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Capturing the Invisible

My experience working on the Europe/Japan multimedia exchange project “Zensors” by Nicola Mascia, Co-Artistic Director of Matanicola

(This article was published in German, “Das Unsichtbare erkenne” in TanzRaumBerlin in August 2008

Junko Wada

Fuyuki Yamakawa and Nicola Mascia performing in ZENSORS at Cookies on 27 May 2008. Photo: Junko Wada

Matan Zamir and I first met independent Philippine producer and curator Vanini Belarmino in August 2007, after a presentation of our latest work “Ladies first” during the International Dance Festival “Tanz im August” in Berlin. Many of our common friends and colleges have told us about each others work and they all thought we should meet one-day and collaborate. It beautifully happened by itself. She was thrilled by our performance and immediately started talking to us about the idea of working on a project together. We both instantly connected with her. With her vision, opinion, sincerity, extroverted and charming persona. A couple of days later we received a mail from her with already quite a concrete proposition. It just took few more meetings to agree to what was to become her Europe/Japan multimedia exchange project “Zensors”.

 “Zensors” was curated as a series of experiential performances, installations, concerts and workshops that opened the possibility for us to collaborate with artists Daito Manabe, Motoi Ishibashi, Kanta Horio, David Canisius, Fuyuki Yamakawa, Naoto Iina, Takayuki Fujimoto and Walkscreen.

 One of the main reasons why we decided to participate in the project and that “Zensors” was particularly appealing to us, apart from the amazing opportunity to collaborate with such an incredible group of artists, was to challenge ourselves with Vanini’s original idea of working outside our own comfort zone. For once not to be in charge and in total control of all the conceptual, production and curatorial aspects of a work, but simply enjoy being chosen and matched from someone else with other, from us previously unknown artists, to share and enjoy with them a challenging journey, an unpredictable collision, a crash with an undefined outcome.

During the actual process, I ended up representing matanicola on my own. At first, I had quite a hard time introducing and speaking about our work by myself. For the first time, I really felt like half of our artistic unity was missing. But, on the contrary, during the performances it felt like I was unconsciously able to deeply express our common vision and spirit even though I was alone.

 From the first introduction meeting with the Japanese and European participating artists, it was very clear to me that, even though everyone is coming from incredibly different backgrounds and having completely different artistic expressions, there was a deep sense of understanding of each other visions and works. We were all working from within and interested in exploring a spontaneous and unique event, with no need of having a specific and predefined concept, storyboard and/or direction, not trying to create a complete and finished work in three days, but more a frame for an instinctual composition to be shared.

 This common ground and interest started from within and to my surprise, it applied also to the incredible and huge use of technology, especially by the Japanese artists. In our work as matanicola, Matan and I have consciously tried to avoid, as much as possible, any use of technology, because we always felt that this would hide the original source of our work and creative process.

In this case, it was completely different. The use of technological equipment was deeply motivated, a tool to extend and expand something that started deep in the body to the outside. Performing with muscle sensors was an incredible experience for me. I felt like the space was reacting to my state. Every sensation, every movement was transported and transformed into a spatial, sound or light reaction. The general feeling was that I was choreographing the environment at the same time as my body. “Zensors” was a truly inspiring experience, which will possibly continue in the near future and I will definitely carry with me in our new and upcoming creations.

matanicola is a creative duo project founded by the Israeli choreographer and performer Matan Zamir and the Italian choreographer and performer Nicola Mascia. The duo’s first production, “under”, created in collaboration with the Israeli choreographer Yasmeen Godder, premiered in Berlin in August 2005 and has since been touring extensively throughout Europe and was awarded the “Kurt Jooss Prize 2007”. Their second production “Ladies first” premiered in Groningen in August 2007 and was co-produced and presented by Grand Theatre Groningen (NL), Tanz im August and Sasha Waltz & Guests Berlin (D) and Civitanova Danza (I).

matanicola recently choreographed and performed together with Peaches in her project “Lose you” presented in “X WOHNUNGEN NEUKÖLLN 2008” in Berlin and is currently working on the pre-production of their upcoming new creation.

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