Interview: Janina Rajakangas & Neil Callaghan
Zodiak's and Moving in November Festival's co-production for this is Over Your Fucking Body by Janina Rajakangas and Neil Callaghan. We asked Janina and Neil a few questions about the piece and the process.
Where does the name of the piece, Over Your Fucking Body, come from? Where are its roots and why is it a fucking body?
Janina: I made the title up at a moment when I was rather frustrated at having to explain why I make dances. So, I thought most of us do dying and fucking so we must all understand dance, but for some reason we deny it. So, instead of using the saying “Over my dead body” I thought we could use “Over your fucking body” when anyone undermines its value.
Neil: Having ‘body’ in the title seemed important to us. It is a show that is about the body, and all it contains, its physical make up of bones, flesh, organs, but also its emotions, unique histories, patterns, behaviours.
You have said that OYFB started from your interest in those amorphous moments where words fail but shared experiences still exist between people, and that you aim to physically articulate these unnameable states into dances. Can you describe some of the practices you have used in order to approach this challenge?
Janina: It has been a challenge, you are right. We have had to use words in the studio to discuss where we are at. It has been bizarre to work on unnamed states and then try to talk of them. With Neil, we have made up something that we call pretty boringly “practice”. It has such a general name, because it is practicing everything that has to do with the piece at once. We are not sure what this means exactly and it is a little different for both of us, but we know when we are doing it. The piece relies strongly on this practice, so here you go, it is mad. To be honest the piece has been very long to make and it is not ready yet!
Neil: Yes it seems almost contradictory to be able to physically articulate unnamable states, it is really a proposition to challenge us. Not to just do what we can say, but to find something that resists categorization. We have done this through lots of doing and talking, talking and doing. Trying to dance unnameable states and then talk about them, forces us to communicate in a kind of poetry. I enjoy this specificity and yet resisting language that fixes something and kills it.
Have you made some particular (bodily) discoveries that you’d like to share at this point?
Neil: I have been thinking a lot about the insides and outsides of our bodies. Our interior landscapes and external environments, and how these are in dialogue with one another.
Also about gut and the head, what feels right and what makes sense. I am always on the side of the gut, but sometimes it feels like a real wrestle between the two and I am learning to listen more carefully.
Janina: Well, that I can give birth and then dance towards a premier over the next seven months if I am ok with failing at everything else. So, “Over my fucking body” everyday.
Over Your Fucking Body on Zodiak Stage Nov 6 – Nov 20, 2019. The four first performances between Nov 6 and 10 are a part of the Moving in November Festival.