A performative conversation
Choreography Roni Katz
with Kareth Schaffer, Xenia Taniko Dwertmann, Maque Pereyra, Nasheeka Nedsreal, Casey Detrow, Louise Trueheart, Renen Itzhaki, Thomas Dupal, Alice Heyward, Cathy Walsh, Laura Eva Meuris, Johanna Ackva, Jos McKain and Thomas Anthony Owen, 3 hours.
Between Us is a format for a performance of an intimate conversation taking masturbation as a starting point. By using only questions to dialog, the performance relentlessly claims space for multiplicities and brings to the surface the value of a perpetual, nearly obsessive conversation with no resolution.
What makes a good conversation? What do we want to spend time talking about? When do we actually talk to one another? What do I care to speak about? How long is too long? Who decides where which conversation belongs? What conversations long to be public? What happens when that private and invisible, secret thing is performed publicly? What boundaries must be crossed? What if we assume intimacy from the get-go? How can being publicly intimate be an act of caring for oneself in a community-constituting way? Are we obsessed with fear? with love? Where do we go from here? Is there anything else?
The format is performed in 2 different versions with accustomed durations. In its participatory version I offer and moderate the format as a game with the audience. In its rehearsed version the performers are chosen for a specific context. The content of the conversation in all its iterations slides through the biographical, confessional, social, political and critical. The conversation is a practice that makes way to talk about shame, fantasies and rage, in addition to notions more commonly associated with masturbation such as self-pleasure and self-care. Scoring intimacy as the mode of conversing produces a genuine attempt towards liberating straightforwardness and radical honesty as strategies for sharing lives. Whether in its participatory or its rehearsed version, the format opens up the space for the audience members/performers to speak their minds and engage actively in a discourse about things that matter to them, and to others, but are rarely given the time to be talked about, let alone publicly in an artistic context.
Initiated in June 2016, this format is part of my ongoing artistic endeavour of developing new formats of conversations and facilitating discourses around socio-political topics within an artistic context. The practice of choreographing conversations is asking me to understand and establish the ultimate conditions for dealing with the conflicts that rise through the conversation. This kind of work aims at mobilizing a community towards awareness and change by facing realities with compassionate yet critical gaze and persistent hope.
Dock11 Berlin, 2017