Marie Chouinards sexually billed debut program looks dancers locked up like zoo swine then unleashed, while Vladimir Putin is razzed with flogs and made to dance with a Nubian Queen
A naked girl pierces her body repeatedly against a wall, her showing hide by the dark descent of hair crossing her appearance. A pale, serious boy jigs a lonely route through a army of observers, his limbs floating, warping and buckling to low-level electronic music. A middle-aged man in a knitted cap and lifeguards casing sweeps the floor, talking all the while about the push to cleanse his life.
There is nothing brand-new about visual artistry that blurs into performance, or disco that verges on station, but at Venice this year the question of categories feels interestingly loaded. Daina Ashbees Unrelated and Benot Lachambres Lifeguard are the firstly and third occasions described above, hitherto while they feature in the programme that has been put together by the hop biennales new artistic chairman, Marie Chouinard, neither production espouses traditional modes of choreography. The dreamy street-dance solo, meanwhile, comes from Anne Imhofs Faust, a five-hour episode that is depicting the largest audience at the art biennale and whose speech is heavily predicated on dance.
The agency of the body is a key topic of Faust, often because its cast are forced into situations of unsettling passivity. Imhof has changed the interior of the German pavilion into glass enclosures within which private individuals or a small number of musicians are detained. As we move past or even above them, we are capable of observe these young men and women engaged in their own variously listless, hostile or sexual tasks, as if they were laboratory samples or animals in a zoo.
Those glass walls and ceilings start to feel like an absolute divide, moving us into voyeurs and the performers into objects even when theyre exhibiting signs of warning action. It meets as a outraging reversal of dominance when the musicians are sporadically let out of their cadres and allowed to dance among us, taking sudden authority of the space and insisting their primacy over our awkward, self-conscious bodies.
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