Participatory performances are not necessarily everybody’s cup of tea — they put you in the centre of attention, testing you by trying to lure the unknown within you out on to the surface. They enable the audience to contribute to the work, steer it in the direction of their own desires, thus becoming a crucial part of an artistic expression, and in the end social or psychological experimentation.
Dance performance installation Seconds by Amos Ben-Tal and collective OFFprojects enables you to do just that. With a small group of 20 people, you enter a room in Korzo theatre that is equipped with a big box covered with fabric, positioned in the middle of the space. You are presented to a set of rules to follow: entrance into this cube is only allowed if you are holding another person’s hand, which makes that person the timekeeper. They decide how long you get to be in the cube and thus see the dance performance happening on the inside. There are four dancers on the inside, moving around in a space divided into four intimate ‘rooms’, with the same fabric as the whole cube is made of.
The expected intimacy from holding strangers’ hands is replaced with unexpected intimacy created by a dancer on the inside of the cube. The atypical distance, or lack of it, functions as a test, putting you in the centre of attention together with your timekeeper, who functions as a bridge to reality that you just left behind. Timekeeper’s hand reassures you, limits you and simultaneously gives you the opportunity to experience the talented dancers entrapped in a fabric box along with you.
Keeping track of someone else’s time on the inside seemed at first like a mundane job, purely given for the sake of organisation and fluidity of performance. It turned out that by giving too much, you deprive the others. How do you decide — do you give to an individual, and therefore take from the rest? Or do you not give, and like this in the end still take? While deciding on these big issues, luring out the unknown within you, one is allowed to take a seat and listen to four different narrations in every corner of the room, that sometimes converge with the audio present in the room.
This 15 minute performance functions as a social and psychological test, dependant upon the particular crowd and the decisions they make. Seconds is a part of an ongoing Cadance Festival 2019 in Korzo theatre. Do you dare test yourself? Eva Tiniskar 30th January 2019
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