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The following interview is with 2007 Venice Biennale Golden Lion awarded choreographer Chris Haring that presented his work “Deep Dish” wich is part of a trilogy dedicated to nature and to the theme of the garden used as a metaphor of the effort of the human being to control things and and the weakness of transient state. The piece has been performed by his company Liquid Loft and on the stage one of the dancers has used a videocamera to enhance the details of the fruits and vegetables that had been placed on a table used as a stage. The show has closed the Bmotion dance festival in Bassano del Grappa.
At the beginning of this piece we hear a very strong noise of this drop that falls and this is the only thing we hear and see. This is something very minimalist that recalls to nature and to something even abstract. Later we see a lot of images, something very full to see. What does it mean for you to begin with this minimalism?
Chris Haring: “It becomes a kind of essence because at one side it has a metrum, a rhythm, like the drop , and it always goes within 5 seconds that falls down all the time, so for me on one side is something related to time, something that goes on and on and on, but on the other side it’s also related to water. The drop it’s like the one thing that fits almost everything, without water all these plants on the table, and us also, the human being, we could not exist. So for me is a very existential thing because, at the end, also what stays left, basically, is the water. The drop I think it takes it all because it’s almost like a mantra, for example: it’s repeating repeating repeating, it gives you hope also because it goes through the whole time.”
Are all the fruits and vegetables real and fresh?
“They are real of course but in the front there you have the fresh vegetables wich are super here in Italy: in other countries we placed different tables and here you have all these wonderful rich huge colours.”
They could be fake because they looked perfect.
“ Vegatebles from your country! In the back you had a ready rotten material, that means vegetable for example you have maggots in there and little animals that the festival prepared for us: it’s planned that they prepared food and let it rot because you’re not allowed to fly and go aboard with rotten food.”
In certain moments we see that the dancer they eats some fruits and vegetables and they do some noises then they put the vegetables on the table, they pretend to eat and the gesture is more emphatic and dramatic. Is it more important to pretend to do things than doing for real?
“It’s a very decadent world, very baroque thing and is like we celebrate, we eat, we don’t take care about the things and at the end you have dancing broccoli left. It’s like the human being is very prepotent , decadent also, they don’t pretend they really do it and I think it has to do with this baroque idea of always saturating things but at the same thing is the last supper, the last table. The further the piece goes on, the more the human being disappears and at the end there are only water and nature left.”
I was impressed by the fact that when they eat they do some noises and some gestures and when they “pretend” they are more emphatic, more broad, wider.
“Yes, I think that the human being and the body work a lot with breath we always like eat the things, when you start to eat things you understand them and in Italy you have a strong culture of eating and a food culture.”
In Austria you have it too.
“Yes but what I like here is that everything has to be tasted; I like to go in a country for example and taste the wine first and the food that grows there. I think in general the human being adapts to nature or a place where he is through eating and also you have to imagine that the first thing we do as babies is through the mouth and everything is through the mouth.”
You use the video behind, showing something more gigantic of what the public see happening on the stage: on the screen behind we see little details that are much bigger than what happens. So the vision of what happens on the stage could be less important of what we see because our attention is captured by the videos.
“The whole idea is that we are dancers, I’m a choreographer and I work with the body, and I just try give all the time, in every piece, a different look on this body, wich is contemporary but it’s still so much connected with the things that are happening around and the video helps us a lot to come closer to those things. I think is a method of awareness what you’re doing there because is there all the time, is around us it’s here and there and there but often we live it at just one level. This is a tool, it helps us also to go into a micro-cosmos: when u have the turning orange is just an orange but it looks like a huge planet, so you’re out in the universe, on the other side suddenly you have the rotten food with the little maggots wich also become gigantic, all the little fish are not bigger than 2 millimiters, maybe, and they are all there and think they take all also. In general in the whole pieces the human being is disappearing in a micro-cosmos.”
Do you direct what happens on the screen, what the dancer films, do u direct with a choreographic intention and look, even if we are watching just the bubble of the wine for example?
Yes I directed it but it comes out from improvisation and everything that you see is set and screen played, annotated as the table becomes the stage and the camera is exactly on the right point in the right moment.
Did u put some stops?
“In the beginning yes but now is all by heart, it’s always the same journey.”
Do u think that the audience is more used and attracted by details or by the main scene, the main happening of the choreography and the piece? Our culture is dominated by videos and close ups.
“Yes but on the other side I don’t think that a cameraman would do the camera like the dancer did it tonight. I think it’s the view of the dancer on diverge, in general I think yes, I agree, we are very much dominated by video but in the other side in this piece is more used like a lens, like you look things closer because you’re curious, you want to see something and this is the eye of the dancer and not of any audience, it’s him that is interested in it and that’s why he comes closer to it and what’s the audience sees.”
What’s the most important direction you gave to the dancers for this piece?
“We never select just dancers, we select personalities to work with us and I’m very curious as a choreographer to see what happens in this body and for me it’s personality, it’s the artist and I was very interested, especially in those 4 people that worked tonight, but also in the musician Andreas Berger or who made the light, Thomas Jelinek, they worked together in order to create something. So I think my job is to give them the possibility to let the personality grows and fits the to the topic.”
During the piece I’ve noticed that you used this strong lights that creates some shadows on the side of the theatre and this becomes a part of the show: we have the videos, the guys on the stage and the shadows, maybe the shadows were causally and you didn’t think about them to become actually a part of the show. How is important the improvisation, the things that happens casually and that you didn’t plan for the show?
“You know when you create a show you try to plan as much things as possible and everything that is added or that comes up (because every theatre is different, sometimes we do it even outside or we don’t have this kind of theatre we had here tonight), creates something new, so we always try to work with the space we are in and try to do it up this space, this takes a bit of preparation and whatever comes new like you said like the shadows for example, it s a big pleasure to have it because it’s something that you had and it happens anyway. So we try to cover the shadows at the beginning because it’s not part of the game but then there was the decision to just let it open because it is a space like this.”
They are beautiful!
“ Arts happens by itself, you know, we don’t have to create anything it just happens!”
You won the Golden Lion in 2007. Seven years is not a long time, but it’s enough to notice, in your opinion, if dance and culture are getting better or worse, if there are still some possibilities to do research or, the usual question, everything has already been said and done
I don’t think everything has been done, we repeat ourselves maybe but it’s the same like you say: 200 years ago the body look exactly like this? the cyborg; the promised us that if I lose my arm I can get a new one? Nothing happened, it’s still hurt if I cut my finger, for example. With the tools, the social media and the globalization we have a completely way of digesting the things and also to give an output; of course our topic is the human being and emotions don’t change: we still feel lonely, still fall in love, start to hate something or become angry and this is not just emotion, the human being is the same, I wouldn’t say it’s good or bad: we, as a contemporary artists, we try to deal with these things. I’d like to thank Roberto Casarotto : he does an extraordinary work and this festival in an unique and wonderful environment.
official website of Chris Haring company
versione in ITALIANO