because the personal is cultural
Israeli choreographer Arkadi Zaides is that mirror in Archive, a demanding but necessary performance presented by Festival TransAmériques. Zaides took a series of video images from B’tselem, an Israeli center for human rights in the occupied territories, only selecting excerpts featuring Israeli men, no doubt to avoid speaking for or against the Other.
Zaides pauses the video, espouses the position of one of its protagonists, spins it 180 degrees, mirrors it, flips it by 90 degrees, leaning against the floor to give us the view of the top of his head, like the one the camera gives us by hovering above the protagonist. Archive is challenging because of its subject matter and its clinical approach, the live dance performance being overshadowed by the video images.
When it does work, it’s because of the confrontational attitude that necessarily emerges given the source material, as Zaides walks towards us with aggression in his eyes (the audience is visible throughout the show as the house lights, though dim, remain on) before switching to the movement of a man waving his arms around to try to scare sheep away. Before us, humans become animals that need to be displaced. Zaides often returns to this movement.
Archive is at its most powerful near the end, when Zaides replicates the vocalizations of the men in the videos into a microphone, looping them, building a soundtrack that is increasingly oppressive and violent. It’s hard to bear even for a few minutes. Imagine for hours, for weeks, for years…
May 24-26 at 7pm
Place des Arts – Cinquième Salle
Tickets: 39$ / 30 years old and under: 33$
has an MA in Film Studies and works in contemporary dance. His fiction has appeared in Headlight Anthology, Cactus Heart, and Birkensnake.
s.verstricht [at] gmail [dot] com