about fulfilling a task. 60_minutes #2

This is not about emotions. It is about fulfilling a task. (This clear dissociation is made by performers after a question from the audience). The task is: 60 minutes. 60 minutes is 10 minutes + 5 minutes + 20 minutes + 5 minutes+ 15 minutes + 5 minutes … or maybe it was 10 + 5 + 10 + 5 + 20 + 5 + 5? It’s not about feelings. It’s about listening. The listening to everything whatever can be heard. To the sound of the living and moving bodies, to the cracling of the floor, to the buzzing of the speaker, to the piano being manipulated from the distance.
The piano is resonating emotionaly though. Somehow. Or maybe it’s just a habit of interpretation? (The emotions are easily overestimated by art audiences. What really matters in improvisation is something what happens before the labels of emotion or feeling or image are being superimposed on it by our eager brains.) So let’s say – maybe it is just about resonating. The opened, prepared piano functions as a visual metaphor for the emphatic space of resonance-phaenomena. William “Bilwa” Costa manipulates the piano from the distance, across the space, in various ways. He is throwing chopsticks against it. He is drawing a nylon thread which is attached on its other end to a piano string across the room and playing it. He uses pickups and microphones. Each action produces a different spacial setting and a different sound texture. And it provides the piece with the time structure. Even if some impulses and decisions are coming from the dancers, Ingo Reulecke and Akemi Nagao, for me as an outer eye the actions of the sound artist are structuring the improvisation in a more obvious, perceiveable way. He is clearly shifting the frames, switching to very different materials. There is more continuity on the part of the dancers, they are providing the glue which holds the composition together. They are travelling through time and accumulating the past frames in their reverberating bodies. The dancers are actually creating the soundscape as well as the sounder is shaping the visible space and those moments when it is clearly perceivable are for me particularly satisfying. Sometimes a crack appears in the fabric of the performace: a dancer produces a creab sheet out of his pockets; the sounder tosses a chopstick against the piano and the audience gives the landlord of the location an anxious gaze; performers are stumbling over the chopsticks placed very carefully on the ground some 20 minutes before. Quite new worlds are opening at those moments, some new qualities and relations are flashing, and this make me hungry for more.
So, it is not about the emotions. Not about surprise or anger or happiness or satisfaction or embarassement. It is just about fulfilling a task. The task is formal and clear: 60 minutes of improvisation … it’s a simple equation 10 + 5 + 20 + 5 + 15 + 5. Or maybe 5 + 5 + 10 + 10 + 5 + 20 + 5? There are endless possibilities but once the process gets going one decision is leading to the next one and to the next one, while the time is being consumed. When it is just10 minutes, 5 minutes, 1 minute left, the realm of necessity is gaining more and more power till it will take over at the inevitable end. This process of condensation, of boiling down the possibilities: does it constitute the special appeal of the strict time frame for an improvised performance?
jagna anderson