displacement (deutsche Version hier)
The choreographer Ruben Reniers is currently focusing on the subject of displacement, which will be the core of his new performance. The word, displacement, is often associated with refugees. On closer examination, it becomes clear that displacement is an everyday phenomenon which is by no means confined to ethnic or religious divisions but often rooted in other factors. For example, a lack of adaptation to current trends or a precarious economic situation, and therefore a phenomenon which each of us has to deal with at times and to which everyone has to position themselves.
The definition of a displacement presupposes an idea of what is well placed, appropriate or within the frame and unmasks a sort of drawer-thinking, which does not seem to fit at all with the seemingly oh so tolerant time we are living in. Anything goes?? You wish. Displacement seems thus to be less a question of the environment or the context, than a question of thinking: it takes place in peoples minds. Displacement is always accompanied by a demarcation or exclusion. Mostly, the judge's own position is set as normative, at which the difference is measured.
Ruben Reniers had two factors in his personal life which gave rise to the latent feeling of displacement: first as a child growing up in the Netherlands of Indonesian descent and during the last decade as a trained (ballet) dancer in the Berlin off-scene. In both cases, it is his body, its appearance, and its learned techniques, which establish a visible difference to his environment. This sensation of feeling maladjusted or uneasiness in one's own skin because of one's own skin is what Reniers seeks to convey through his choreography. The body is one’s "home" and, especially for dancers, also one’s capital, but also something that can be a trap because of its limited adaptability. The problem resulting from an incongruity with the out of body is perceived as an in body problem. The peculiarities of the body, its characteristics and abilities, which also create a (reassuring) sense of authenticity, as they affect our individual identity, are suddenly subject to negotiation. But who decides which imprints should be discarded and which should be retained as useful abilities? Is everything old or different necessarily bad? What about tradition, when the contemporary seems to be the ultimate?
This conflict is discussed non-verbally in the performance. The examination of one's own body and its individual inscriptions will serve the performers as the basis for the development of the choreographic material. In addition, the two dancers explore precisely these trained, cultural characteristics as well as natural conditions, exploring their potential and ability for modification or manipulation. The attempt to internalize movement patterns, to discard movement habits in order to open up to new forms, seek to stimulate an expansion of the language of movement and lead to - in the truest sense of the word – exciting choreography.
The function of the body as an archive is to be experienced as a potential, which can be enriched with the qualities of the living, the unfinished, and thus positively occupied. The discourse of the dancers is complemented by the musician and composer Evelyn Saylor. Her composition, partly performed live, imposes an additional framework on the performance which is in a relationship of consonance as well as dissonance with the actions of the dancers. Furthermore an 2x2 meter and 30 cm deep wooden frame will symbolically serve as a setting for a place to which the dancers bring themselves into different relations. The frame will be mobile, manageable and changeable in its form. In this way it can serve as a protective frame as well as a barrier or border and so either separate or unite the dancers. Whilst on the floor it may also give rise to associations of a drawer. The involvement and at times controversy with the framework, in which the dancers “slave away”, is also intended to symbolize the arbitrariness of a particular attitude and to remind the viewers that the definition of whether something is inside or outside the "framework" is ultimately always a question of perspective. After all, it is often the preconceived expectation of the recipient that prevents new or unexpected things from unfolding without prejudice. We may all need moments of displacement every once in a while to be able to perceive things and ourselves clearly, impartially and with the appropriate perspective.