for the time being [Victory over the Sun]
future oracle scene with Yoko Ishiguro © 2012 DAP-Lab
a dance opera performance by DAP-Lab,
directed by Johannes Birringer & Michèle Danjoux,
Premiere: Sadler's Wells/Lilian Balyis Theatre, London, April 3-4, 2014
Yiorgos Bakalos, Manaskarn Insang, Yoko Ishiguro, Ross Jennings, Aggeliki Margeti, Vanessa Michielon, Helenna Ren, Em Watanabe, Caroline Wilkins (performers);
Oliver Doyle (music, live sound synthesis);
Cameron McKirdy (graphics & kinect interface design);
John Richards (electronics);
Michèle Danjoux (art direction / audiophonic design);
Michèle Danjoux (costume design);
Johannes Birringer (video, scenography & stage direction).
All performance materials composed collaboratively by the lab ensemble.
Special light/sound effects (PhilharmonicLights/Aleksandar Tomic);
Lighting (Maria Alves); lighting operation, sound operaton & technical assistance ( Elliott O'Brart);
Sound Recording (Graeme Shaw); Theremuino design (Michael Blow);
"for the time being" is a choreosonic performance opera by DAP-Lab exploring the sound of movement in a 50-minute premiere of a new stage work inspired by the Russian Futurist opera "Victory over the Sun" (1913) and its fantastical visual designs (by Malevich and Lissitzky). Nearly a hundred years ago, the Futurists collaborated on an eccentric vision of a society to come, based on revolutionary fervor of the time. But "Victory over the Sun," which may have been an early example of what is now called performance art, is a most curious artefact, based on multidisciplinary collaboration by composer Matiushin, a painter and violinist, the painter Malevich, who later became famous for his abstract Suprematist paintings, the poet Kruchenykh, and poet/mathematician Khlebnikov who had invented a non-sense language called zaum. In a letter to Matiushin, Malevich said, "We have come as far as the rejection of reason because another reason has grown in us which can be called 'beyond reason' and which also has law, construction, and sense ... " It is possible that the Sun, which in the opera is captured and eclipsed, is a symbol for reason itself, although it might also be a prophecy of solar or atomic power, "locked up in a concrete house" that seems to have exploded. Matiushin's music was a mysterious aspect of the original piece, since only 27 bars of the original score seemed to have survived, but in any case this dance work uses original sound and does not try to reconstruct the opera.
Inspired by the original, El Lissitzky thought that it would also be possible to recast the work as an electromechanical show. He designed a number of figurines and a dynamic stage set for abstract doll-like figures. Besides the "Figurinenmappe," a portfolio of lithographs depicting several of the opera’s characters, Lissitzly drew unique sketches for abstract architectural designs (Prouns) that inspired Danjoux's costumes and Birringer's scenography. For example, in the first Act, the red and white squares (cf. Lissitzky's The Story of Two Squares), Tatlin's Tower (radio head design), and the yellow triangles are realized as three-dimensional models to be worn, sounded and used as projection surfaces. In his portfolio, Lissitzky provides instructions for anyone who would like to create three-dimensional models based on the illustrations; however, noone has ever done this; the spatial machinery in "for the time being" is part of an on-going performance research project that seeks to bring a contemporary sonic arts and dance sensibility to the visionary Russian design art.
The DAP-Lab's performance is an intimate temporal work that looks at the fragmented home of our precarious existence in a world full of outworn cliches of revolutions. Featuring four dancers, the work incorporates body-worn-technologies where the structure of the wearable has been developed alongside its interactive and sound generating potential for gestural performance, tuned to basic movement processes of amplification, reduction, distortion, and noise/communication. All the sounds are created live on stage and processed. The artistic premise of the design is to make the activation and presence of sound very visual and sensual to both the performer and the viewer.