Antistatic questions to Uri Shafir // Habitat
WATCHING DANCE AND AT THE SAME TIME WATCHING LIFE
What were you particularly interested in when working on “Habitat”?
The subtitle of my work “Habitat” is “Nothing seems to me the most potent thing in the world” – a quote that I took from the visual artist Robert Barry and that I deeply connect with. It’s hard to find moments of Nothingness within a dance work, since dance is so easily related to what we do, how we move; it’s a constant appearance and it’s also about being constantly busy with something. While Nothingness brings forward the in-between moments, a potential of looking at a body in space;simply being a body is space. What happens when dance dares to invite “nothingness”; what kind of tension, energy and presence does it permit?
What kind of experience do you want to create for the audience with this piece?
Flirting with Nothingness in performance is flirting with danger and failure. It undermines our expectations from the dance to “dance”. In this work, we play with knowing and not knowing what we’re doing. We allow our bodies to re-write the choreography in the present moment, to erase parts of it, to find new ones and to play with different modes of being and performing. It is about finding how dance becomes our Habitat, our natural environment when we are not busy with achievement and success, but with being alive, present and playful. I hope to create for the audience an experience of watching dance, but at the same time watching life.
How would you define your artistic position in contemporary dance? What makes you work in this art form?
What interests me the most, is the question: What is really alive in live performance? What is being present? Are we reallypresent when we perform an already choreographed movement?
How can the choreography, which belongs to the past, can really be alive when it’s performed?
This is why I’m fascinated with the idea of Nothingness, or Failure in dance. It is within these magical moments, where what was “supposed” to happen is postponed, stretched; it gives way to something unexpected to happen – which I’m trying to capture. This is the real power of the art of performance, and dance in particular. There is a strong bond between Nothing and the Present Moment, and in my works I hope to find this bond within the body.