Departures and Arrivals



“Requiem to materiality”
Rita Natálio

A process of un-learning: someone coughs to break the movement chain, someone says let it go, let it go, a guy speaks from under a mountain because he’s the Guardian of Nuclear Waste, a group makes a pile on the floor while singing your porous form, a choir repeats and this and this and this and this while there's nothing to be sure of except melody and sympathy for a cause: to get rid of things we don’t need, to take out the unnecessary and to learn to live with less. But how to follow this tune and what is left from the leftovers? And what do we imagine when I refer to un-learning?

“You Can’t Take It With You”, the new piece by Liz Kinoshita, departed from a specific interest of the artist in ecology, necessity and waste, and a big curiosity for improvisation and collective process. By combining the two interests, “You Can’t Take It With You” proposes a game around musicality, lyrics and choreography, where a group of performers deals with the theme of excess by invoking an imaginary around hyper-production, objects, trash, and consumerism, through improvisation. This performative game is established by using simple rhythmical patterns that can be triggered by tools like [encore] and [cut], thus combining composition and improvisation and transforming fixed materials in the presence of the audience. During the game, we feel the electricity of certain moments due to their proximity to familiar musical patterns and rhythms. The freshness of playing a game is “shared” with the audience, in the sense that we can see how simple patterns develop and create complex perceptions of the environment and of the group. This process - of individuals working for the syntax of a group without really controlling the final image - makes us think of the employment of assembly lines, like in the musical “Dancer in the dark” by Lars Von Trier, where musicality and dance were part of a manufacture environment. However, in this case, we experience the construction of bizarre assembly lines, because in “You Can’t Take It With You”, there are no products but only process, the relation between the parts and the whole is not progressive but reflexive: learning to do something together means that one has to “unlearn” some paradigms about today’s society.

In 1984, Madonna started singing “Material Girl”: “Cause we are living in a material world / And I am a material girl /You know that we are living in a material world/ And I am a material girl The song depicted, in my perspective, a situation of women within a society that was getting over excited with production, consumerism and mass media, but also over depressive with ecological disasters (like acid rains, massive deforestations, ozone depletion, animal extinctions, industrial wastes, oil leaks), third world famine, colonial practice and recession. And maybe, 2017 is not so far from that moment in the Eighties, where the end of the world seemed so near and we were all looking for people ready to jump into the void, into the unknown, to struggle for new ways to create reality.

The difference is that more than a comment on today’s society, “You Can’t Take It With You” is a requiem to all superfluous things, to all garbage and excess and, as in all death celebrations, it absorbs light and lightness, it deploys the forces of the living. The environment is a mere flux, transitions between movement and lyrics are an attempt to learn to live with less, or maybe to learn to-live-together-with-less. Delicate immaterial landscape, dance is a means of adaptation to the environment, while our environment is saturated with plastic, medusas, trash bins, dismantled habits of community. It is curious to see though how objects have disappeared from stage, and how bodies inhabit space as a kind of animated desert, pursuing empathy for moving together, tuning in with simple dances and bare feelings. While the possibility to meditate is perhaps one of privilege in North Europe and everything around us screams against the melting of giant corporations and ice caps, “You Can’t Take It With You” decides for a requiem to materiality and attempts to escape. To plan the escape is part of the process of accepting the problem: how do we really need to thrive in order to survive?