Past Projects (2021-22)

East Goes to East: Mechanics of Distance

In the current European landscape, the voices of underrepresented artists from and within Eastern and Central Europe are scarce and while the interest to tour east to east is high, it is hard to do. In these regions, funds for international mobility are barely available and collaborations to tour cross-border is usually possible within larger European projects and less so between Eastern European, Balkan and Eastern Partnership countries. Therefore, in preparation for the 2nd step of Perform Europe, SÍN Arts, Hungary, sought to enlarge their cross-border connections beyond their relatively small network and deliberately reached out to potential partners within the Central-Eastern European region.
The result of this is East Goes to East, a Perform Europe partnership that is breaking the mould. The partnership is exploring touring east to east and is made up of seven relatively small partners of producers and NGOs that work closely with artists: SÍN Arts and Culture Centre (Hungary), Zavod EN-KNAP (Slovenia), UA Association “Contemporary Dance Platform” (Ukraine), Association of Theater Pedagogues (Poland), Fundația Tranzit Foundation (Romania), Association for Independent Theatre (Bulgaria) and Croatian Institute for Movement and Dance (Croatia).
Within this Perform Europe project, the choreography, the performative-participative walk, and movement workshops will be taken to five different locations in Central-Eastern Europe, with the primary aim of strengthening the network of the region through physical presence and collaboration with the partners by recreating the interdisciplinary artwork in each city.
The project offers non-hierarchical participation to the viewers. The project abolishes the gap between performer and viewer; the performance allows for a high level of freedom of experience whilst the participative-performative walk enables participants to experience contemporary dance themselves. With this, the aim is to mitigate the general idea that contemporary dance is an elitist, highbrow genre, to bring performers and the audience closer.
The choreography focuses on positioning static and moving bodies in space, cramming matching and mismatched systems, and examining the distance between bodies. The participative-performative walk recreates the nine stages of the choreography with local, non-professional participants.
Although the focal point is a physical presentation, the partnership uses digital tools to involve a wider public. In some locations, panes will be part of the artistic work so that audiences will be able to experience the performative walk on their own after the event has left with Google Maps and QR codes. Participants in all locations will also be able to use a QR code to publish their photos of their experience and, over time, the impressions from seven different locations will accumulate on a dedicated website.
Slow touring is top-of-mind for this partnership as only five people are travelling and by road or train on at least half of the tour. Additionally, the artistic work in and of itself has a small carbon footprint as technical equipment needs are minimal, cutting the partnership’s environmental impact even further.



Mechanics of Distance
Producers: SÍN Arts and Culture Centre, Hungary
Mechanics of Distance focuses on positioning static and moving bodies in space, cramming matching and mismatched systems into it, and examining the distance between bodies. The piece presents encounter-variations of bodies in space, stimulating free interpretation. Episodic events drawn from social and personal contexts represent emotional, moral, or intellectual situations. In the choreography, the direct, tangible togetherness and closeness meet a more elevated, solemn dimension. Supplemented by a more political dimension with the aim of finding an answer to the question of how far the limits of dance can be extended, what are the endless dimensions of experimentation, and the open space waiting to be explored? The performers from three very different backgrounds (a classically trained ballet dancer, a dancer with a folk dance background, and a dancer trained with contemporary techniques) and the musician interfere with each other’s personal spaces, the space around them, and that of the viewers. The choreography of Máté Mészáros titled Mechanics of Distance took another form during the time of the pandemic. It started off as a plan B to be able to share the work while spaces are closed, gatherings are prohibited, whilst preserving the physical experience of arts. He developed a participative walk to enact nine stages of the choreography. The series of movements and constellations of the piece has been translated into nine pictograms, drawn by a Hungarian visual artist. The participants can follow a route – on their own or together – and recreate movements, become dancers themselves, get familiar with the collaboration of moving bodies thus stepping into a quasi-performative role from that of a viewer.
Photo credits

Lasalo Bellai

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