About If you want to become rich. If you feel sick. If you feel tired.
Enter. See the Chinese wisdom, the missionaries, the dentists, the plague, the gold, the gongs.
- Jean Cocteau, Parade, 1917. [Script for âAmerican Manager', not included in final production]
Curator Vivian Ziherl has selected a programme of films for the Artists' Film Biennial that deal with themes of dance in translation to moving image, about figures and gestures transposed across media. Yet their images bear the trace of cinema's imprint within the bodies of modern dance itself. Unspoken texts tremble in the interference patterns between these media, perhaps issuing Cocteau's enticement of a concealed drama, âthe plague, the gold, the gongs'.
The programme features the London premiere screening of two new works produced between artists and choreographer-dancers. Both, and both differently, undertake adaptations of historic dance pieces that are marked by trans-disciplinary collaboration and by a displacement of the stage.
Shahryar Nashat, Parade, 2014, Alexa 2K/DCP 2K, colour, sound, 38 min
Charles Atlas, Mrs Peanut Visits New York, 1999, SD video, colour, sound 6 min 5 sec
Karthik Pandian and Andros Zins-Browne, Atlas/Inserts, 2014, HD video, colour, sound, 13 min
Sharyar Nashat's Parade (2014) translates to video Adam Linder's recent rendition of the 1917 Ballets Russes production of the same name, conceived by Jean Cocteau and realized with Léonide Messine, Pablo Picasso and Erik Satie. The camera's intelligence goes into dialogue with all elements of the performance. It underscores a matching of talents as simultaneously the piece itself traces a subtle critique of present-day constructions of virtuosity and of self-performance.
Karthik Pandian and Andros Zins-Browne's Atlas/Inserts (2014) transposes the labouring, performing and exuberant body from trained dancer to obdurate camel. The video locates segments of Merce Cunningham and Charles Atlas' 1982 collaboration Channels/Inserts within the edifice of the ancient - a deserted film set at the Atlas Studios in Morocco. Here the human persists as an ambivalent relic, transmitted through movements of a dance-footage fragment.
Shuttling between virtuosic physicality, the empty event of advertising, archaic scenographies and orientalist fantasy, the two videos speak to the transformations of the body in the 20th Century. An intermission of Charles Atlas' Mrs Peanut Visits New York (1999) plays, to quote the artist, âbecause we must'.
Vivian Ziherl (born 1982 in Brisbane) lives and works in Amsterdam. She is Associate Curator at Kunstverein, Amsterdam, and Assistant Curator with If I Can't Dance, I Don't Want to be Part of Your Revolution. Vivian has published a research paper on women of the avant-garde, as well as work for the Australian feminist art magazine LIP (1976-1984). Her writing has also appeared in Eyeline (Brisbane), UnMagazine (Melbourne), LEAP Magazine (Beijing) and TAKE on Art (New Delhi).