Week 2: Titanic Trust. Failure. Portals into other worlds. This week it rained a lot. This week it snowed in town. This week the mountains became whiter. This week the light turned luminous. This week Luna got carried across a puddle. This week I felt myself floating in water. This week people gave all their weight. This week people were laid down. This week the radio turned on. This week we tuned in. This week I heard people singing aloud. This week saw vulnerability. This week we gave in to the music. This week we were led. This week we saw the power of a group. This week I considered failing. This week I thought about falling. This week we made decisions. This week we questioned choices. This week people held hands. This week people walked together. This week people skipped meals. This week it was cold. This week the puddles turned to ice. This week the ice melted back to water.
Paragraph 2 Duration: Performance key: Situation key:
168 hours Rearrange orientation of senses Formation of language and invincibility
Intensity level in relation to time
Marta Moreno Muñoz As interviewed on Seydisfjörður Community Radio 101.7fm Friday 5th October 2018
Shan: Hello world, we’re live on Seydisfjörður Community Radio doing an interview today with Claire, Shan and Marta Moreno Muñoz. Marta is visiting LungA this week as a workshop instructor, and we’re going to ask her a few questions about her practice. Welcome Marta, thank you for joining us. Marta: Hello, thank you for inviting me. Claire: My first question was about your first experience of performance art, and what was your introduction to the medium. M: I started doing performances at the age maybe of eighteen years old. I had a background in experimental theatre, physical theatre, and then I studied fine arts, and when I started doing my thing everybody was referring me to ‘performance art’. I didn’t know what it was actually, back then. So since then my practice has been focused on action and video performance. But if I recall my first memories I think I was performing when I was a child already. I have some kind of private experiences which I can now frame into actions like this. C: Can you tell us a little bit about those? M: Well, the simple action we have all experienced maybe — turning in circles until you get dizzy and you really dissolve yourself — I think this is a very universal experience. I’ve worked with that idea and that physical experience afterwards in my practice, but I think I’ve lived it since I was very very little. C: This morning you showed us a series of videos including one of you, turning over and over in a circle — can you tell us the name of it again? M: In Girum Imus Nocte C: And could you tell us a little bit about the background of that work? M: Yeah. The title comes from a Latin verse, which is, In Girum Imus Nocte. It’s actually a palindrome, which can be read in both directions equally: “In Girum Imus Nocte e et consumimur igni” which means “Turning in circles at night and we are consumed by fire.” The physical action of turning inside the bathtub until I get really exhausted is just a mechanism for me to enter into a trance. So for me the work is not just what you see, it’s more the inner mental experience which I am always trying to achieve, since my early works until now. Through that trance I can really expand myself and feel more connected with everything. It’s a very universal peak experience which
has been described by many mystical traditions everywhere. That’s what I try to achieve during the moment of complete freedom in my performances. C: Do you use an audience sometimes as well or is it usually video? M: I do both. For ten years I stopped working in front of an audience because it made sense to me at the time. Now I’m doing performances in public but they are different experiences. I also work privately documenting and editing video. So they are two different things: the actual experience, and what you can do with the video medium, which gives you plenty of other possibilities. Now I’m not against the notion of representation as I was in the beginning of my work, I was purely focusing on the actual experience. But today I’m also incorporating the representation so I play with the video medium. Yeah… they’re different things. C: And so is there something different you can do with a recording? Or does it allow you to have a distance? Or it enables that transcendence a little bit more—without the audience? Or is it just a different thing? M: It’s a different experience. Actually the presence of the audience helps you sometimes to reach that state because you can’t escape. They are there, you are sharing a combination of tension, fears, emotions and hormones — there is a chemical exchange. And that increases the tension, and actually helps me to get into trance. The private experiences are different, and it helps me to focus also on the video work. C: Mm hmm, and sort of the aesthetic components? M: Yes. S: You had mentioned that you had set up a residency program in the Phillipines. Can you talk a little bit about that and your experiences there? M: Yes, I have run this artist organisation since 2009 (The Unifiedfield, with Tara Transitory). We run an experimental artist’s space, which we started in Indonesia, but then we have been pretty nomadic. We started programming experimental music, performance and video art in that space. From there we moved to Granada, where we have been running a residency program— mostly with Singaporean artists. We have been trying to create these bridges between Europe and Asia. When this collaboration with my ex-partner finished, I moved to the Phillipines to create a work, which actually I am exhibiting now five years later! I was looking for a base in South-East Asia — not necessarily in the Phillipines, but we were researching for a year looking
for a place to establish a second base — one in Granada in Europe, and we wanted to have another in Asia. I fell in love with Mindanao, where I was living to produce this video work with the buffalos. I was living with them for a month. And I felt everything made sense and fell into place, so I decided, well, this is place I would like to start working with. In my own practice it was feeling too personal and too neurotic dealing with all my own things, traumas etcetera. Which somehow is part of the female experience, so it’s not only personal — I think others can relate as well — but still, I was feeling somehow guilty and that I would like to give back somehow. So that is what I’m doing as an organiser. What I don’t do in my personal practice, I try to do as an organiser. In the Phillipines we started this program, and we wanted it to be with and for the local communities we were working with. Thanks to my collaborator Angely Chi, who is a Philippine artist and writer, we could actually invite international artists to produce work specifically with those communities. We were working in rural areas in Mindanao with fisherfolk and other communities. The works we were inviting were mostly relational art projects and environmental art projects. So that was my way to somehow give back to the place I was living and was so inspired by. C: Were there workshops involved in some of that work as well, is that how you started to get into more of the workshop or teaching role that you have been doing at LungA? M: Not exactly — all the invited artists in the Phillipines were engaging with the communities and giving workshops but that was independent of my own practice. No, I started teaching seven or eight years ago. I’m really going deeper and deeper, and it’s now a very important part of my own practice, and it’s also another way of giving back, because what I’ve learnt along these twenty years performing, and all those experiences I’ve learnt by myself, it’s really fulfilling now to be able to share and give back to these young artists — or not only artists, I’m conducting workshops with all kinds of people. To generate these processes of self-awareness—helping them somehow to achieve self-realisation, expand their creativity and their boundaries, widening their horizons, their way of thinking or perceiving—is really, really fulfilling. So I found somehow my mission, and I really believe my pedagogical work is completely intertwined with my own art practice these days. C: Can you explain a little bit how you would define performance as different to action, or what that means to you? M: Well that could be my own definition because of course performance art by itself cannot be defined. But I could say Performance Art is when an audience is going and they know in advance there is going to be an art
event happening. So there’s an audience and they know that something— an event—is going to happen. Action Art is a broader term, and it could be a private experience with no witnessing, no public. C: So it’s to do with the anticipation from the audience’s perspective that something is going to happen? M: Yes, the expectation. S: How did you hear about LungA and what has been your experience here? M: It has been really wonderful. I was searching for likeminded organisations, because right now The Unifiedfield is only me. For a year I’ve been looking for partnerships with likeminded people and organisations. I’m also trying or planning to migrate to one of the Nordic countries, so I was actually looking for teaching jobs when I found this call, and I felt so connected with the philosophy—I feel extremely privileged to have found LungA, and so happy, I wish I could come back and I hope this is not the end of it. C: Can you tell a little bit about your experience with the students, how you approached the workshops and how you’ve helped them in their journeys to develop works? M: Well this has been a pretty intensive five-day workshop. I wish we could work together longer. For the first day we were just experimenting very freely, about the main elements of performance art — which are body, presence, time, space. So we were doing very random exercises to become more aware of the body in this given present moment in time. From the second day I wanted them to start to conceptualise more meaningful work, something which was related to the moment they are living. So they did some self-inquiry exercises, to wonder what really matters to them in this moment, and from that fundamental question we started to conceptualise different pieces. They had to open themselves, search within themselves, and open their intuition, so they were wandering around Seydisfjörður to find their personal spot. We did many exercises of introspection and developing intuition, and then conceptualising different pieces, which are going to be presented today. I’m very happy because many of them have really performed for the very first time, and they’re going to incorporate it in their practice, so this is not just a performance it is a process they are initiating, and it’s going to continue for the rest of their residency time. S: And you’ve got some work coming up — can you share with us what exciting things are to come?
M: Well I am just going back to the Phillipines. I am no longer living there but in 2013 I produced this piece called Lost Paradise. I was bathing daily with buffalos in their natural context, and all those processes were filmed, and there are also diaries. The final work is a multi-screen installation, which is going to be shown now for the very first time finally in Vargas Museum in Manila in a few days. So the result is a multi-screen installation but it’s also the main project of my PhD research, which is called ‘Art as an Experience of the Dissolution of the Self’. So we’ll see how it goes! C: You explained that the artist residency program that you now run is nomadic, and it sounds like also your experience as a performance artist has been quite nomadic, in that you’ve moved around quite a bit. I know that’s the experience of lots of artists. I’m interested in this idea of nomadism, and whether you feel like that’s influenced your work, or what you’ve witnessed just with the artists in residence that you’ve helped along the way. Does it create an interesting tension in their work? M: Well yes, I’ve lived in many, many countries, and the organisation has moved with us as well. We have become experts in precariousness. But maybe I’m not the best person to talk about nomadism and romanticise that idea because currently I’m really exhausted by it, and my perspective has changed along the years. Maybe I was escaping or something, which made me move very far away, and now I really want to get established somewhere. So I’m not the best person to talk about nomadism right now, but for sure the journey over the last twenty years has been very interesting in the sense that you experience different cultures and different ways of living a reality. And to learn that your way is not the only way. So maybe that’s something I’ve learnt. S: Do you have any words of wisdom for our students? M: No! [laughs] Ok, yes — enjoy the moment! S: Thank you so much for joining us — enjoy the rest of the day and thanks for listening. M: Thank you very much.
Matan Daskal As interviewed on Seydisfjรถrรฐur Community Radio 101.7fm Friday 5th October 2018
Claire: We’re live now! Shan: And we’re starting in 3, 2, 1... 1… 1… 1… 0… infinity…! C: Welcome, we’re broadcasting here on Seydisfjörður Community Radio for LungA School, and our second special guest on the show is Matan Daskal, who has joined us for this second week of the program to run some workshops with the students. Welcome Matan! Matan: Thankyou. C: It’s been great to have you here this week, there’s been a super nice energy and really exciting to start to see the students developing new work and expanding their horizons. I thought it might be nice to start with learning a little bit about your background in performance. Maybe you can talk about some of your initial experiences with the medium, and what drew you to doing what you do now? M: I think the first moment… I remember myself playing a mini keyboard when I was six. I remember each key had a colour, and the notes had a colour — like red was for ‘Do’ and blue was for ‘Re’ or something. That’s a memory I have. And then I have a memory of myself in fourth grade, around the age of ten, dancing in a circle — like folk Israeli dancing where you dance in a circle — and I just remember the wind in my face. We were indoors, in a gym, but I just remember the movement and the fact of moving like the wind. I think this is a very strong image for me still today. I think movement is something that is one of my cores. So I just kept on dancing. I also enjoy doing sports — it’s also movement for me, like to play soccer or to play tennis. But then somehow I guess the dancing has another abstract dimension to it, which attracts me more than sports. This winning or losing is a bit flat and not interesting in that sense. And then sound is also a huge inspiration and takes me to this —I guess it’s a bit clichéd— but to this dimension, another dimension. Realising later on that sound is movement, waves, was also a huge discovery… understanding it’s the same thing. And like, feeling this strong connection between the two. So I joined the Batsheva Dance Company when I was eighteen, and started performing since as a dancer. I remember my first performances, there was an improvisation involved, and I remember being in the centre of the space, and just super stuck and counting down until my improvisation would be over, like “ok, I don’t know what to do!” That was the beginning. And then we
performed 150 times a year. So you get to swim and to realise it’s also a different dimension with people watching you perform, it is very different — time is feeling different there, and space is different — so feeling very comfortable there, eventually. I performed hundreds of times with Batsheva Dance Company, and after four years I left and freelanced with choreographers, performing internationally and around Israel. The music part started at Batsheva — one of the dancers there is called Bobbi Jene Smith, and we were very good friends. She started to write poems and I started to compose them. We had this rock band… we were really, really bad. But I found a drive to compose, and I took it more seriously. I went to study, I did a BA in Composition, and at a certain point I started an orchestra, and found myself conducting that orchestra. And I continued composing to dance pieces and all the media in between — composing, dancing, conducting and playing. C: Do you play any instruments yourself? M: I play piano, yeah. S: Earlier this week you said that you had gone to the summer program at Juilliard School in New York? M: Yeah. So my father lived in New York, I lived in New York from age two to age six. At the age of six I moved to Israel with my mother and he stayed there. I just went to visit him in the summers. So as a kid I went to a tennis summer program — it was very fun to play tennis all day long. But when I started to get serious with dancing, each summer I went to a different program there, like Alvin Ailey, and Juilliard, and others. C: In terms of your background, going back and forth a little between Israel and the US, I’m interested in your experience of language through all of that, and whether that has shaped some of the work that you do now — especially with the composition, where it’s about developing a new language that is maybe more intuitive of physical? M: I’m not sure it has been an influence so much, because I never dealt with language. Movement-wise there’s no language involved. And music — usually I compose to instrumental music, I’m not so much a text person. But now recently I started working with Sound Painting, which is a live composition multi-disciplinary sign language. That brought the language aspect into the thoughts. And being able to communicate live without words, it’s
an amazing feeling — a privilege— and definitely something I’m digging into now. S: Did you develop these signs yourself or are they pre-existing? M: So it’s a movement that started to develop in the 1970s in New York, and America. I’m sure, you know, it didn’t start there, it probably started thousands of years ago — I’m sure they also played music and connected it through signs. But it kind of came to life again in America. Both in the contemporary world, by Walter Thompson, who invented Sound Painting — the discipline and language that I’m using — and also Butch Morris did it more from a jazz place. So there were all these sorts of sign languages developed. Sound painting is one of them, and then you can add your signs into it. The basic structure is who, does what, how, and when? So umm: you laugh quietly, now. And then you can put inside any content you want. C: In terms of how you create content then, and subject matter you are drawn to, do you have anything specific that you work with or any particular themes that keep popping up? M: I think the signs come from imagination. So it’s a bit like: Ok what do I imagine happening now, and will I be able to communicate it live? Do I have enough gestures that I’m able to use live? And if not, ok, then I need to invent a new sign. So it would be first trying to understand how I could do it with the existing tools I have, and if not then you invent a new sign. S: Just watching you over the week and overhearing conversations, it seems that this is something you’ve brought into the workshops here — teaching existing language and then developing new languages with the students. Can you talk a little bit about your time here at LungA and the workshops? M: It was crazy arriving here. Like, feeling a bit like I was on Mars. With these super amazing loving people — two of whom are here in front of me! I think that it was interesting for me to offer this to the students and have them understand how it can be available for them as a tool in their creations, so they can come up with gestures that express what they want to express. For example I haven’t spoken at all about lights, I just started teaching the language for the discipline of music. But Victoria translated these signs for how light would react to them. And Fanny took it to dance. So it was interesting for me to just offer it to them as a tool, beyond what we’re doing today or yesterday — hopefully after I go, in life, it will be useful for them. If
they want they can just take it out of their bag and use it. To know that it exists. Because for me it was a big presence, so I’m wanting to share that. And we danced every morning just for the sense of waking up the senses, and moving, and yeah. C: Claire and I were lucky enough to participate in two of those mornings. M: Yeah, we were lucky enough to have you! C: Yeah it was really special. S: I was also lucky enough to be caught by Matan and gently laid to the floor. That was a real gift I feel. C: Mmm maybe that’s a nice segue into my question around the theme of trust. I have noticed trust is coming up a lot in some of my conversations with the other students, and even just for myself personally in this experience, and particularly within your workshops — the small amount Shan and I participated in. I’m just wondering if that’s something you think about, or an important part of your practice, or your relationship with your other performers, the audience, and even yourself? M: It’s not a very basic thing, no. It’s a fundamental thing for the piece that I showed a small part of, Simple Action [originally performed by Yasmeen Godder Studio, Simple Action is a Participatory Choreographic Action Inspired by Stabat Mater, for a limited audience of 40 spectators and 6 alternating dancers], with taking people down to the floor, I guess that deals a lot with trust, aside from other things, but it’s not something I usually deal with. But saying that I guess being a conductor in front of a large group of people, you need to gain trust. And that is something I’m working a lot on — how can I inspire them, how can I wake them up, how can I have invisible spider webs between us, where each small reaction would have a cause? Because otherwise you’re just on your own, doing stuff, and it’s not moving them. So thinking about how to inspire the group and how to create this beautiful vibe, or something super alive — that is something that I’m dealing with a lot. C: Yeah I felt even for me, just doing the Gaga classes was a real expansion of how I experienced my senses, in that I think just the way you created that environment felt very visual, in a way, but internally. It was purely just movement and listening to sounds, but somehow it felt like I was immersed in a beautiful visual experience, that I guess required us to trust you, and to be led in that way.
S: I think that’s also a comment in seeing how you’ve worked and been with the LungA participants — like eating all together, sharing conversations both public and private — so it’s like you’ve immersed yourself into the workshops and this community, and that is completely related to the sense of trust that is developing here. It has been really nice to see that penetrate past the workshop into every aspect of your presence here. C: Do we have a silly question we can ask? S: I think a silly question is a good idea! If you could sleep with any celebrity, who would that be? Cleopatra maybe? Or Minnie Mouse? M: Wow. Umm. That’s a lot! S: Ok, then maybe, what’s your favourite cereal?! M: It’s an Israeli one, it’s called Kariot - yeah chocolate. C: Chocolate for breakfast, you can’t beat it! S: We know you’re on a time limit and it’s getting on, so thank you so much for joining us. M: Thank you, and just stating again the obvious, how inspired I am by the openness and the flexibility of the people here, and the school. Not trying to grab something but keeping the palm kind of lucid and open enough for things to maybe fall into place, or maybe not, and a bit unknown and with a lot of caring feelings — it’s a very unique situation, I’ve never come across something similar. I highly appreciate it and am inspired by it. C: Thanks Matan! Over and out, bye world!
LungA School Fall Semester 2018
Week two of LungA School, Fall Semester 2018 Includes interviews with workshop leaders Matan Daskal & Marta Moreno Muñoz, and documentatio...
Published on Oct 11, 2018
Week two of LungA School, Fall Semester 2018 Includes interviews with workshop leaders Matan Daskal & Marta Moreno Muñoz, and documentatio...