initial point of the residency, we have been developing various formats of artistic research including textual, visual and performative expressions. Up to now, the ongoing research project manifested into a series of Interpersonal Fictional Realities: the performance installation YOU ARE HERE (2019) (and its video documentation), the booklet A fictional double interview (2019), and the live performance Dance with me (2019).
We live in a time, in which the measure of presence is no longer closeness, and the measure of closeness is no longer touch.
Staging the presence of someone who is in fact absent, touches upon a broader social and cultural phenomenon: the dismantling of spatial proximity and the feeling of closeness. In our globalized age, entanglements reach way beyond what one might even perceive: *“Every act results from more than one can know, and bears consequences upon more than one knows.” Fostered by continually evolving communication and information technologies, the usage of mobile devices, and the impact of social media networks, like Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter etc., we have moved towards becoming involved with the world as a whole; lessening the geographically defined gap between one another.
At the same time, whilst transforming from local to global beings, we might have widened the gap with what is physically close to us. The very tissue of our spatial and relational experience has altered. Anthony Giddens, a British sociologist, recognized already thirty years ago, **“conjoining proximity and distance in ways that have few close parallels in prior ages”. Our concepts of space, time, and the relationships we live in have fundamentally changed . In such a situation, what kind of relationships to ourselves, others, and the world around us do we rehearse and perform by dancing and creating dances? What new forms of artistic production and collaboration can take place?
These are our current research questions.
*Chauchat, Alice. 2017.“Generative Fictions, or How Dance May Teach Us Ethics.” In Post-Dance, edited by Danjel Andersson, Mette Edvardsen, and Marten Spangberg, 29-43. Stockholm: MDT.
** Giddens, Anthony. 1990. The Consequences of Modernity. United Kingdom: Polity Press.
It made me think of the images and traces I have collected with you in mind. The present absences. Do I have to see something in order for it not to be absent? I think of the wind. Something I cannot see it but it has an affect on the water it brushes against. I can see that. I can’t touch wind, but I feel it against my skin.
What does a trace tell us about a missing process?
How do we create and feel together in the absence of the others?
Can we wonder and wander with an absence of direction or specific intent? Do we need to see/sense traces of one who is absent in order to experience them?
Allows me to imagine the place you are in, which bridges the gap/absence/ in-between-ness of another
Like the suspended leg before the next step
The purpose of the online portfolio
is to share with a wider audience the creative process Sabrina and Ilana both have been experiencing and developing. It aims to inspire, connect and further expand the research into other unimaginable realms.