Confronting hyper reality
“Physically, choreographically and dramaturgically I compose performances as passive aggressive experiences. This passive-aggression is vibrating at the core of omnipresent pathological states of embodied being induced by current and ancient conditioning and transference. These embodied pathologies exist in the shadows of what is considered normal life and in conceptual shadows. The work is a gesture to step into this space where it is necessary to stay until a shift happens. The commonality of these pathologies is revealed by being together in these states of incapacity to act, respond, move, feel or escape. Even though this is not a comfortable or comforting space to be in, a soft power of resistance is produced. It is this power that is choreographed, not the movements of bodies but the resonance of the internal movements and energies of the dancers in live performance. The dancers resonate with selected pathologies that they carry within their bodies, through them we resonate together in a meditative state of reciprocity. The intensity and information ripples outwards. The audience may be confronted by pathology, but this is done to initiate release and transformation and further cognitive processes on the topic, not to re traumatize. This is a different sort of documentary with a different sense of fiction: it is documentation because the dancers bodies have spent many years doing the practice; it is fiction not that it is not real, but that it is hyper-real. The way the dancers vibrate differently is an invitation to a different body state that is a state of affective potential. The dancers bodies offer the potential to attune and align the audience bodies and thoughts. This happens both in live performance and the archival versions of the work, revealing different performative materialization of hyper-reality. This archival project called Somatic Archiving is an interdisciplinary scientific collaboration that uses augmented reality technologies to generate further opportunities for the vibrations of the dancers to radiate into the world. The archive functions in such a way that a somatic body state is viewed through a digital device which kick-starts that state in the viewers’ bodies. This archive re-choreographs the mobile device into something that enhances human experience rather than using it primarily for commercial purposes. It helps to expand our digital realities and lets the somatic states of the dancers travel into the wider world. The practice, the performances, and the vision in combination evaporate the context of the theatre. The archival work ripples even further to expand what dance can be”.
Guðjónsdóttir in dialog with Prof. Susan Kozel, published in the publication OPENINGS, for the 25th anniversary of the Sophiensaele theater in Berlin 2021
Icelandic choreographer and dancer Margrét Sara Guðjónsdóttir was born in Reykjavík in 1978. She studied at the dance department of the Art Academy ARTEZ in Arnheim and Amsterdam in the Netherlands and graduated in 2002. She currently lives and works in Berlin. Margrét Sara co-founded with Sveinbjörg Þórhallsdóttir the production house Panic productions in Reykjavík Iceland. A production house which was active from 2004-2009 and produced and initiated collaborative performance works with foreign artists to be brought to the Icelandic stage.
The performance works engage in the ongoing discussion of healing, feminism, interconnectedness, notions of energetic citizenship, and the pathology of the social political body within the choreographic context. Since 2010 displaying the politics of intimacy is a core theme within the work and the aim is to create an environment where both performer and onlooker are able to question their inner and outer realities through it. The works function as safer spaces for collective exploration of the maze of connections and dead ends that constitute the interface of the pathological body with our achievement-oriented society and outer and inner realities beyond it. This fact reinforces the theme in the practice of allowing the performer and viewer access to states that are usually extremely private or even unconscious, thereby opening up the way for a profound experience that is disarmingly radical in its manifestation and politics. These body states are celebrated as visceral denials of the externally and internally imposed imperatives to achieve, and draw a contrast with the logic of hyperactivity by presenting an alternative kind of energy and strength. A body that opposes influences that are unhealthy to it exerts a subversive power over its environment. It transfers itself, as a kind of physical-energetic contagion, onto the bodies of the audience. From a starting point of letting the body fall and surrender, this body continues its emptying and disintegration to an extreme state during the course of the performances. This disintegration of the bodies of the performers is taken into the inner reality of the audience through the steady, slow, and hypnotic transformation taking place in front of their eyes. The result is a cohort of radically de-bordered bodies that portray the anonymous multitude. The dancers surrender to and are moved by inner forces, both political and energetic in nature, both ancient and current, and of a magnitude and power far greater than all of us. Forming a corporeal language that serves as a doorway into the subconscious. This language is marked by an infinite presence that reveals and provokes in the same moment. It breaches the divide between performer and audience in a meeting that is of high intensity. Together, exploring and confronting the inner landscape of the de-bordered body, offering up an alternative HYPER reality by surrendering to our shared reality.
Along side the creation of the performance works a research into what became the FULL DROP into the Body practice catapulted a process of mapping out a new category of performative body language, ways of developing it and transferring the knowledge both practically and theoretically to the wider international dance scene and academia. By creating the circumstances to be undone, FULL DROP into the Body practice questions older concepts of how we relate to our “professional” body and methods of disciplining and dominating that body in order to gain control over it and have it perform for us. Once the plasticity of the human matter is recognized, de-conditioning our formerly imprinted body memory, can be seen as a political act.
Electronic music maker Peter Rehberg (PITA) director and owner of the music label Edition MEGO has created the soundtracks to all the performances. The performers Laura Siegmund, Suet-Wan Tsang, Johanna Chemnitz, Angela Schubot, Catherine Jodoin, Louise Dahl, Marie Ursin have been long term collaborators, amongst other female dancers that deeply engaged in the work. During 2015 Margrét Sara became the first artist in residence at the Cullberg Ballet in Stockholm. Creating her second commissioned work for the Cullberg Ballet in 2017. Since 2017 she has had an on going collaboration with philosophy Professor Susan Kozel at Malmö University in Sweden. This research opened into philosophical dimensions, integrating the deep fascial release practice of FULL DROP into the Body with philosophical thought and language in collaboration they intend to work on a book together on this topic. Margrét Sara was one of 10 artists in residence at Flutgraben in Berlin during the period 2019 -2020. Curating collaboratively four events titled ”Flutgraben Performance Series”. Since 2017 she has an on going research with Phenomenologists Prof. Susan Kozel into the somatic states that make up her choreography and how they help to construct an understanding of Somatic Materialism in the world of philosophy. Incorporating the FULL DROP into the Body practice into philosophical thought and language. Other currently on going interdisciplinary collaborations include a full length film project with visual artist and filmmaker Hulda Rós Guðnadóttir. As well as research and creative work with choreographer and dancers Karolin Ginman and dancer Marlon Moilanen. Together exploring the intersections of various sciences of psychology and performative states.
Margrét Sara keeps on an open dialog with Professor Lucilla Guidi who did a postdoctoral at Hildesheim University on the research project “Performance and language games as transformative events”. Which focuses on the systematic relationship between aesthetic and philosophical exercises based on Guðjónsdóttir’s somatic choreography and Wittgenstein’s philosophy of language. The research project aims to establish a systematic connection between aesthetic and philosophical practice.
Margrét Saras work has been supported consistently through out the years by MDT in Stockholm, Inkonst in Malmö, WP zimmer in Antwerpen, Sophiensaele in Berlin, Dansehallerne in Copenhagen, LOKAL & RDF in Iceland.
The performance works have been shown in the following places and contexts amongst others;
Dansenshus Stockholm, Künstlerhaus Mousonturm Frankfurt, Sadlers Wells London, MDT Stockholm, Festival Rencontres choréograohiques de Seine-Saint Denis Paris, Dansenshus Copenhagen, ZeitraumExit Mannheim, Frascati Amsterdam, Nordwind festival Kampnagel Hamburg, HAU Berlin, WUK Vienna, International Theater Festival Black Box Oslo, Julidans Amsterdam, Dansenshus Oslo, Tramway theater, Glasgow, Sophiensaile Berlin, Atalante Gothenburg, Dansstationen Malmö, Les Grandes Traversees festival Bordeaux, Side Step Festival Zodiak Helsinki, Imagetanz Brut Vienna, December Dance Brugge, Göteborg festival Gothenburg, WHY NOT! Festival Amsterdam, Sommerbar/TanzimAugust Berlin, Tanzoffensive Leipzig, Spring Dance Utrecht, Theater De NWE Vorst Tilburg, Ballhaus Ost Berlin, RDF Reykjavík, LÓKAL Festival Reykjavík, RAS Kulturhus Sandnes, keðjaMariehamn 2014 Åland Islands, ICEHOT festival, Spring Forward Aerowaves festival Umáe, Bora Bora Aarhus Jutland, Autopsia Festival, Jazz House Copenhagen, Flutgraben Performance Event Berlin.
The Full Drop into the body practice has been taught in the following contexts amounts others:
The Full Drop practice has been taught at the; MA program in choreography at the Theater Academy of the Uniarts in Helsinki, MA Choreography program and BA dance program at DOCH in Stockholm, BA choreography program of the Academy National di Danza in Rome, The Icelandic Dance company, Cullberg Ballet dance company in Stockholm, Professional dancers training and workshop program at both Dansalliansen and Dance Centrum in Stockholm, Dansehallerne Copenhagen, Zodiak dance centre and theater in Helsinki, BA dance program of the University of Arts in Iceland, Praxis Festival in Oslo, Aaden Dans in Roskilde Denmark, RAVENDANS festival Norway, Kiezkieken- workshops for refugee women and children in Berlin, SKUDA Alliance for Actors and Dancers and PRODA classes for professional dancers Oslo, a. pass Research Center Brussels in Belgium, Hildesheim University Germany, Green Room training center for artists in Köln Germany, Kiezkieken- workshops for refugee women and children in Berlin. As well as at various spaces in Helsinki, Oslo, Copenhagen, Berlin, Basel and at academic conferences around Europe, within the field of dance, artistic research, performance studies and philosophy and in relation to her performance work.