The students of International
GRIND – dark encounter of man and machine
Deep techno sound breaks through the darkness. It grinds. It will never stop.
The first scene of this experimental dance piece brings on the stage man’s silhouette in abstract interaction with amorphous mass. In semi-darkness spectator’s sight is limited; fast-forwarded images challenge the notion of shape, evoking the ideas of genesis and cosmic black hole. Progressive electronic beats frame the staged action from struggling to playful, gradually emptying the performing space.
The continuous digital soundscape continues in the second scene, the light goes up revealing man in black banging against the white wall. Cable attached to his body and tense robotic movements depict the human-machine and organic-digital dichotomies, veiled into dramatic bass. Sound switches to pulse-like rhythm, catching the shadow on the wall that eventually separates from its ‘owner’.
The visualization of bodily struggle increases in next scene through repetitive vibration that alienates and transforms the human image. While one hand separates from it in uncontrolled pumping motion, the body of the performer is being pressured to the floor with the aggressive techno beats.
In a while, audience will, with its seriously limited visual capabilities, witness seemingly uncomfortable, even painful, performer’s encounter with lightened cable. The electro-shock dance creates the impression of outer energy fluctuating through the limbs. Disturbing sound of some familiar flying machinery is coming from the darkness around the almost collapsing body. In the moment of expectable defeat, the power balance switches and the performer starts easy, childish dance with shining cable, forming waves of light.
The sound synchronizes and turns into lighter dance electronica, allowing the performer to move freely. Light flashes produced with the cable make hologram-like effect of the, still dominating, body. Calming, onomatopoeic sound inhibits the action and brings blackout back.
In the next scene, the sound of giant power station soon fills the stage and struggle of the body occurs over again. Exhausting movements, bare light and over-present sound are sucking the human energy into the cable, until the moment when the performer fights back, constructing a lasso-like movements above his head. On the end of the cable there is a bulb that gets litter and litter, like it gets the electric energy from human muscles and body heat.
At this instance, the audience happens to be in manipulated, passive position, able to perceive only light bulb, circulating in the air somewhere in-between space above the stage and their heads. Waiting what will happen next, with irrational confidence in the human-machine hybrid somewhere in front of them, they are falling together into deeper and deeper sound, until the light fades away.
The dance performance GRIND is the product of collaboration between choreographer and dancer Jefta van Dinther, lighting designer Minna Tiikkainen and sound designer David Kiers.
As disturbingly powerful interplay of body, sound and light, the piece tests the limits of human senses and perceptions. In minimalistic style it achieves maximal effects. For whole hour of its length, the thrilling confrontation of man and machine, dark and light, music and noise goes on.
At some point the performance gives something of atmosphere from dark, underground dancefloors from 2nd half of XX century, with all escape and revolt in them.
Finally, its excellence resides in smart philosophical references to postindustrial era, particularly to uncanny future of our growing, developing-degrading, and rapidly changing society.
So intense, so unpredictable, so true to life.
MAIPR student, studied Ba Journalism and Ma Cultural Studies at University of Belgrade, and worked for theatre festivals MESS in Sarajevo and BITEF in Belgrade.
Jefta van Dinther, Minna Tiikkainen & David Kiers: GRIND
Concept: Jefta van Dinther, Minna Tiikkainen
Choreography and performance: Jefta van Dinther
Lighting design: Minna Tiikkainen
Sound design: David Kiers
Music: David Kiers and Emptyset
Production: Jefta van Dinther – Sure Basic & Minna Tiikkainen
Executive producer: Hybris Konstproduktion & Frascati Productions
Co-production: Frascati Productions, Weld, Tanzquartier, Pact Zollverein, Grand Theatre & Jardin d’Europe through Cullberg Ballet.
Premiere: 16.12.2011 Weld, Stockholm