Tanssitaiteen verkkolehti

KOLUMNIT JA ESSEET


04.11.2012   |   Maria Prokhorova

It’s Not Necessary to Understand Everything…

here the performance starts…straight away… passing glance on the stage…big white screen in the middle… piano on the left… two tables in front of the screen…two microphones in front of the tables …small plastic cows on the tables in a row…oh, yeah, there was something about the cows in the title…

and here the performance starts…straight away…i haven’t arrived yet…two men stand by the microphones…they wear casual clothes…pile of white A4 sheets of paper in their hands…they speak…they speak the text from the papers…they speak fast…english is not my mother tongue…words and short phrases appear on the screen…big help for understanding what they speak about…sometimes…something about accepting…something about slow happening…cheerful music accompanies…they throw the papers on the floor…one by one…i see the laptop next to the man with the glasses…he has a remote controller…is he dealing both with the slides and the music sound at the same time…

they speak very fast… this is a lecture… my friend next to me burst out laughing…i almost envy…she studies choreography…this is more a dialogue than lecture… they are in the dialogue with own texts… they respond to any small reactions from the audience…they speak very fast…one of them sometimes turns to check the words on the screen…is everything alright…he sometimes points out in the end of the sentence…dot-sign…it’s all ellipsis for me…they speak about being with empty hands…i see white A4 sheets of paper in their hands…dot-sign again…

“It’s not necessary to understand everything…Just let it flow over…” – says the text from his papers…“It’s not necessary to understand everything…Just let it flow over…” – comes the text on the screen…sigh in relief…i think i start getting it…i remember i’m seeing a contemporary art performance…lecture is a form…rhythm…he speaks a lot about rhythm…rhythm comes on the screen…he counts…they refer to John Cage’s Lecture On Nothing…Cage’s picture with a funny smile comes on the screen…one…two…three…that guy dealt with chances and indeterminacy in music…i definitely start getting it…I like this performance…

repetition…they speak about repetition…people like recognizing the things…five…six…seven…repetition comes on the screen…or was it before John Cage’ picture…they keep on counting in between…nine…ten…music…they speak about music…dot-sign again…music comes on the screen…Beethoven’s picture…it surely comes after Cage’s picture…there is nothing funny in it… they still speak fast…i’m letting it flow over…white A4 sheets of paper keep on flying…there are many of them now on the floor…flow…they speak about flow…eight…nine…ten…eight…nine…ten…is it over…is it over…

Jonathan Burrows & Matteo Fargion: Cheap Lecture & The Cow Piece, photo: Herman Sorgeloos

the man who made the dot-signs comes to the piano…he plays…another man continues speaking…he rises hands up…he rises them again…they both rise hands up…i remember them with hands up in the program’s picture…they both rise hands up again…or was it still before the cheap lecture was over…

they stand behind the tables with the plastic cows…cows were not just decoration…here The Cow Piece starts…i’m getting the performance’s structure…first theory then practice…are they going to use the plastic cows now to show how to make choreography…really…seriously, really…there comes the familiar text from the lecture…not exactly the same…they read it now from the notebooks on the table turning over the white pages…the cows get laid on the side one by one…five…six…seven…eight…was there anything on the screen…

the man who dealt with the slides points out his shoulders, nipples, hips, penis, knees…again…he names the body parts…left hip, right hip, penis, right knee… something going on with the cows… right hip, penis, left knee…or was it a shoulder…three…four…five…the man who played the piano plays a weird instrument…looks like a music box…he plays harmonica…his partner makes a set of movement…they are choreographed…he moves freely and precisely…he has a dance background…they keep on speaking…

they turn simultaneously in four different directions…they turn the white pages over… this gets absurd…i laugh…the cows get imitated having a dialog with each other…the man with dance background plays accordion…he makes a folk beat with his feet…he definitely comes from dance…there comes another stringed folk instrument…is it dombra…this gets more and more absurd…i laugh all the time…five…six…seven…my friend laughs as well…

the man with dance background gets a scarf and covers the cows…he falls on the floor…he pulls the scarf that all the cows fall on the floor…did they die…i don’t feel sorry for them…they keep on speaking…shall i still let it just flow over…there is some set choreography again…what could be more absurd…the “orchestra-man” gets a loop and hangs the cows…three of them…it’s not me, it’s not me – he says…he can’t help laughing himself…he tries not show it…i love this performance…did the cows die…i don’t feel sorry for them…here comes the scarf again…my teacher on dance and composition in the first row shakes her head laughing…it can’t be more absurd…was there any other instrument played…five…six…seven…eight…lights get off…

Is it still not necessary to understand everything?

Maria Prokhorova
Dancer, who tries out different ways of viewing and reviewing dance

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Jonathan Burrows & Matteo Fargion: Cheap Lecture & The Cow Piece
Concept and performance: Jonathan Burrows & Matteo Fargion
Cheap Lecture was commisioned by Cultureel Centrum Maasmechelen and Dans in Limburg. Premiere 17.3.2012 Cultureel Centrum Maasmechelen (BE)
The Cow Piece was co-produced by Kaaitheater Burssels and supported by the Flemish Ministry of Culture. Premiere 2010.