Dancers: Fabrizio Calanna, Sofia Casprini, Giuseppe Morello, Matteo Sacco, Lara Viscuso
production Sanpapié in collaboration with MilanOltre, Festival Exister, DanceHauspiù
Show selected within the project NEXT 2019/2020, a project of the Lombardy Region in collaboration with the Cariplo Foundation
The project comes from the desire to explore the relationship of the individual and the community with the city and, in general, with urban spaces. When we put on headphones and choose a tune, music to accompany us, often the space and our experience of it changes in relation to that peculiar source of the sound, allowing us to capture details and exclude others, creating an intimate journey inside a public space. Tristan Perich’s 1-Bit Symphony has fascinated us because it is a “device on a human scale”: it can be contained and is able to play an entire symphony in anyone’s pocket, with a very low quality, commonly used (tablet, phones, pc…), but at the same time able to give back a complex sound universe full of quotations between history and contemporaneity. By bringing together these thoughts, we have experimented on how, through a shared soundtrack, starting from the perception of the individual, through the construction of small collective rituals in a danced form, were able to arrive at the creation of a community.
The relationship between individual and collective position, in an urban and disordered context, is the cornerstone of the choreographic research: the dancers move according to space and the audience, which unconsciously finds itself to be part of the choreographic design. A small group of spectators, listening to music exclusively through headphones and welcomed by a text that introduces and contextualizes the performance space, follow the dancers in a design that adapts to public and private urban spaces, indoor and outdoor.
MUSIC and SPACE
Perich’s work is inspired by the aesthetic simplicity of mathematics, physics, and code. His compositions have been called “an austere reunion of electronics and organic” and his 1-Bit Symphony was, in 2009, the first album ever released in the form of a microchip, capable of reproducing the entire composition. It’s a small circuit, as big as the fingernail of a little finger, housed in the plastic case of a CD, which literally performs the music as an ensemble of musicians would do; to operate it you just need a small switch, and the output is through a mini-headphone jack located on the side of the case itself. It is a real symphony, with different themes, variations, and voices that emerge and then disappear, in a continuum of 5movements with the most varied musical influences: from Steve Reich to PhilipGlass, from the last Beethoven to Richard Strauss, up to the soundscore of Nintendo’s first video games.
In information theory, the bit is the fundamental unit of measurement, that is the minimum amount of information necessary to discern between two possible comparable events within the binary numeral system: the one, to be precise, used by all our phones and PCs. It is a simple unit but with infinite combinatory and compositional possibilities; in electronic music, the number of bits also represents depth (resolution) of sampling, therefore Perich’s composition has absolutely peculiar sounds, whose definition is much inferior, for example, to the music of video games (traditionally 8 bit). Musically intense, in its urban aggressiveness, the work reveals deep contours in its one by one relationship with the spectator: a powerful work, to be listened to through headphones, whose collective and widespread listening reproduces only a fuzzy noise.
SPACE, in its components of form, history, architecture, light, and environment, and TIME (the encounter between symphony and the individual perception of performers and spectators) are the triggers of the performative action. The symphony has been divided into two parts: the first three movements, characterized by a demanding rhythmic bundling of digital and synthetic character, and the last two movements, which empty the sound space opening it into a dimension of suspended and powerful mantra. This subdivision has generated the two different urban performances: ABIT UNDERGROUND and ABIT OPEN SKY which, parallel to what happens in music, cross the urban space in a VERTICAL way: starting from the underground (metros, subways, and spaces hidden to the public where the speed of information and transport is based) towards the open sky and shared public spaces (squares, beaches, monuments…).
The symphony, in its entirety, is only recomposed in the performance within the theatre space: ABIT AROUND THE STAGE. The theatre is intended as a public place that brings together the perception of the performer and the spectator and is used in site-specific settings: the dancers are almost never on stage but work in streaming in the places outside the hall, laying bare the building and revealing its many functions to the audience sitting in the stalls. In this case, the silent-disco headset system is replaced by a system of mini video apps managed by the dancers: the same ones commonly used on Instagram, Facebook, and other social networks.
CHOREGRAPHY and PUBLIC
Choreographic research is abstract and investigates the combinatory possibilities of movement and assembly on music, as if the body were a physical particle to be analyzed in its behavior in relation to the environment. The structures created by bodies follow one another in a game, creating and destructing, individual and collective dimensions. Together with loneliness and multitude, intimacy and sacredness, personal and social, intimate and common space, congestion of the harmonic spectrum, and vastness.
The aim is to intersect the cellular/combinatory character of the work with the organicity of the social fabric and dance through an experience of “augmented reality”.The choreographic design, in space, retraces the maps and town plans of big cities and how they have changed with human settlement up to the present day. The fragment becomes a center that returns in a new form to the periphery, creating a capillary, underground and functional communication. Although there is no narrative dimension, the performance aims at creating a participatory and empathic mechanism that cancels the distance between spectator and performer, who find themselves to be “PERFORMANCE” only in shared action. Even the perception of
contemporary dance, introduced into the structure of the social ritual, is no longer that of a distant and cryptic language, but a bridge of pure energy traveling between spectators and dancers, aimed at the construction of a single organism in movement. The individual dimension is not thus denied by the construction of a community, a collective body that moves in time but, on the contrary, is amplified in the freedom to exist among others.