Clouds on Clear Sky
Electronic music for dance performance (2021)
October 7-10, 2021, Vierte Welt, Berlin, Germany
Johanna Ackva – choreography and artistic direction
Akemi Nagao, Jan Burkhardt, Sophie Kuhlmann, emeka ene, and Regina Baumgart – dance and co-choreography
Evelyn Saylor – music composition and live performance
Max Hilsamer – videos and projections
Bettina Mileta – costumes and design of the space
Carrie McILwain – artistic assistant
Roni Katz – outside eye
Aiko Okamoto – tech
Valerie Terwei – production
Aïsha Mia Lethen Bird – photos and public relations
Ana Halina Ringleb – graphic design
Curated by Marie DuPasquier
Funded by Hauptstadtkulturfonds Berlin with support from Vierte Welt and DISPLAY Berlin
In a series of three solos and one duet, five dancers of different generations and backgrounds work with the topic of death, considering its social and political meaning as well as their own finiteness. In conversation with the artist Johanna Ackva, they are searching for an individual physical language aimed at translating an untranslatable phenomenon.
Evelyn Saylor’s four-channel electronic music fuses the sound into the space yet remaining concrete and direct. Her material consists of a synthesized, justly tuned, and seemingly infinite “Urklang” juxtaposed with concretely human sounds of speech, singing and whistling. These sounds are brought to a new level of abstraction through cutting, re-ordering and spatializing, further underlining their human finitude. The samples are drawn from recordings of the composer’s voice and of the dancers speaking each other’s memories on the topic of death. All of the four evenings share musical material, though the musical form for each evening is unique. The form comes into existence in the moment as Saylor plays live, using a combination of structured improvisation in dialogue with the dancer, independent cycles and phasing, and chance processes. In this way, the music unifies the entire cycle of evenings while preserving the individuality of each dancer and their respective performance.
Mein Vater hat alles bis ins Kleinste vorbereitet. Er hatte einen Ordner, in dem war
alles aufgeschrieben: wer benachrichtigt werden muss, welches Gedicht gelesen
und welche Musik gespielt werden soll. Er wollte keine Kirche, weil er ja
sowieso nix damit am Hut hatte, er wollte mexikanische Musik.
Das ist ja wie wenn man von einer Person eingeladen wird, die aber nicht mehr lebt!
Ja. Er war schon immer ein guter Gastgeber. Wenn Du ihn besucht hast,
bekamst Du als Erstes einen Pisco Sour, dann war die Party schonmal gerettet.
Wir haben damals ein Foto gefunden von meinen Vater mit einem Tablett voller Drinks.
Das haben wir bei der Trauerfeier groß auf ein Tuch projiziert.
So hat er zu seinem Abschied alle begrüßt!
Most people in Japan believe that if you pass away, your soul can sometimes come to visit. I don’t know exactly where this belief comes from. It has always been a normal thing. I met my grandmother after her death. It was in France.
In France? You met at the Eiffel Tower?
I was sitting in the back of a car that we were driving through nature to go climbing. I was just watching the landscape outside passing by when she came to the window.
Did she say something?
CLOUDS ON CLEAR SKY is the third performance work resulting from Johanna Ackva’s long term investigation into experiences around death, mourning, and finiteness as a reality at the very core of life. Working with dancers of different generations and backgrounds, the artist’s role in this project is that of an interlocutor and facilitator for each of them. Revisiting autobiographical experiences, reflecting upon emotional and political implications of death, as well as diving into its iconographic and poetic notions are tools for the search of an individual physical language aimed at translating an untranslatable phenomenon and sharing it with an audience.
CLOUDS ON CLEAR SKY unfolds as a series of three solos and one duet. Encompassing and interweaving the four consecutive evenings is the spacial design: an installation of blackboard-like surfaces on parts of the floor and the walls serves as a canvas for the dancers, who can choose to trace and/or outline re-mark-able moments of their dance with chalk. As reminders of past moments, lines and traces accumulate and become both, signs of absence and additional presences for the following dancers to reference.
Weaving into the rehearsal time for CLOUDS ON CLEAR SKY in September is a series of artistic interventions curated by Marie DuPasquier / Display, Berlin, which invites artists and thinkers and opens a space to get in touch with death, finiteness, and mourning through the lenses of their respective works and practices.