:: THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS ::
[and what Alice found there]
Cyprus Performance Art Workshop 2017
Dagmar I. Glausnitzer-Smith:
As if the mirror does not reflect the expected, idealized, projected self and as if it remains an empty surface, so ‘blank’ in fact, to embark the journey beyond the idea of reflection. Testing and experiencing the conditions to roam amongst the ‘otherness’ of reality, which can exceed the confirmation of knowledge, patterns of shape and form, and the presumption for expected behavior.
Jean Cocteau’s Film Orpheus (French Orphée) from 1950 is based on the Greek myth and is set in contemporary Paris. In one scene after Eurydice’s death, the actor Jean Marais starring Orpheus glances at Eurydice in the mirror, and in that moment Eurydice disappears. Torn between life and death, love and desire a world is hidden beyond the surface of the mirror. Cocteau depicts the mirror to be the probability of the threshold as a view towards the assumed unknown and the underworld becomes a representation of control and as a symbol, the world of death is a speculated image inside the mirror. There is however a chance that the ‘immortal poet’ regains his life without the recollection of the past.
The mirror is blank.
The examination starts with the confrontation of forming a connection and a relation of specific outside locations within the city parameters of Nicosia. Between the intersections of everyday life and constructed moments and intuitive adjustments, the experience becomes the physical, creative intervention to reach the pivotal situation of Performance Art Action. The encounter becomes a physical and visual self-reflection, a site-poetic contemplation upon the urge to satisfy what the unknown otherness can be and what the mindful body on the threshold may imply. Technically and philosophically materials as self-reflection can be tested against the screen of projection.
Exercises pre-empt the possibilities of ‘being’ between known surfaces and invented layers as part of the mental or physical projection as background or foreground, and the re-emphasis of a negotiable middle ground to become the operative space for physical presence.
And in-between rest places discussions are being initiated to reflect and ponder and evaluate the situations, which are being witnessed, and with the presence of language the paradoxical elements are moved into a changed perspective.
Interior Surface I, photographed by Dagmar I. Glausnitzer-Smith, London 2016
The mirror has always seduced the eye and the thought, bringing the reflection of reality and reality itself to meet on the ground of illusion. The screens of the different devices we use daily, lead us to live in this illusion, making us part of the non corporeal reality of a virtual space, like the mirror does.
While the images generally invite us to live a partial experience, dominated by the look and thought, this seminar aims to generate an image / experience, able to involve the physicality and the totality of the senses of who performs and who attends a performance.
Like Alice (*), we will cross the border between the illusion induced by the media and reality, bringing these two dimensions to interact in the territory of the somatic experience of time, space, and an expanded sense of the image.
We will use tools and technology for to create a space for interaction and audiovisual involvement, through the performative action.
Finally, we will bring the idea of the boundary between illusion and reality in the reality surrounding us, meeting the city.
(* “Through the Looking Glass. What Alice Found There” in 1871, is a novel by Lewis Carroll, the sequel to “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”, 1865)