A Two-Part Journey into the Unknown
Saturday, 8 April 8:00 pm
SOPHIENSÆLE | Sophienstraße 18
U8 Weinmeisterstraße, S-Bahn Hackescher Markt,
S-Bahn Oranienburger Straße
Irene Accardo and Laurent Pellissier
A dance among the relics of the recent past
Isle of Lox
Leyla Rodriguez and Christian Straub
Eight-part short video series.
Space/Time Berlin’s one night at the Sophiensaele includes two pieces by artists working in adventure narratives. Apollo 18 is a performance inspired by the optimism of the age of the space-race, ultimately rejecting nostalgia for that era in favor of a darker vision of the origins of the consumption society. Isle of Lox is an eight-part video series which follows the artists, their alter egos, and their many non-human companions as they journey through a shifting urban wasteland towards an unknown destination.
Seen together, what is striking about these two works are not their formal similarities – the two artists as protagonists, a shift from order to chaos, the lack of dialogue – but how they engage the audience so differently. With Apollo 18, the performers’ relentless enthusiasm invites us to join the never-ending party, which ultimately leaves us at a place of emotional and physical exhaustion. With Isle of Lox, the masked heroes’ journey is shrouded in mystery, but the filmmakers’ constantly shifting formal techniques leaves a powerful visual, rather than emotional, impression. Taken together as a single event, these two works raise questions not just about the nature of performance and video, but how art can affect our experience time.
A dance among the relics of the recent past, among the nostalgic fragments of the beginnings of consumption society, where progress and development projected on the moon a prosperous future. Pop dance, solitary yet collective rituals, dreams of aliens and alienated beings. Time is collapsed in an eternal present and a never ending party.
The Apollo program’s 17 missions to space transformed the moon into another land to conquer, covering it over time with garbage, broken machines, and discarded technology. Since the moment Neil Armstrong pronounced, “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” the lunar surface ceased to be strictly an object for poets and dreamers to project upon, and became yet another symbol of the origins of the contemporary consumer society.
With our mission, Apollo 18, we want to turn our gaze from the moon back to earth, at the moment society was searching for a place to project our fears, hopes, and dreams. This historical period is often idealized as a time both of stability and endless possibility, as our vision of the future was prosperous and secure. Technology was becoming a sign of freedom and discovery, stepping stones toward progress and comfort. Our parents’ Italy boomed from the mid 1950’s until the 1970’s, rapidly transforming from a rural and agricultural economy to one of the world’s leading industrial economies, profoundly and permanently changing Italian culture.
Our project tracks this collective blind sprint, from a society full of hope to one of ubiquitous and reckless consumption. We start with the popular culture of our parents’ generation, which fed Italy with expectations of progress through television commercials, American pop songs, and daily reports of success in technology. In this material are the seeds of today’s crises, which are brought into focus through exhaustion and repetition. We are seeking to find the roots of our own fears, our sense of disconnection, our questions and frustrations regarding social roles and gender differences.
Irene Accardo graduated in 2003 in acting and pantomime in the international acting school “Permis de Conduire” in Rome. Her studies focused on physical theatre with among others Cathy Marchant (living theatre), Mylon Mela (Indian performing arts group) and Tapa Sudana (Balinese mask and movement master). In 2005 she completed her (bachelor) master in literature and philosophy at the 2nd University of Rome with a thesis on Tadeusz Kantor’s work in theatre and visual arts. A few months later she moved to Berlin where she started to work as performer in different projects and developed further her skills in physical theatre. In 2008 she founded her company “Theater machina”, where she developed her own trainings method. From 2009 until 2011 she lived and studied in Hamburg where she graduated in the master in performance studies; she received classes from, among others, Tim Etchells, Jonathan Burrows, Milli Bitterli, Bojana Kunst, Silke Renners and Angela Guerrero. Her latest works focuses on the question of identity, heritage and storytelling.
Laurent Pellissier was born in 1981 in the Italian Alps. He lives and works between Berlin and Paris.In 2007, after a diploma in clarinet and an architecture degree with a major in history and preservation at the “Politecnico” of Turin with the support of the Tong Ji university of Shanghai he moves to Paris assisting professor Zhang Liang at the Architecture school of Belleville. The following year he leaves for China where he works at the Guangzhou Planning Institute contributing with local professionals to preservation projects in different Chinese provinces. Once back to Europe in 2009 he has the chance to start working in Paris as a set and costume designer. For a few years he collaborates with small theater companies and young emerging directors, in 2011 he is hired as costume decorator in the workshops of the „Opera National de Paris“ and as an assistant costume designer for the FrenchGerman TV channel ARTE. He is interest in textile art and his self taught embroidery skills take him to work in 2012 for the atelier „Cecile Henri“ in Paris on accessories and dresses for brands such as Chanel, Louis Vouitton, Christophe Josse. In 2015 he worked as assistant scenographer for Ida Müller and Vegard Vinge.
Isle of Lox is a series of eight short episodes which follow the artists, their alter egos, and their many non-human companions as they journey through a mystical urban wasteland towards an unknown destination. Over the course of the series, the artists employ a variety of visual and formal techniques, which range from the colloquial to the baroque, from the absurd to the lyric
Created by Leyla Rodriguez and Cristian Straub
Performances by Leyla Rodriguez, Cristian Straub, Nina Mayer, Karsten Wiesel, The Donkey Gang, and Hundi
Camara by Karsten Wiesel (Origins, The Pink Situation, The Process, The Face), Sin Huh (The Fruits Electric), Cristian Straub, Richard Löffler, and Valeria Kuligk (Without Light and Guide, Sense Suspended, Members of the Audience)
Season 2, Episode 3: Members of the Audience (6:10)
Romanian-born Cristian Straub studied philosophy and has had a short career as a musician, after which he decided to become a filmmaker. He enrolled in the Hamburg Art School (HfbK), where he studied in the class of Wim Wenders. His short films, art videos and fashion films were shown internationally at film festivals and exhibitions. Currently, Cristian is working on a new short film, to be followed by his first feature film in 2016.
Leyla Rodriguez enrolled at HAW University Hamburg. Her interventions in the public space through temporary textile installations, objects and videos have been exhibited in numerous galleries and shown at film festivals worldwide. She was born in Buenos Aires and currently lives and works in Hamburg/ Germany. Recent exhibitions include MuVIM Museu Valencià de la II-lustració i la Modernitat, Valencia Spain (2015), Peruvian & Nord American Cultural Institue of Cusco, Peru(2014), Takis Katsoulidis Engraving Museum, Messini Greece (2013), Kunstverein Rostock, Rostock Germany (2013), The State Hermitage Museum St Petersburg Russia (2012), The Armory Center for the Arts, Pasadena USA (2012), Tromso Kunstforening, Tromso Norway (2011) and the Hirshhorn Museum, Washington D.C. USA (2011). She was the recepient of The Kraft New Media Prize in 2011.
The Sophiensæle is one of the most important locations for German-speaking independent art-production. Artists from Berlin, as well as the national and international theatre-scene are invited to produce and present their works here. They are selected on the basis of their artistic concepts, contents, and working schemes.
The Sophiensæle is home to cultural discourse and a vast mix of artistic genres – from theatre, dance and music, to performance and visual art – which complement each other and enjoy a productive dialogue. Alongside many young artists such as Rose Beermann, Henrike Iglesias, Lwowski/Kronfoth Musiktheaterkollektiv, Markus&Markus, Lea Moro or Quast&Knoblich, searching for new theatrical languages and forms of expression, a number of established artists and companies have longstanding partnerships with the Sophiensæle. These include choreographers such as Clément Layes, Lea Martini, Sebastian Matthias, Martin Nachbar, Jochen Roller, Naoko Tanaka and Christoph Winkler and directors such as Thorsten Lensing, Johannes Müller + Philine Rinnert or Milo Rau/IIPM, and among others performance groups such as Burmester + Feigl, Lovefuckers, Monster Truck, Schmidli + Haug, Social Muscle Club and Turbo Pascal.
The Sophiensæle belongs to a network of internationally oriented, independent theatres. Other members include Kampnagel Hamburg, Mousonturm Frankfurt/Main, FFT Düsseldorf, Theaterhaus Gessnerallee Zürich and brut Wien. Among others, the Sophiensæle are producer of Tanztage Berlin and Freischwimmer festival. Beyond that, a number of renowned festivals of Berlin take place here, amng others MaerzMusik and Tanz im August. Here is a place devoted to artists as much as the audience, where the face-to-face encounter between these groups is the essential goal.