Research around the question of individual identity.

Although we define our personal identity with the help of characteristics (which may relate to age, physical appearance, place of living, beliefs, opinions, etc.), these always exist only in relation to others to which they are opposed or from which they differ. Thus the definition of one’s personal identity is always a negative definition, as what one is not. That is to say, it is always determined as in relation to an otherness. It is therefore not a sum of characteristics, but a network of relations (of identity, similarity, distinction, opposition, etc.) between different representations of entities, characteristics and values which compose our representation of the world.

The construction of our personal identity, i.e. the process of stabilising and fixing this network, takes place throughout life through the experiences and encounters we have. It is a process by which the subject searches for and cultivates the representations with which he will identify or from which he will distinguished himself. These movements and fixations of identifications take place partly unconsciously, and the awareness realization of the network of beliefs (of the value system) with which we identify and which constitutes our identity takes place through encounters with people or through the experience of events or situations which define and express an otherness to these beliefs. It is in this way the putting into perspective of points of view with each other that allows us to understand and define them.

Triangulations is a research process which first of all aims to explore with each performer the links between their lived experiences and the representations and the beliefs those have produced. The work therefore consists first of all in bringing to light situations, events or experiences which have been significant and which continue to play a role in the constitution of their identity, and which are possibly a source of tension or contradiction in the value system that constitutes it. It will then be a question of observing with the performers the way in which these experiences and beliefs are expressed or transpire through bodily and verbal expressions. Finally, we work with these spontaneous expressions within performative scores linked to movement, speech and/or voice (see the research: On the corporality of languages) in order to create a performative score within which they can come to life on stage.

As he is not yet able to fully control his movements, the mirror stage reveals to the child the inadequacy of his solipsistic feeling and existence for others. It is the discovery of two parallel worlds. It is the discovery of my existence as representation, that is to say of the non-belonging of my body to myself, to the self, but to the world of representation. Different moments of this discovery are accompanied by emotions of horror and pleasure. Horror of the discovery of the insurmountable split between “I” and my being for others. Enjoyment of the discovery of the control gained over this object body, suddenly gratifying me with an extension of my power over the world. It is the birth of an “alienating identity”, Lacan will say, “which situates the instance of the self, even before its social determination, in a line of fiction, […] which will only asymptomatically join the subject’s becoming, whatever the success of the dialectical syntheses by which he must resolve, as I, his discordance with his own reality. »

The continuous movement of consciousness bounce that this discordance produces, between my perceptions, my feelings, my expression, my fantasised representation of myself and my representation of others, is particularly clear in the relationship we have with our faces. It is precisely this face that I never see, which never, in my interactions with others, is unveiled in my perceptive field. It is the strangest of my ‘selves’. And yet it is the one that is constantly being me for others. It is the haunting and omnipresent stranger of my being-with-others. The one that I will constantly try to control and channel to connect with the world. It is the one that I will continually try to capture through the reflection that the movements and sounds of others reflect back to me. “My body, merciless topie”, Foucault said. For it is indeed this body-place, outside of me, inaccessible, to which the other will forever turn to access to me. My body, space of incarnation of the ineluctable split of two places without space: the with-the-other and the self.

As a result, the actor’s acting occurs as a continuous and desperate attempt to be that other to whom the other is addressing. An attempt to prove that one is oneself by mastering this image, this exteriority of the self. This attempt to be that, which the other perceives as me.

Triangulations is the exploration of these rebounds, these dialogical movements between different focalisations of consciousness, between different states of consciousness, and the exploration of the dialectical constructions that the arrangement and interactions of these different states produce. It is the attempt to achieve this by alternating between different modalities of attention to what “I” is: the attention paid to my past and present experiences, the attention paid to my dialectical representation of myself with others, and the attention paid to how I feel about the unveiling of these experiences in the eyes of the other. The dancers thus operate a sort of triangulation around their “I-self” between their relationship to themselves and to the other and between the present and the past, that is to say between their experience, their feeling when faced with this experience, and their feeling when faced with the exposure of this experience in the performance space.

Triangulation therefore does not aim to stage individuals, but to place them in networks of relationships: the relationship they have with their history, their culture, their language, the others, etc.

Research residency within the framework of the Flutgraben Performances*:
from 25 March to 7 April 2019. Leipzig, Berlin. With: German Farias, Nils Ulber.
from 20 to 31 January 2020. With: Clara Sjölin.

Research residency in the framework of the Denkzeit research grant**:
from 22 july to 8 august 2020. Leipzig. With: Clara Sjölin. Assitance : Nacha Bascourleguy, German Farias.

Public presentation: 7 April 2019, Flutgraben performances*, Berlin
With : German Farias, Nils Ulber

Videos :

German Farias, excerpts from rehearsals, January 2019, Leipzig :
Born in Rosario, Argentina, German Farias has been steeped in Argentinean folklore since his youth. By deconstructing its dances and its gestural and verbal vocabulary, he reveals the presence of the African and Amerindian cultural roots that compose it. This unveiling takes place through an indictment against the institutional and social denial of the presence of these roots in Argentine culture, and against the desire to identify with a fantasized ideal of European culture and Western culture in general. Caught up in this collective identity torn apart by its contradictions, the young dancer tries to grasp his individuality through his personal choices.

Nils Ulber, performance excerpts, April 2019, Flutgraben Performances*, Berlin :
For the young dancer that he was, the birth of a little girl occurred to Nils as a paradigm shift. Becoming a parent sometimes means redefining one’s relationship with oneself and with others. In this solo, Nils travels through the memories and emotions he has experienced as he learns to discover and recognize himself as a father.

Clara Sjölin, excerpts from rehearsals, August 2020, Denkzeit Stipendium**, Leipzig :
Deconstructing the dancing body. Deconstructing the technical perception of the dancing body. What sensations does this non-technical body contain? What words does it contain? How is it perceived by others? What sensations are attributed to it? Which individual is attributed to it?
These questions run through Clara’s exploration of how she perceives her body, and how it is perceived by others. How do we approach this body trained for dance? How can we naively approach these bodily sensations that have been so many times explored, named, hierarchized, organized? How to deconstruct the technique of the body, and rediscover the intimacy of this body in movement? How to dance these sensations, freed from the technical straitjacket that normally directs them and determines their mode of expression?

*Flutgraben Performances is financed by the Department of Culture and Europe of the Berlin Senate and supported by Flutgraben e.V. and the public in private studio.

**The creation of this work was made possible by a grant from the Cultural Foundation of the Free State of Saxony (Kulturstiftung des Freistaates Sachsen).

© Charlie Fouchier, 2020 / All contents are under International License