what belongs to the present - Esmé Valk

what belongs to the present

Installation including HD-video 07’04, audio work 13’50, light, 2013

what belongs to the present is a two-part installation involving a short film and an audio piece. In this work I’ve tried to understand how the perception of Ausdruckstanz – German expressionist dance that evolved out of the life reform movements at the start of the twentieth century – has changed over the years. This emotionally intense dance is activated through the words and movements of contemporary dancer Fabián Barba, who studied the work and cultural legacy of Ausdruckstanz pioneer Mary Wigman.

In the film he dances in a natural environment, composed of a group of textured stones. Some have natural shapes while others contain drill holes, carry markings or have been cut by a saw. These raw materials have been laying outside in the garden of an art institute waiting to be made into something. Changing interests lead them to be neglected and weathered. In this man-made ‘natural’ set the dance was performed. It is relayed in a fragmented manner. Short, close-up clips of Barba’s movements give an impression of the dance rather than show every move. As the dance comes to an end the camera takes more distance, revealing the complete scene of the dancer and the stones.

what belongs to the present is a study of the still and moving body of the dancer and the representation of dance by the movements of the camera. The work addresses questions such as: How can something as fleeting as dance be represented? What does it mean to embody another period and to what extent is it necessary to connect to its ideology to be able to do so? How do we relate to history and contemporaneity?

camera: Jules Debrock
light: Floor van Slochteren
dance and voice: Fabián Barba
sound: Tomasz Kaye