Natten is a performance realized by Mårten Spångberg with and by Tamara Alegre, Simon Asencio, Linda Blomqvist, Louise Dahl, Emma Daniel, Hana Lee Erdman, Adriano Wilfert Jensen, Else Tunemyr, Alexandra Tveit and Marika Troili. The project will be premiered during Live Arts Week V in collaboration with Xing at the MAMbo (Museo d’Arte Moderna) in Bologna on the 15th of April 2016 7pm > 12am. Natten will kick off one week of live works (performances and experiences of sounds and visions) in the week from the 19 to 23rd April 2016 at MAMbo.
Atpdiary held an interview with Mårten Spångberg about his upcoming premiere.
Francesca Verga: Natten, your last project, will be shown at the fifth edition of Live Arts Week in Bologna on the 15th of April 2016. Someone told me it will be partially performed in the darkness.. but if dance is made of a series of steps and movements, and for a time period this series of steps and movements could not be seen, what is perceived as dance by the spectator then?
Marten Spangberg: Natten is among other things an inquiry into what in dance transgress the ocular. There is a significant difference between the darkness of dance and to dance in darkness. Natten is a stretch between the horror of dance and the dance of horror, which however excludes both obsession, such as in The Red Shoes or a more traditional version The Rite of Spring, and Willis. The point of departure is neither horror in the sense of literary nor film horror, but what excites me is horror on the terms of dance, darkness produced, given agency by dance itself. Perhaps even more exciting, for dance to be infested with fear it indeed has to be itself. It is when dance is thoroughly abstract that it can collide with the blackness of emptiness. So, mostly Natten is happening in grey scales of the almost visible, in the ambiguous moments of twilight, the times where contours and identity fades. Where even time erodes and becomes and endless now.
FV: How would you describe Natten to a reader?
MS: It’s a dance piece, a really long one. Another way to describe it would be too long and vague to produce even half interesting images. But really I wouldn’t make it if I knew how to describe it. The reason for me to occupy myself with art is to force myself into situations that does not offer description. From a, say, critical perspective. everything that can be described can be measured and thus assigned value, especially sustainable and consistent value. My interest is to produce experiences that, at least partially, escape description, capture, localisation, value. Natten, The Night in Swedish. So, the night is this; time without causation, an oneness that doesn’t respond, a moment that devours mimicry. At the same time, the project builds itself on previous projects and interests, so I guess it will be more or less the same, just a little bit less party.
FV: Think of Malevich’s black square, which is actually a very complex painting of different colours also seen as the ‘zero degree’ of painting… is your work the zero point of dance? In which way this antithesis of darkness/lightness is perceived in the Natten?
MS: To me Malevich’s paintings is most of all interesting as a political project. I understand his interest to be to produce paintings, artworks, that escape or transgress discourse, opinion, interpretation. It’s a totally modernist proposal in ways, to capture painting in itself. If he managed, and it seems almost like it, his work situates itself outside time, or at least outside chronological time, human time, and coincides with the time of painting. Somewhere Barnett Newman stated, “I just want the paint on the painting to be as beautiful as it is in the bucket”, a very dangerous proposal in ways, but approached with caution it also opens up for something – huh how should I say – wonderful. For me it is totally uninteresting to occupy myself with socially engaged art or, even worse, art that comments, especially on the art world. I’m interested in the position and potentiality of aesthetic experience in 2016.
Both the night and the piece Natten of course withdraw from the very idea of dialectics. Hegel and Marx won’t get free tickets, nor will any phenomenologists, if you know what I mean. Indeed Natten is also researching the limits of human experience. Experience, I think, is what forces us to remain human in this way. Or, experience consolidates what one or the world can be. Experience is invested with knowledge. Experience is cultural, and art is exactly not knowledge not culture. Aesthetic experience, to me, is an empty experience. Not the experience of something but the experience of experience.
FV: What I also like in your works is that you use conservative institutions – e.g. the museum, the theatre – as a means to uproot conventions and suggest new contexts, no alternative institutions. What are the means of performing your work at Live Arts Week in the MAMbo – Museum of Modern Art of Bologna, versus performing it for another scenario?
MS: Perhaps I’m upsettingly wrong but I’ve always understood site specific as a cheap escape. It’s easy to amaze when you can lean against a great piece of architecture or a derelict luna park. Not for me. Alternative has also never been my thing. Alternative is not bad ass enough. It’s just an alternative, almost the same but it feels good. Alternative culture, that’s like going jogging with a clown nose. A good alternative to capitalism is still something that confirms capitalist life. Deleuze and Guattari writes somewhere that it isn’t a matter of staying on the margins, producing an alternative, but instead about being in the middle changing speed. The marginal is cute and something that the mainstream loves. The marginal is never dangerous, right.
When it comes to different dispositives I’m interested in superimposing different modes of time in order to produce forms of tension that makes time bend or tweak. Natten, especially, is even moving towards the very disintegration of time. A time dissolved. Natten is concerned with horror and darkness, not as in blood and splatter but on the terms of dance. Media specific horror, so to say. One of the parameters we are working with is to confuse time, to produce moments where past, present and future is undermined, where seconds don’t follow each other but instead forget to be time.
For me Live Arts Week is one of the most important festivals in Europe, a context that questions and takes risks. Bologna and Italy should be super happy to have a festival like this one that has brought in many of the really exciting artists of our times. Not the most famous but the most advanced. It would just be cool if Italy understood the impertinence of festivals such as Live Arts Weeks and provide decent conditions. Finally, it’s clear that museums today realise that displaying object is a thing of the past. The future of museums will be great as long as they don’t try to also become museums of themselves but insist on operatating in out time here and now.
FV: Many of your works have a proper stage with lots of objects and life cut-outs, in which the audience is involved in the final result. How do you foresee the experience your audience will have during Natten?
MS: The night is the time of contemplation and introspection, at the same time it is also the time of dreaming and fantasy. It’s the time of loneliness and gentle eroticism. The night is occupied by demons and longing, fear and bliss. When you come out of Natten it is my wish that the individual should feel absolutely happy being aware about that the experience is his/her’s individually. Natten is shared at the same time as it is singular to each of us. I like this. If somebody asks you after Natten what it was, you should realise that you have no idea. Speechless and totally yeah.
friday 15 april – 7pm>12am
Mårten Spångberg - Natten
Natten is darker than black. Black is not enough. The black that is the absence of black. It’s not a static darkness that awaits you beyond the light. It is an illuminated lack of light that is alive and grows. A silence that emanate out of a roaring abyss. Natten is the new work by Mårten Spångberg following in the wake of La Substance, but in English and The Internet. This time his crew embark for six or so hours on a journey into the dark, bringing the audience with them into an abstract eternity where the abyss of emptiness come to life awakening the ghosts of presence, the hollowness of decay and erupts in frozen cascades of enigmatic beauty. Natten is the horror of dance and the dance of horror. A whispering curse at the end of times, an experience so dark it must not have happened.