This is a little preview of my last recent work S|R|P|Z in collaboration with the artist Aika Takeshima in the performance “BLOCKS”.
‘BLOCKS’ was performed:
“BLOCKS” is a new kind of online live performance named – Joining Style Performance – premiere on February 26th 8PM EST 2021.
We wanted to break the ordinary idea of performance transforming it in an interactive place to share and discuss concepts together. The performance was created for and with the audience. We improvised movement and words rotating around the concept of the children blocks game. We reacted to everything happening around us and the audience. We let audience, thoughts, dance, events guide us.
“WHO IS ART FOR?”
“WHO IS MY WORK FOR?”
Everything started on November 30th. We stepped into a cozy plates shop when we were doing window shopping for Christmas presents. There, we found a pop-up corner that was selling “Art in blocks”. We fell in love with 2 of them, so we purchased and brought them back home.
For me, I thought those would be great inspiration. I loved the contrast of the first one comparing to the dimensions of a huge whale and the light bulb; the second an image I could not identify, and this really intrigued me.
But Aika was really interested in them. She has been keeping playing with the blocks all the evening long. Differently from me, she was inspired from the motion of constructing and letting them fall instead to dig into the meaning of the image. She spent many hours studying how blocks were falling, spreading and how each motion was leading to the next one. After her research, she came to me explaining her idea.
She said “Look! It’s so interesting, no!? How they spread is different each time!”. Aika started not to know if she was building or breaking them. She started to feel she was doing something meaningful. Each time she felt inspired by how the blocks breaks apart and how she was starting her new construction from there. Sometimes she didn’t like the shape of how they spread, so she tried to break them from different direction and with different dynamic. Other times, she loved the shape of how they spread and she wanted exactly the same shape happen again, but it’s impossible. Aika needed to think, to research, and to make a strategy.
“Wait, this is important also for our life, no?
Keeping making mistakes.
Learning from the past.
This moment is one time only, never come back”.
I totally resonate with this concept. How our life is a dynamic sequence of moments of construction and deconstruction, how we learn from the past and how this process started from young age and how we lost it in the mature age comparing the “breaking” of a event with a failure. After listening Aika’s speech, the metaphor between life and blocks was really clear and I exclaim “Why do we not create a piece about it?”.
From there, the theme was really clear, but we needed to define the structure. We demanded a structure that was able to reflect the nature of the improvisation which belongs to the blocks game and a way to make it as a performance. The improvisation structure of words and movement was the best fit for our concept. We decided Aika was going to reflect the playfulness of the blocks game through her movements while I was going to improvise thought around all the meanings that those blocks pieces could have.
From that point, we sat down together making bullet points about concepts that we wanted to share and cover. From there, we started to rehearse how my stream of consciousness could fit her movements improvisation. But it was not enough.
We wanted to implement this process and sharing it with the audience, making it part of the performance. This is why we call this as a “Joining style performance”. We always speak about how dance performances are just a delivery of a message and a concluded exploration. What we were planning to do was to open this exploration with the audience: we wanted the audience to get inspired by the children blocks game through our performance, like we got inspired by the children blocks game, letting them sharing their thoughts with us.
Usually art is one directional, from artists to viewers. Artists have a message to deliver while the audience is ready to listen and elaborate that message. The audience is allowed to think freely creating an independent opinion, but there is never a conversation.
WE WANTED TO BREAK THIS.
Share your thought!
You can say no to no!
We are going to improvise from and for you !
LET’S DISCUSS !
This performance must be live since it is made for and with the audience. Instead to present a set format, this performance looks like more a safe place to share ideas. Inspiring each others, open conversation, peaceful discussion, sharing of art and ideas are the bases of this performance style. We are not only open to the verbal collaboration with the audience, but we also create a contest where the audience can create art at the same moment. As we let audience, movement, thoughts inspire and guide us, we incite the audience to take part of the exploration of the children blocks game with objects around you, to paint, to dance, to write, to sing, to compose, ecc. In few words, we are opening the opportunity of a creating space connecting each others members. We don’t tell the audience what and how to think, instead we want to know their thoughts. We just suggest new ways of creating thinking. It is up to the audience to decide how to react.
I got interested in their aim trying to find possibilities of dance in blocks game.
Friedrich Fröbel, a German pedagogue, invented block games and blocks were one of the most important objects of his child-centered approach to education. ( Froebel gifts)
He foud out an intuitive way to grasp the world in blocks.
‘INTUITIVE’ in this case means the physical aspect that we grab ‘objects’ (blocks) directly by our hands.
In other words, block game is related to movements and body, and it has direct connection with grasping the world.
Therefore, I found resonance between dance and their perspective they see in blocks to see direct connection between body and grasping the world.
In this point of view, I was watching Ms. Pizzi’s activities themselves -building and breaking blocks- as “DANCE”.
Ms. Takeshima was dancing behind her, so she looked like she was doing a dance session with blocks in a screen.
Usually block game is considered as a toy to be piled and build something, but it has another important aspect that we can break and rebuild again and again.
In other words, block game can be a symbol of repetition of ‘Building / Destroying’, and ‘Creation / Annihilation’.
Therefore, block game is really similar to nature cycle and slso our body in the point of metabolism.
In this performance, they put emphasis on an interactive elements. So the performance itself was in mobility that everything could go to anywhere no one could guess. And I felt it might be also related to block games, fluidity of nature and metabolism that block games suggest.
In this meaning, we can think that not only Ms. Takeshima’s dance and movements of blocks, but also movements of Ms. Pizzi’s fingers and ‘talking’ can be a kind of dance.
(It reminds me of Yvonne Rainer, who made a dance work using just by her hands while she was in a hospital.)
Their performance gave me an impression that they were trying out those expanded dance experience using Zoom which is expanded medium in various meanings.
– Ryo Sawayama
Born in 1982. In 2007 he completed a Master of Art degree at Musashino Art University Graduate School of Science of Design. In 2009, his essay “Labor-work: Carl Andre and His Concept of Art Making” was selected for first prize in the 14th Art Critic Essay Contest organized by BIJUTSUTECHO. He teaches part-time at both Musashino Art University and Tokyo Metropolitan University, and is a frequent contributor to articles, magazines, etc.
Here is the full video.
It is free, but we would appreciate if you could donate even $1 for us to grow more!
Thank you and enjoy our new style performance!