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January 2020

INDEPENDENCE IN SPACE

About the impossible attempt to think freedom into a space

Edith-Russ-House for Media Art

In cooperation with the  Oldenburg State Theater

Part of the 2-year-project FIGHT (FOR) INDEPENDENCE (2018-2020)

In this choreographic installation the Berlin group Costa Compagnie with the dancer and choreographer Jascha Viehstädt and the director and artist Felix Meyer-Christian, as well as with the participation of the actresses Katharina Shakina, Helen Wendt, deal with the physical and spatial dynamics of global independence movements. Also in the team is the Catalan dancer and performer Montserrat Gardó Castillo, who has been following the conflict about independence and identity in her home city for years. Body images along the freedom of dissent, of isolation, loss, departure, aggression and solidarity are combined with a sound landscape of noises, sounds and language-fragments from the research conducted by Costa Compagnie in Great Britain, Bavaria, Catalonia and Southern Sudan. In this performance, movement and sound are condensed  into a world of associations surrounding the audience.

Duration: approx. 240 minutes

Freely accessible at all times

Free admission

Opening on Saturday, 11 January 2020 at 6 pm

Second performance on Sunday, 12 January 2020 at 3 pm

TEAM @ Independence in Space

Performance, Co-Creation Montserrat Gardó Castillo, Katharina Shakina, Helen Wendt Choreographie, Performance Jascha Viehstädt Artistic Director, Research Felix Meyer-Christian  Composition, Soundart Marcus Thomas Programming, Video Erik Kundt Dramaturgy Marc-Oliver Krampe  Production Management Franziska Merlo

A production by Costa Compagnie in cooperation with the State Theater Nuremberg and the State Theater Oldenburg, as well as the Edith-Russ-Haus for Media Art.

ERH_de      Oldenburgisches Staatstheater    Logo_STN_1819_pos

Funded in the Fonds Doppelpass by the Federal Foundation of Culture.

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Kindly supported by INVR.SPACE

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“Independence in Space” is part of the four-part cooperation of the Costa Compagnie with the State Theatres of Nürnberg and Oldenburg and the Edith-Russ-Haus for Media Art. The other three parts, “Independence for All”, “Independence for You” and “Independence in Virtual Reality” will be performed from 14-17.5.2020 in the Exerzierhalle Oldenburg as part of the flausen+ BANDEN! – Festival of the Oldenburg State Theatre

Dancing Separatism

The Costa Compagnie wants to track down global independence movements in dance. This can be experienced on the weekend in Oldenburg.

Published on 11.01.2020 in TAZ

11. 1. 2020 / By Jan-Paul Koopmann / taz.bremen editor

BREMEN taz | Montserrat Gardó Castillo does not make it easy for herself with her identity. “It is complicated,” says the dancer, born in Barcelona in 1982, “perhaps more complicated than many others.” It starts with the language already: At home in her family she spoke Catalan, but with most of her friends* she spoke Spanish. In addition, she attended a French school, has lived in Germany for 13 years and has been working in international contexts for a little longer – in English, of course.

In any case, Castillo hadn’t expected that the Catalan striving for independence would take her as it has now happened. Especially since her socialization is part of this self-evident US-American cosmopolitanism anyway, like most of her year: with formerly “Baywatch” and today Netflix.

The ambiguity of her history is exemplary for the Costa Compagnie’s project “Fight (For) Independence”, the second part of which can be seen this weekend at the Edith-Russ-House for Media Art in Oldenburg.

The performers* have researched and visited independence movements all over the world: not only in Catalonia, but also in South Sudan or Great Britain. The fact that the Compagnie has also paid their respects to the Bavarian Party already reveals that separatists today have often distanced themselves from a previously widespread idea of the political left: that of an anti-imperialist avant-garde, a “revolutionary subject” that could be relied on for a long time.
You will recall that after the revolutions of the Western working class had been crushed by the bank, or never happened at all, the left had turned to the separatist movements. Charged to the point of “Can’t go on” with images of David’s struggle against Goliath, freedom, authenticity, and even identity.

For director Felix Meyer-Christian, this is now only the occasion for a search for traces when he openly asks: “Is this still a progressive project? Or is it just the renaissance of reactionary nationalisms?

Art approaches the social movements in different ways. The Costa Compagnie has conducted interviews, filmed on site, and will also work with virtual reality glasses in subsequent productions in order to open up the most direct, immersive access possible.

Dance piece without spoken words

The remaining parts of the series, in which Edith-Russ-Haus and the company as well as the State Theaters of Oldenburg and Nuremberg are involved, will be shown in May at the “Flausen + Banden Festival” in Oldenburg. The part that is now coming up, “Independence in Space”, is perhaps the most down-to-earth, although it is the most abstract: it is a dance piece, completely without spoken words.

And this is where Montserrat Gardó Castillo comes into play, who, together with dancer and choreographer Jascha Viehstädt and actresses Katharina Shakina and Helen Wendt, will attempt to physically explore the fundamental possibility of freedom in space: as a “freely accessible installation”, as it is called.

“Independence in Space”

On Saturday and Sunday the artists will perform for four hours each, whereby it is up to the audience to decide when, how long and on which paths they want to experience “Independence in Space”. This does not only mean the organisational structure of the event, but also the content. Although the material of the production is from Catalonia this time, it should concern everyone who has to negotiate freedom individually along the borders of culture, nation, skin colour, gender or sexual orientation. At least that is how the Costa Compagnie formulates its claim.

Highly reflected

Montserrat Gardó Castillo offers her own experience as a model. Highly reflective, the dancer, who is also trained as a journalist, describes how emotions and rational considerations collided during the research. Of course she knows from her head that universalism is right and important. “Nevertheless, I still get goose bumps today,” she says when thinking about the trip.

In Catalonia, she visited folk festivals with the company, and took part in the “Castells”: multi-storey human pyramids that are formed quickly and not without danger in streets and marketplaces. In this combination of folklore and extreme physicality, she has had a collective experience that was foreign to her until then: “Suddenly I felt Catalan.

Cosmopolitan Jazz Montages

The stage action is now an abstraction of this emotion; instead of folkloric material, electronic rhythms and background noises can be heard as well as cosmopolitan jazz montages and field recordings – i.e. background sounds from demonstrations or from nature.

And then the last amazement about what the Edith-Russ-House for Media Art, which by the way heralds its 20th year with this event, actually has to do with dance, fades away. Politically and in terms of multimedia aesthetics, “Independence in Space” is absolutely no foreign body here. Although of course that’s exactly what it’s all about.


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