The embryonic starting point of Spacewalk appeared in the body of research and reflections produced by my previous work Higher.
The main focus of that project was the experience of ecstatic dancing, as during the activity of clubbing, and the performativity developed in the research looked at trance as a state that allows a sculptural shaping of the dancing body-mind.
In Spacewalk, the state of trance, which manifests in a sense of “travel”, inspired me to treat the theatre (as space and as event), in order to translate that abstract sensation into an esthetic and performative experience.
The realm of the virtual, seemed to relate directly with the kind of space I was looking for, a space that looses its intrinsic connection with time, and that therefore becomes infinite not just in its dimension, but as well in the sensorial experience of the subject.
I researched in my studio on how to create a physical stage architecture that could be suggestive of such space, and on which performers could project the augmented reality rendered in their imagination while entraining a light trance induced through dancing.
The set design of Spacewalk, is therefor an ideal archeological site of the future, where the remains are used as the receptacles of vaster virtual architectures, on which the performers project and inhabit their imagination.
In Spacewalk we travel through different spaces; starting from the concrete space of the theatre and the stage, passing through the augmented virtual space imagined and projected by the performers on the stage design, and finally attempting a soft landing into the infinite space of the unconscious, as we witness the performers practicing a semi dormant state.
Finally the performance invites the audience to reconfigure the quality of the space of the theatre as event, which shifts and flirts with other forms of presentation such us installation or exhibition.
concept & choreography Michele Rizzo / with Emma Daniel & Valerio Sirna / stage design & light Michele Rizzo & Lukas Heistinger / sound Au†isms / advise Juan Pablo Cámara / production Frascati theatre / co-production Dansmakers Amsterdam, Campo, ICK Amsterdam, AFK / 3D images Antanas Skucas
HIGHER is a dance ritual inspired and based on the experience of clubbing and club dancing. Such form of dance, which is not easily ascribed to any category, taking the cultural role of a social dance and also at times featuring various techniques, styles and influences, is extremely explicative of what ultimately is the purpose of dancing, intended as a human form of expression.
Philosopher Julia Kristeva once said: “ As to be human embraced political, sexual, religious, familiar identity, we are undergoing a time of major identity crises. We need to find a language that transcends the human in order to over come such crises and awake a new Renaissance. This language can be dance”. I interpret this cathartic power of dance, as its being a form of prayer and celebration of existence, and I found in the club a place for such transcending activity, which entirely matches the often used association of clubs to churches, however obscured by the most common understanding of clubbing as a mere recreational activity.
In this performance, while trying to transfer the magical essence of the club in the theatrical/representational context of the black box, and trusting in dance as the practice that compensate for the fact that we can never be each other, we attempt in becoming one.
Concept and Choreography: Michele Rizzo / Music: Lorenzo Senni / Performance: Juan Pablo Camara, Max Goran, Michele Rizzo / Light design: Michele Rizzo / Production: Frascati Theatre and ICK Amsterdam / Special thanks to Lucas Heistinger, Bogomir Doringer, Katerina Bakatzaki / image 1 Alwin Poiana
male fa male 2015
This work, made for my graduation show at Dirty Art department (Sandberg Institute, Amsterdam), directly proceeds from my research regarding artistic practice as a model for processes of self actualisation, meaning the approach towards creative skills as ways of developing the self and its humanity.
I have approached skills (specifically clay sculpting, club dancing, and finally the one of making an object of design) not as acquired knowledge in order to achieve a result, but rather as Deleuze defines it in his essay The logic of Senses, meaning as a way to capture imagination. And I found out that the best way of learning a skill consists in the strongest believe of already owning it.
Finally I used the skills not just to produce those objects, which in large measure were more pretexts in order to sculpt the skills themselves, and myself opening them.
I wanted to create a space that could perform the in between status of being artist and art, object and subject, process and product at the same time. A space that therefor necessitates to present itself as imagination, as a charged desert in which life and death, ecstasy and rest, gallery and theatre, pedestals and furnitures, real and hyper real crystallised in a hybrid state.
M is not I, M is my project, so it’s really me.
Like me, M was born in 1984, but I met him only in 2013, when I finally made him. Around this time I came across a poem by Juan Ramon Jimenez that obsessed me, and that says:
“I am this one walking beside me whom I do not see, whom at times I manage to visit, and whom at other times I forget; who remains calm and silent when I talk, and forgives, gently, when I hate, who walks where I am not, who will remain standing when I die.”
At first, I created a number of self-portraits and I performed them, in the attempt of manifesting what makes all those images outside my own physical body, alive. M said to me that that’s not easy thing to do, and reminded me of another poem, by Arthur Rimbaud:
“A soldier, very young, lies open mouthed, a pillow made of fern beneath his head (…) He sleeps in sunlight, one hand on his breast; at peace. In his side there are two red holes”.
Oh, I hated M for being so harsh on me. And he, my project, hated me in return. Till one day, when the anger seemed to be over, I asked M if he loves me again. He said to me that to be loved is the way one loves. So I smiled, and he also did.
In the summer of 2012, right after graduation at the School for Dance Development in Amsterdam, I started my first choreographic residency in Maribor, Slovenia. Arriving in the studio, I was confronted with the circumstances designed by the residency itself and by my condition of freshly graduated choreographer: I was in an empty room with an infinite range of possible activities, themes and concepts, which I could have engaged with: to commit to any of them seemed to be betraying the others.
It was obvious that I had to make some choices and operate some distinctions. But those actions appeared to be questionable, since the very condition of being in the studio was attributing a strong meaning to what ever happened in such circumstances. So I abolished the option of distinguishing between relevant and irrelevant, and I decided to start my first work with what ever would first appear. The task seemed easy in it’s basic concept, but as I noticed that I was in a completely empty space, I soon began to be restless again, searching for a starting point. However, the solution manifested within the analysis of the crisis itself.
In fact, what I though was an empty studio it was not, as one of its walls was entirely covered by a mirror.
The first of all images, the specular image, was displayed in front of me. And so from there M started.
From that moment on the research continued naturally and almost spontaneously. At first I created more images of myself through photographies, until I managed to bring the reflection of my body out of the mirror, and I gave it the shape of a real size 3D copy of myself, with a mobile body made of foam and a wooden skeleton, and with very realistic facial features based on a silicone mold of my face. With my double I then created the M performance.
Describing it from the perspective of the audience, M starts with a naked performer transforming on stage into the character of a singer. The singer presents one song of a supposedly upcoming album. He sings it and leaves the stage. A dressed in black figure, from whom we cannot see the face, appears on stage dragging the dead body of the singer, and starts a ritualistic dance around the corps. After a while he reveals his features by removing a veil from his face. The dressed in black figure is the performer that was previously impersonating the character, the same character, whose body, he just dragged on stage. After the ritual, the performer packs the body of the singer in a bag and leaves the stage.
In this sense, the character of the singer is used in the performance as a tool or symbol in order to represent its central themes: the creation of an image and it ́s transcendence quality, the power of the image, the encounter of the image and the artist who created it, the mirroring quality of such process of creation, the juxtaposition of the alive image and the one emptied of life.
concept, choreography & performance: Michele Rizzo / Sound design: Julian Hetzel / Set design: Pierluigi Pompei and Katerina Dietzova / Light design: Vinny Jones / Dramaturgical advise: Snejanka Mihaylova & Manolis Tsipos / Technician light: Attila Nemeth / Production: Kim Eldering / Costume design: Gertjan Franciscus / Thanks to: ICK, Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst, Nagib (Maribor), Dans Makers Amsterdam, Renee Copraij, Igor Dobricic, Vincent Riebeek, Nicolas Roses, Manolis Tsipos
(by Igor Dobricic) This project proceeds from an attempt to display/offer a glimpse into the life of a contemporary dance maker at work in a studio. More specifically, it concerns Michele Rizzo’s idiosyncratic approach to such a life – his particular personal way of dealing with a situation of embodying, on a daily basis, double position of a choreographer and a dancer at work. Paradox of this project and a main dramaturgical and performative challenge (point of research) contained in it is how to, in literal rather than metaphorical sense, make an invisible, hidden creative process into the valid (visible) public product without compromising the integrity of neither. In this sense, project explores the limits of (in)visibility and self reflectivity in a work of a dance artist both from a personal and theatrical perspective.
It is of some importance to understand that this preoccupation is not a result of general theoretical considerations but it is rater a direct consequence of Michele’s actual working situation as it is shared between him and a dramaturg Igor Dobricic during the residency period in Maribor (Slovenia) last September. Although completely open, this concrete situation generated dilemmas and opened issues, that were reflecting both Michele’s personal disposition toward work and objective conditions of artistic production as they were proposed to him in a context of a Maribor residency. By entering, in a role of an external eye, Michele’s intimate space of a discipline, anxiety, boredom, desire, pleasure, and ultimately melancholy, Igor framed for him this “hidden” situation of studio work as a possible public event worthwhile considering. From that unexpected, shared insight two of them started developing performative strategies and tools to “frame the unframable”.
dust with vincent riebeek 2011