Sunday, 10 October 2010

'I'm Here'- what people saw

I had the premiere of I'm Here on 5th October at Cafe OTO. It is a collaborative work between a sound artist, Manabu Shimada and myself.

What I intend in a work and what the audience receives are not same.
And what I felt in the performance and what the audience felt would not be same.

Thanks to Yumi Hara, who is a musician and my senior from the highschool, and Johannes Birringer, who is a scholar in technology and performnace and the leader of UKIYO project I'm involved, I have received some feedbacks from the outside eyes.

First, pictures by Yumi.

Then a note by Johannes Birringer.


Cafe Oto, East London, a comfortable spacious hang out, the kind of writers-or-musicians-cafe where you go with your book and laptop and read or meet other artists, a cool crowd showed up,  late of course, the space just tables and chairs, a bit f junk, a grand piano, sofas on the side (where I sat), bar, etc.  about 50 people eventually hung out there, now candle lights burning on all tables, ,and 45 minutes late,  the show starts:  3 pieces  first Katsura & Manabu,  then break, during which they played Je t'aime moi non plus,  then a sonic DJ artist doing a heavy ambient metallica set, and then a dancer with a pot on her head that was made of clay filled with water, and it melted into her.

Katsura performed a very well structured/choreographed piece; it had a definite compositional structure, probably leaving tiny spaces for improvisation, open-nesses within the loopular structure. The "stage" is the cafe, and not just the small 3 x 3 meter area lit in front of one wall with the bedroom curtain.  (oddest space this OTO).

Katsura’s dance has numerous  sections, the first is running a circle like a flip flop wing bird, arms up and down in circles, feet tap tap, then she arrives back up front. we heard her run in the silence, tap tap, arms spread, a quizzical blank expression in her face, but then  suddenly there she is standing in front of us after stopping abruptly, "Here I am"  (or was it "I am here!") and as if being cut off from explaining further, the sonic music starts, loud and powerful, but only for, maybe, 10 or 20 seconds, then Katsura is now doing something else, so this system is being establish, as series of different movement patterns, "I am here:", sound, and the sound montage/collaged,  acousmatic musique concrète (Japanese-inflected), sometimes  harsh and strong,  Ikeda-like "cracked" media, almost filmic sound,  as Katsura is making a strange sequence of repeated arm movements, then foot movements, then shoulder over head downturns, later stomps, then (as a perverse shift) a soft ballet like arm swivel, well, the music also has fragments that repeat or seem modified (foot steps, seagulls, drops, ice breaking, electronic crashes, clicks, crackles, muddles, silence,  and on one of Katsura's gentle flow arm movements I thought i heard a 2 second piano concerto broken to industrial sound, silence: a wonderful cubist sound  collage) Katsura always goes back, now and then, to the flapping bird circling the room, tap  tap, tap,  then she is suddenly on the floor, side push up, side push up, then she (quizzically) shouts, "I am here!"?, as if a question, and then music becomes (near the end of the approximately 20 or 25 minute long piece ) denser, more layered, continuant, as Katsura is in her final section, performing very hard, strong effort shapes, repetitive motions that are exerting, exhausting and energizing and paff, it has ended, silence.

Thus, like the DAP experimentations with  some of our scenes between dancers and musicians,  I AM HERE is a concise, well composed live interaction, with brilliant accent shifts in Katsura's last sections, small dynamic changes in the rhythmicized repetitions, and most movements at the same time not "danced" but seem real, gestures coming in that moment, from a living person who is there right there,  the fingers itching, the arms rotate a little, now she's got to run off, it is quite humorous , seconds, moments of memories flashing in, what is she thinking of, well, here we heard the door of a car, how strange, we are in some movie too?   

well done, katsura !!

My collaborator Manabu also has left some record on his blog. It contains the sound recording from the performance too.

No comments: