Wild Card research residency Malika Fankha & Maureen Kaegi working on “SAUNA
at Cullberg Ballet studios, Riksteatern, Norsborg, Sweden
Artists: Malika Fankha (CH) Maureen Kaegi (CH)
Description: Upon recommendation by the co-organizer danceWeb, Austria Vienna, Cullberg Ballet invited Malika Fankha and Maureen Kaegi for a three weeks research residency without the pressure of production at Cullberg Ballets location in the production house of Riksteatern, Swedish National Touring Theatre. During the residency, Cullberg Ballet offered lodging in a central apartment hotel, individual local travel cards, a large studio, morning classes with the Cullberg Ballet company, fitness facilities, technical support and artistic advice in a creative environment. Cullberg Ballet also covered the travel costs, per diem. During their residency the artist worked on their lastest piece “Paranoid Gestures” which later was renamed “SAUNA”.
Even though set up as a solo by Malika Fankha, the work plays with a multiplicity of characters and accumulation. The idea, to create a number of inanimate puppets/objects/sculptures made of found quotidian materials and to juxtapose them against the ephemeral appearance of the fluid physical states and fragmental sound and text. Both the performing body (bodies) and the objects are constantly questioning and transforming their own identity, their gender, their physical shape and presumed social status. The objects are inspired by the lifelike dolls of trans-artist Greer Lankton (1958 – 1996). She has re-worked some of her dolls during her entire life and made animated stop-motion videos where they performed extreme contorsions in a delusive realistic way. Lankton is a crucial figure in queer history.
Notes from the Artists :
Thinking back on our time at Riksteatern, we recently rewatched Miranda July’s 3 minute how-to video
“A Handy Tip For The Easily Distracted” – in which she provides various tricks how to resist the temptation of engaging with all the device that keep us from being productive. It was to us a very apt metaphor for how hard it can be to entirely commit to one’s artistic practices in a familiar environment. From the first day at Riksteatern we felt that this residency will provide us the luxury of fully diving into our own process, leaving our routines behind, surrender to our intuition and enjoy playing around with nothing but our ideas in space. Our research –which we started in the course of the Huggy Bears program curated by theatre collective SUPERAMAS -, evolved around notions of identity, cohabitation and future survival strategies that we wanted to tell from the perspective of an unborn child inside a womb. We fictionalized personal and societal fears, desires and addictions and shaped an obsessive character whose driving force is the promiscuity of our lifestyle: the radically intimate and radically superficial.
The morning training session with the Cullberg Ballet Company was a perfect way to start our day. Moving together with a group is so much more invigorating and inspiring and helped to set the tone for the rest of our day. During the first week we mainly worked on text bits that we had already prepared and tried out different ways of bringing them away from the written form into the body and eventually into space. We improvised with voice, rhymes and movements on topics such as isolation, dependence and the constant craving for connection. We got sidetracked, carried away and eventually lost in our own microcosm, which was a crucial part of the starting process. The second week we spent more time working individually and shared the outcome with one another at the end of the day. Drafts of a possible staging and set design started to take shape, ideas for songs and lyrics became clearer. The workshop with Eleanor Bauer in week three ignited a great deal of inspiration and allowed us to re-think our methods and apply some of the interesting tools she proposed to approach our own work from a different angle. Besides that, it was a great way to have this intimate insight into the company’s everyday life and get to know the dancers and the staff personally.It meant a lot to us that almost the entire team showed up for our first informal sharing! We felt very welcome and supported throughout the whole residency by a group of warm‐hearted individuals that gave us way more than we asked for.
We thoroughly indulged in Scandinavian lifestye and pleasures during our free time, attended exhibitions and seminars that were thematically related to our research, went to see shows of ex‐fellow students and made new friends and let the sea breeze clear our minds. Our apartment in central Stockholm was super cosy, spacious and well equipped, a real home we looked forward to coming back to after long and hard working hours and that we left almost reluctantly in the mornings... The 40 minutes trainrideto Riksteatern initially felt a bit long but in the end was exactly the time our brains needed to digest and reflect upon all the new input. In any event, we are endlessly grateful for this experience that Life Long Burning rendered possible and are proud to announce that the piece “SAUNA” premiered on January 12th, 2018 at WUK performing arts center in Vienna.
29.10.17 - 19.11.17
Cullberg Ballet, Stockholm (SE)