INTERVIEW AT MARC
Milvus Artistic Research Center.
with Valeriia Buradzhyieva
In July 2022, while I was in residency at M.A.R.C, the Milvus Artistic Research Center in Knislinge/Sweden run by Rachel Tess, I met Valeriia Buradzhyieva, an art curator to who I did a presentation of « X.DATES » a choreographic research/work in progress.
Our willingness to speak together brought us to the following interview where were shared opinions towards the potentials of residency space, commoning, hyper realistic elements within a performative context and considerations between inventiveness and interactiveness among others.
Valeriia BURADZHYIEVA - Alban, could you introduce yourself please ?
Alban OVANESSIAN - My name is Alban Ovanessian, I am French and Armenian. I go by he/him and they/them. I am a dancer, a performer and an art maker. I am 28 years old and I am currently at M.A.R.C to deepen the choreographic research « X.DATES ». Could you introduce yourself too ?
V.B - My name is Valeriia Buradzhyieva, I am from Ukraine. I am 24 years old, I am a curator on participatory art events mostly, and I am here at M.A.R.C, the Milvus Artistic Research Center working with Alban Ovanessian, and other residents. So Alban, tell me please about your research.
A.O - I am working on a research entitled « X.DATES » whom the theme is about the date, defined as a day, a month, a year. The roots of this research bring me to evoke the first steps that took place in 2018, when I was student in 3rd year at P.A.R.T.S, the Performing Arts Research and Training Studios, in Brussels.
In this year, the « Festival d’Automne » invited Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker, the director of P.A.R.T.S and ROSAS dance company, as the guest of honor for this edition.
ROSAS was commissioned to perform 11 repertoires from the company, and P.A.R.T.S got programmed to perform the piece « Drumming » and a solo from 3 until 5min.
Each student would create and then perform in the hall center of the « Centre National de la Dance » in Paris, meaning each performance will be oriented as 360 degree. And I remember very clearly being confronted to the time frame which felt for me so little knowing I am a big talker.
V.B - Yes I noticed that with you.
A.O - (laugh) Yes, but why not talk ? The things was the few corporeal scripts I had in mind would take way too much time. It’s after having had a discussion with Salva Sanchis, our former mentor for this production, that I became aware that I had to distinct the elements I wanted to argument from by questioning how I could give them a responsibility and a potential that would fit within the time frame, without making each proposal sectional but anecdotic. How to go from one element to an other ? Such as an event.
It’s thus through evoking this word "event" I wanted to embody that I realized the way events are mentioned in our society is often by using dates. For example, news paper/televisions news evoke dates as a starting point and then contextualize the events. It is how the concept of dates became the central major point of this solo.
Using this theme within this research houses the notion of chronology that allows a catalogue of events and intersections in « X.DATES » : How to chronologize these dates ? Which time/context do I attribute each of them regarding their representation ? Do I perform them from the beginning until the end meaning the first date I could remember until the last I would embody ? Do I go by reversing this system and framing them by starting by the end and landing with the beginning ? Do I introduce them randomly ? Do I filter and mention them by context ? Or do I use various display systems ?
I then decided to revise the dates I wanted to give a space to and use all of these alternative ways of exposing them. It’s after elaborating an important collection that the main thematic question started to drawn from itself : How to physicalize these dates ? I had the will to contrast their depictions by layering different body proposals, meaning setting a gesture, setting the full scene, setting the physical outcome of the date, and so on.
The version I then presented in 2018, at the Centre National de la Danse, was a short selection of 9 dates among the 32 dates I created and researched on.
It’s only, in 2021, that I took back this solo-research, when I was at that time, dancing at the NORRDANS dance company, in Sweden, ruled by Martin Forsberg. One of the various luxury I had to work there was to be offered a laboratory-space by the company, each Friday afternoon, where I would deepen my own artistic practice. I then worked quite sporadically on this project until 2022, and proposed various presentations of X.DATES of 20min.
As far as I am now at in the process of shaping this research into a performance, I find myself turning the time frame into 50/60min solo format, hence my presence at M.A.R.C for two consecutive weeks.
V.B - What was your initial idea for it when you came ? And how it turned out to be at the end of the residency ?
A.O - As a starting point, I came at M.A.R.C with a specific methodology for researching I particularly affectionate which is to simply ask to myself the 3 following questions : WHAT ? HOW ? WHY ?
What is the work about ? What do I expect from it?
How to cooperate with the arguments I want to give an attention to ? How to generate a dramaturgy that will be addressed to the audience ?
Why is this research « here » ? Why are these choreographic elements part of this research ? Why addressing them to outsiders ?
Approaching these thematic issues allows me to generate various answers, that I select as self-defined goals and write them down in a table. For example, if I want to include a certain light within the research, then I will write down in the « How » category this element, meaning the light in itself, and I will try to dialogue around the « What does it mean regarding to the content » and « Why is it there ? ». If the answers would find themselves coherently aligned, I would stage them in the finalized choreographic proposal.
V.B - What were you doing during this residency at M.A.R.C ?
A.O - I worked factually about outsourcing the interest in this research and how would that be presented in a performative context, which led me to wonder : When does the beginning starts ?
I thus invest some thinking about the entering conditions the audience would met as arrival within this research. What is the activity I can already propose while people enters through the space, take seat, talk to their neighboors, look upon the space, etc..
Therefore, I have composed a section where choreography is employed as representation of different dates that I passed by through the past, the present, the future. As I explained earlier, this physicalization presents various strategies, from a gesture representing the date until the full recreation of the scene. These two points, defined as extremities of the range I can navigate in, brought me to generate different movements/narrations in whom the body finds itself different corporeity, spacial configuration, movements textures that I confront with the major point of this research : How to set/reset a date physically speaking ?
For example, the last time I had my grand father on the phone, I could through the memorization of the feature, meaning grabbing the phone, standing still in the living room and reproducing this action as the representation of this date ; or I could go with the sensorial/kinetic feeling of understanding this scene and using it to generate a series of movements that would express this body-statement. There is then a play between these two alternatives ways of treating these dates : literality and abstraction.
Moreover, I placed an audio track that incorporates « television news » presenter oice.
V.B : You mean the « google translate » voice ?
A.O : Yes, but it is in reality from a tv presenter. The news are registered and exposed from the date of the day, the date is the thus the filter of the informations you will receive ; I then used this dramaturgical element was a wink for the outsiders, setting with them the following contract : the work comes from the notion of the date and its representation. I have decided to only let the « television news » voice evoking the dates without referring to any events in order to invite the audience to question the methodologies, systems, logistics I dialogue with to embody these dates. That is the first part I developed and worked here, at M.A.R.C.
The 2nd part is entitled « the labyrinth », which means I scored various types of dates and I introduce them through spacial patterns. This time, I use my own voice to enunciate the dates, and I reveal the event associated to the date. This section goes then through different points, and interacts and proposes answers to how to collect these dates and present them in a narrative discourse. The space becomes a new layer where the following spacial elements « stations », « diagonale », « circle » comes up in order to give to the space the responsability of contrasting the narrative without making it too explicative for the audience.
I am now in the step of evoking, though the representation of dates, scenographic elements.
V.B - Are you going to use the tire in your showing ?
A.O - Yes.
V.B - The tire is at the moment your only scenographic element, right beside the costume ?
A.O : Yes, at the moment. It’s always very intriguing for me when I arrive in a place where there is a bunch of stuffs I am looking at and I find myself wondering if these things are necessary for me to be part of the research
there is things you will need really for you research but you feel so much connected with it, it’s itching, you have to do something with for whatsoever reason. Rachel Tess, who is the director of the place, came to the rehearsal and told me « Why don’t you try stuffs that will not work but at least you will create an answer with it, otherwise you will always bring those « what if ». Put it in at the moment, and if you will find your way to bring it in your suitcase if you are programmed anywhere.
I have been deeply thinking about interactions with the audience. Not in terms oh physical activity, but can I give a certain responsibility to the audience to make them feel less passive in this work. What it is to be part of a performance as still an observer but to be tasked to do something in order to make them feel more included in this research. What is the experience I could offer them ? And how do I shape this experience ?