Departures and Arrivals



2014/12/03 › 2014/12/04
Söderberg, Alma

We show everything Söderberg does. She is a choreographer and dancer, trained in Spain and Holland, who uses her body, including her voice to shake your brain. This time she attempts to unlock the mind and make herself, and perhaps also you, into idiots. Hendrik Willekens, her partner in crime, is an artist that paints and draws with everything, also sounds. (Fucked up, in a good, awsome way.)

In “Idioter“ Alma Söderberg and Hendrik Willekens work together. They create a concert performance where the music supports Alma’s way to intensely play with rhythm and Hendrik’s geometric landscape drawings.

First of all there will be music. “Idioter“ is a noisy electronic concert with a strong rhythmical drive. It flirts with concrete music and concrete poetry. Drawing and voice are treated as sound.

Secondly “Idioter“ consists of Hendrik’s drawings. He draws geometrical landscapes disappearing in a single vanishing point. He draws this drawing over and over again, thus expanding the landscape to a theme; again and again you find yourself drawn into the same nothingness.

Thirdly “Idioter“ consists of Alma’s work with voice and movement. She plays with syllables, intonations, cadenzas, gestures; a dream language, a game of intensity and rhythm. The focus is on flow.The flow will be cut, there will be breaks, the flow will continue. You get sucked into the rhythm.

Finally, let’s discuss “Idioter”, the title of this work. The title was cut out of a newspaper, and chosen out of an esthetical appreciation of the word; the two I’s, the similarity between the D and the O, the similarity between the T and the I, the tail of the Swedish inclination of idiot in plural; ER. The word appeared in a review of Slavoj Zizek’s book Less than Nothing and was part of the sentence “allt vi vet är att vi är idioter” (all we know is that we are idiots).

“For this project we took on idiocy as a discipline. Paradoxically the discipline involves abandoning a perspective, staying close to the empty vanishing point, embracing that place of mystery that we do not understand and cannot see.”

Alma Söderberg: “Rhythm drives me, constantly, to do things, to make works, pieces, songs, to engage with talking, singing, rapping, dancing, playing instruments. It is not a choice, rhythm works on me; I have no power over that. I started tap dancing in my room listening to Fred Astaire when I was seven, started learning raps by NAS, A Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul by heart at the age of 13 and went to Sevilla to dance flamenco when I was sixteen. As I started studying choreography in Amsterdam I had a crisis. The study was more closely connected with theatre than with dance, with representation rather than experience. I was lost in representation. Where was the Music, the Groove? I had two years of confusion until I made a solo called Entertainment. In it I sang, danced, talked and used rhythm as my main tool to connect the three. I sang a Gershwin song: Let’s face the music and dance. After that solo I found my way into my own work. I made Cosas, A talk, Travail (three works where the rhythm is the glue) and started playing music with John the Houseband. I let the music work on whatever it is I do. Not resisting the power it has over me. Now I use drum machines, voice and body to indulge in it, without holding back I dedicate myself to keeping a Flow, the Groove is what drives me.”

Hendrik Willekens: “Sitting in my room drawing, I do since I was small. I looked out of the window – through which I could only see the grey-scale of the sky and a few branches – and I drew. I always kept doing it. When I as an adolescent I filled sketchbooks that I then lended my friends only to admire. When I wanted to become an actor, I drew less and started to write more, until I didn’t want to become an actor anymore and didn’t want to write anymore. Then I was lost for a few years. Three years ago I discovered the pleasure of drawing again. I made my primordial drawing that I still interact with. It’s a geometrical landscape of 2 or 3 meters broad and about 1 meter high. Afterwards I made a new drawing, and then a new one, and then a new one, etc.. The relation between drawing and performing gave me new input. I decided to go into public space, and I also had some kind of idea about the integrity of art/ of an artist. I made 20 drawings by holding two pens as fixed as possible onto a piece of paper for as long as I could. I had my eyes closed. Graphically these drawings curiously resembled the landscapes that I kept on making. Some unequivocally were landscapes as well. And my landscapes became more barren themselves. I work with pens, pencils, markers. Have no knowledge about colour. I find colour difficult. I often work on A4 paper that I glue together as the drawing grows. The practice finds me, I don’t have to put myself to it. It is not unusual that I draw before breakfast and coffee. I find the table on my way to the kitchen, sit down, start. It just happens that way.”

(By and with Alma Söderberg and Hendrik Willekens. In collaboration with Igor Dobricic.
Idioter is produced by Het Veem Theater Amsterdam in coproduction with Kunstenfestivaldesarts Brussels, Göteborgs Dans & Teater Festival and Baltoscandal Festival as part of the NXTSTP network, with support of the culture programme of the European Union. The production is furthermore coproduced by SPRING Performing Arts Festival and workspacebrussels. Additional support was received from the Swedish Arts Council (Kulturrådet), Kultur i Väst (Region Västra Götaland, Sweden) and The Swedish Arts Grants Committee (Konstnärsnämnden). Thanks to Pianofabriek, Q-O2, Nordic Watercolour Museum and Vitlycke – Centre for Performing Arts, La Raffinerie, Charleroi Danses, Angela Peris Alcantud, Jasper Hopman, Jeroen de Boer and Fabrice Moinet. This presentation is part of the project [DNA] Departures and Arrivals, which is co-financed by the Creative Europe program of the European Commission. IDIOTER premiered in Kunstenfestivaldesarts, Brussels 2014.)