From 13 to 27th of September a group of Ukrainian artists worked in the cultural center of the Icelandic city of Egilsstadir to create a performative project "KNOTS." The project itself was conceived as a study of social communication in local communities and initiated by the artistic agency Black Orange dance productions. The project was produced by the school Austurland (Iceland), led by Ukrainian dancer and choreographer Alona Perepelytsia.
The preparation of the project was preceded by a research, the main part of which was an interview with the residents of Egilsstaldir. One of the key questions of the interview was the question of how people of different generations feel the physical presence of a loved one, how much they need it or, perhaps, in the era of modern means of communication, is no longer important. Can we assume that video calls will soon completely eliminate the need for personal meetings between people? What kind of information and what meanings can a person transfer staying in the same space with us?
Listening to the answers of people and looking closely at how their corporeality reacts to the questions asked, step by step the artists created a performance structure. Considering the choreographic background of three of the four authors of the project, the issue of bodily communication was and remains one of the most important in the study of dance and performative practices.
The cultural center of Slaturhus is a two-floors building, in which formerly there was an abattoir. This is how the name is translated into English. Artists built the performance as an installation, which was located on the entire area of the cultural center and gradually unfolded before the eyes of the viewer.
The installation included several video projections and performative actions in small isolated spaces of the gallery space, the purpose of which was interaction with the audience and between the audience through various communication channels - sound, body, visual contact, dance.
The action attracted the attention of the audience already on the street and further entrained itself, ending with a simple question that the artists addressed to the audience: "What message would you like to receive right now?". Suggesting that this message can be received in any way of those already studied in the performance process.
As a result, the performance was shown three times. Also the artists had two meetings with students of the local college. Of course, work in such small communities (the population of Egilsstaddir is 2,600 people) is associated with certain challenges for artists. On the one hand, it facilitates communication, since there are not many people in the city. And on the other hand - people in such cities know each other, live in a very settled rhythm and move along the usual trajectories. Despite the fact that it's easy to attract their attention with something new, but it's rather difficult to get them out of warm houses for viewing and participating in an art event. Nevertheless, the artists believe that the project was a success and that it has a future. On September 30, in Kiev in PostPlayTheater, Artist Talk with the project participants took place.
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The author of all photos and the co-author of the project: Alexander Dolovov.