Wanås February-March, 2014

February-March, 2014

In February 2014, we installed Souvenir in the Konsthall at Wanås Konst. This was the beginning of our extended residency as part of the Dance Me exhibition. Dancer Kenneth Bruun Carlson and I completed a one-week research period in preparation for Konstrundan.

Wanås Konst_Rachel Tess_Souvenir_installation_Photo Wanås Konst1

Wanås Konst_Rachel Tess_Souvenir_installation_Photo Wanås Konst9

As a choreographer I am interested in how the choreographic act can be extended to the labor involved in the production of my choreographic work. This includes production: organization and collaboration with technical support as well as the two to three day construction (re-assembly) phase of the Souvenir project. In previous iterations of the project the dancers participated in the building of the structure. At Wanås I collaborated with the technical team for installation in the Konsthall and barn.

How does contact with the materials and architecture through hands on work effect the eventual outcome through performance?

-Within a large institution like Wanås Konst (or Baryhsnikov Arts Center and Governor’s Island) we (the dancers, choreographer, and lighting designer) have a framework that remains a constant. We understand how it is put together, what is weight bearing and what is less so, and how to move it in the most efficient manner. As the stable factor within the choreographic proposition, Souvenir provides us with a platform to assess the context in which we are situated. From inside of Souvenir’s walls we process the sound and light inherent to the site in which we are installed. We begin to understand how the audience moves through the world outside of our walls and are subject to their movement and choices once they enter the structure. Souvenir acts as a container for memory: the performer’s memories of previous performances, housed in their bodies over an extended run of performances. We begin to understand how the structure processes different situations and see how the choreographic proposition changes with each new context into which we interject the choreographic architecture. Our bodies become conditioned by the dimensions, textures, and proportions of the structure. Our senses become accustomed to the sounds and light filtered through the structure.

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