Branko Banković, Dina Ekštajn, Ida Jolić, Ana Mrak, Martina Tomić, Ana Vnučec
SET AND LIGHT DESIGN
Tena Bošnjaković, Ivan Mrđen
Studio Contemporary Dance Company
Premiere 24.05.2021. Museum of Contemporary Art, Zagreb
Thanks to: Croatian Environmental Protection Agency, Dobrila Zorić, Bernarda Cesar, The School of Applied Arts and Design, Marjan Maragunić, Zrinka Užbinec, Nikolina Pristaš, Tomislav Žilić, Zagreb Youth Theatre’s technical department.
The performance was financially supported by the Zagreb City office for culture, the Ministry of Culture and Media and Kultura Nova foundation, and realised within the Museum of Contemporary Art’s programme Antisezona 21.
Fantastic species arrived in a space that wasn’t originally theirs and in it they’re trying to build a new potential habitat. They are one organism and many at once, their wing moves around its communal body that doesn’t fly, they walk on a goat’s leg with a vulture’s claw, they don’t have their head where the head should be but somewhere else, and soon enough they have two and six heads, they can be an ant and a lion at once, it can stick to other bodies, sometimes it’s a stone, and sometimes it’s not there at all.
As such, this being is always escaping: it escapes being a fixed image of itself, it escapes our knowledge about it. It is an outlaw that always finds its escape route, even when there seems to be none (Oxana Timofeeva). It chooses to stay with the trouble (Donna Haraway) and by always constituting new relations between its composite parts, it develops its collective intelligence and affirms mutual aid as the key principle of evolution. This being, an ecosystem in fact, is aware that when one of its constituents disappears, its whole disappears as well, which was only temporary anyway. That way it creates an eternally shifting environment which keeps negotiating its own conditions of habitability.
The fantasticality of dance vocabulary is drawn from Jorge Luis Borges’ Book of Imaginary Beings, especially from the being called Baldanders which is used as a note for the principle of movement:
“Baldanders (whose name we may translate as Soon-another or T-any-moment-something-else) was suggested to the master shoemaker Hans Sachs (1494 – 1576) of Nuremburg by that passage in the Odyssey in which Menelaus pursues the Egyptian god Proteus, who changes himself into a lion, a serpent, a panther, a huge wild boar, a tree, and flowing water. Some ninety years after Sachs’s death, Baldanders makes a new appearance in the last book of the picaresque-fantastic novel by Grimmelshausen, The Adventuresome Simplicissimus (1669). In the midst of a wood, the hero comes upon a stone statue that seems to him an idol from some old Germanic temple. He touches it and the statue tells him he is Baldanders and thereupon takes the forms of a man, of an oak tree, of a sow, of a fat sausage, of a field of clover, of dung, of a flower, of a blossoming branch, of mulberry bush, of a silk tapestry, of many other things and beings, and then, once more, of a man. He pretends to teach Simplicissimus the art “of conversing with things which by their nature are dumb, such as chairs and benches, pots and pans”.
Baldanders is a successive monster, a monster in time. The title page of the first edition of Gimmelshausen’s novel takes up the joke. It bears an engraving of a creature having a satyr’s head, a human torso, the unfolded wings of a bird, and a tail of a fish, and which, with a goat’s leg, and vulture’s claws, tramples of a heap of masks that stand for the succession of shapes he has taken. In his belt he carries a sword and in his hands an open book showing pictures of a crown, a sailing boat, a goblet, a tower, a child, a pair of dice, a fool’s cap with bells, and a piece of ordnance.”
(Jorge Louis Borges: Book of Imaginary Beings, London: Vintage Classics, 2014)
Ana Kreitmeyer She is a dance artist, performer, and a member of the performative collective BADco. She has executed her interest for the body through different practices, from performative to choreographic, from pedagogical to social. As a coauthor, she has been active within the collective BADco and since 2003, she has developed her own choreographic works. She is an advocate for the independent dance scene in Zagreb, has been a publicly active member of the Croatian Dancers Association for many years as well as the Association’s president since 2016. She is a certified teacher of ContaKids Method. She graduated from the Faculty of Education and Rehabilitation Sciences.