Side Step festival 2024 kicks off with the premiere of Boundless Ominous Fields, by Margrét Sara Guðjónsdóttir. We posed Margrét Sara a few questions about her artistic practise and the upcoming work.
- one of the central concepts in your artistic work and practice is pathology, more specifically the pathologies of the (social-political) body. Could you explain a bit how you understand the concept in the context of your work in general, and in relation to this performance in particular?
As a counter proposal to today’s popular culture, my work in its essence aims to go beyond the vigorous, high performance and aesthetic body. It acknowledges that sociopolitical large-scale forces influence our health and play a concrete role in how we experience ourselves.
Artistically and methodologically I work with expressions of physiological realities, psychological and emotional realities including archetypical patterns, as well as a phenomenological exploration of our matter. I do that through a dialog with formerly dormant unconscious parts of ourselves using somatic body work where the performers get in touch with how various internal realities are at play before and at times without the conscious mind registers what is occurring or being played out.
When I use the terminology pathologies I am referring to the practical fact that cells, muscle fibre, bone structures, body alignment, the nervous system-respiratory system- circulatory system- digestive system- endocrine system-reproductive system, the connective tissues and flow of various energies within our bodies all reflect our current and former experiences, conditioned patterns, as well as genetic imprint. Including traumatic events from our biographical history which we carry with us in a literal sense, in that way.
Therefore all internal and animated motorised movements of the body reflect pathological (non optimal functioning) inner systems and scarred and contracted tissue. My work involves practical research and an artistic dialogue from that perspective.
During the working process of the performance Boundless Ominous Fields we built on my 14 year research into the somatic practice FULL DROP into the body. Exploring altered states of perception relying on the science of deep tissue release towards heightened sense of bodily perception and expanded self awareness.
- I am especially curious about its meaning in relation to the "internal archives beyond the personal biographical body" that are mentioned in the descriptive text about performance.
In the performance Boundless Ominous Fields the performers unwind the matter allowing the body to release tension in the depth and in that way to open up and become a vessel for channelling and self expression beyond the cognitive. We enter into a dialog with generational archives and passed on trauma patterns and related energetic realities dormant and originating within the cellular body and subconsciousness. These archives can be expressed through various systems in the body. Moving from that source gives space for current and ancient embodied realities within us to express internalised patterns, sentiments and various forms of embodied life.
- I actually have the same question regarding the concept of "energetic citizenship". How does that relate to Boundless Ominous Fields?
As a continuation of my other answers I would say that my work in general deals with what energetic citizenship really means. As a choreographer I compose experiences that are meant to vibrate energetically at the core of omnipresent pathological states of embodied beings induced by current and ancient conditioning and transference. These embodied pathologies exist in the shadows of what is considered normal life and in conceptual shadows.
The work is a gesture to step into this space and through that the commonality of these pathologies is revealed. The dancers resonate with selected pathologies and formerly unconscious realities that they carry within their bodies, through them we resonate together in a meditative state of reciprocity. The intensity and information ripples outwards. The audience may be confronted by pathology, but this is done to initiate release and transformation and further cognitive and physical processes on the topic, not to re-traumatise.
- The name of the performance also tickles the imagination. Can you dwell a bit more on that?
The title Boundless Ominous Fields refers to the boundless magnitude of internal information of historical past within the blood lines we carry on and the expansion which occurs in our minds when we can see ourselves through that perspective. It refers as well to the ominous feeling of the unknown and the mystery of ourselves in the world within the larger scope of things. In a literal sense the title also refers to the real life experience of oneself within the boundless ominous fields of oneself as a human being which one can get in touch with when entering into the subjective field of subliminal experience through the matter.
Boundless Ominous Fields at Zodiak Stage as a part of the Side Step Festival on Feb 1–3, 2024, and as part of Zodiak's season programme on May 14–19.