DANCE MARATHON JOURNAL #4
ARCHIVIST - CHOREOGRAPHER:
YUKIO SUZUKI is a choreographer and dancer who started creating his own pieces in 2000. As YUKIO SUZUKI Projects, he has been active in developing a wide range of projects that includes solo works, group works and collaborations with diverse artists. He has toured to over 30 cities across the world, where his pliant, delicate and tenacious movements have enthralled audiences. In 2008, he won the first prize in the competition for the highly acclaimed Toyota Choreography Award. He was also one of the ten finalists of “Dance Elargie” in Paris, France in 2012.
YUKIO SUZUKI PRESENTS HIS ARCHIVE BOX
Title of the archived dance: Evernescere
What is the concept of your Archive Box?
The purposes of this archive include the following: having it produced while the original creator is still alive; making it open and accessible to users; and designating the methods of its usage in a way that users can freely take from the archived contents and create their own unique works, as opposed to simply reproducing the ‘original’ dance.
Therefore, rather than putting my original work directly into the Box, I decided to customise it specifically for the archive.
I first created a contract for the performance of my work. The contract specified the method of using the Box, such as what to prepare, how to condition the body, and how to proceed with the process. I also stipulated in the contract that the user had the right to request a workshop from me, if they wished to further understand my work and thought processes, as well as how I use the body. The contract binds me to hold a workshop upon the user’s request, which opens up the possibility of my being called on no matter where in the world this work may be performed. As an artist who expresses with the body, I wanted to assert my attitude towards creation by putting my own body at stake.
I asked dancers who regularly performed in my works to watch videos of my dance and describe them in words. I was interested in finding out how my dance would be construed by these dancers, who have an understanding of my language, use of body, and way of thinking.
As a result of this process, the dancers came up with very simple explanations of my dance. Although their choices of words were at times different from mine, I could see that they were more than enough to convey the dance’s essence, and often, even more concise and effective than my own description. Therefore, I combined their texts with mine to write the script.
I then recorded myself reading aloud this script in correlation with the progression of the dance, to convey its timing or ma. Ma – a sense of timing with the space in-between – is one of the most important aspects of my choreography. I controlled the accentuation and pacing of words in my speech, so that the user could find the appropriate timing by following the recording. I attempted to choreograph the user this way.
By whom and in what way would you like your Box to be used?
I would like my archive to function as a system that can generate dance. I would just place this system in a particular place on a particular day, and people who happen to come by it can don the earphones and move accordingly. If this could naturally result in dance, that would be ideal.
Was there anything you were not able to realise in the project? Were there any unexpected outcomes?
In some areas, I felt that my instructions were too specific, to the point that they could undermine the user’s freedom. I would be intrigued to see the archive used by a rebellious type of dancer, who might re-create my work in a radically different way.
What would you like to leave for the future by creating this Archive Box?
What I feel is very interesting about this archive is that the author of the original work is still alive. Being able to experience new works instilled with the essence of my own work is unique to this method. Through this process, I myself can be motivated to create work and live, while reflecting on what I should be doing in the present.
With thanks to The Saison Foundation for permitting SIFA to reproduce this interview with Yukio Suzuki.
CHREOGRAPHED BY: YUKIO SUZUKI
PERFORMED BY: YUKIO SUZUKI & FUYUKI YAMAKAWA
8.45PM, TANJONG PAGAR RAILWAY STATION
1h, no intermission
Double Bill with Real Reality