Residency Marion Storm in Ljubljana
In the frame of this Dance Hub exchange, NDA Slovenia offered a residency to the LLB partner ICI-CCN de Montpellier that selected the French artist Marion Storm for this slot.
Report written by the artists itself, that wraps up all the activities, where no additional explanation is needed. From the side of Nomad, it could be only added that we were happy to host Marion Storm and have exchanged through which we got to know her better. Hopefully, the time she spends in Ljubljana, was fruitful for her, however stressful at the beginning due to fast changes of traveling restriction and uncertainty if Marion will be able to get the Covid-19 test result on time. As she is American it was quiet an adventure to settle everything and to receive all the necessary documentation. It is necessary to stress out that organization of Dance HUB for the above-mentioned reasons as well as our desire to serve artists own need, we spent at least twice as much energy as we would in normal circumstances. And bellow, lovely report by Marion Storm.
My time in ljubljana was at once expansive and concentrated: over 8 days, I started to scramble and re-compose my performance research with one-one-on exchanges of “study” with 5 choreographer/dramaturg/archivist/performance researchers. I also presented my dance project, titled ecotone: in study as bodies who flood (2020), preceded by warm ups and an introduction to my written research, followed by a Q & A. In the evenings I attended many performance works that were impactful for the trajectory of my work particularly with (i) atmospheric soundscapes and (ii) scores that examined the spectator’s shifting awareness of space and their own embodiment.
After researching and reading performance literature from the Balkans & post-Yogoslav philosphers-thinkers-makers, I was thrilled to receive the opportunity to study with the Nomads in Ljubljana. As I discussed with Rok Vevar during a tour of the Temporary Slovene Dance Archive, the Nomads have a very tangible feeling, which you sense in every encounter with them. There is always research happening, across all of their modalities and formats of presentation: publications (ex: Maska), festivals (ex: Co-Festival), social advocacy programs (ex: Nomad Advocates), talks, performances, workshops, and those informal exchanges in kitchens and in between rehearsals that are (thankfully) difficult to label. This constellation of thought-action produced a strong sensation of opening my sense of connection in the European dance context, as someone newly arrived: a feeling of reciprocity, action, and curiosity that I hope to continue dialoguing with and learning from. The Nomads’ project seems to me to be one which examines sustainability in the dance community – on all scales, including when/where there never was sustainability at all, – reciprocity, risk, and context for making performance.
With my invitation I proposed to conduct one on one engagements of “study” with artists living and working in Ljubljana in order to connect with the local dance community, and also to (re)think and develop the conditions surrounding my current transdisciplinary project addressing and experimenting with a liquid body, a body who floods, the memory-logic of the floodplain, the revolutionary ontology of water: which erodes, leaks, spills, transports over any period of time… I grounded my work with morning visits to the Ljubljanica River which runs centrally through the city. I met with individual artists during the afternoons for study/exchange. In the evenings I wrote on the residue of the day, and I attended performances that Jasmina suggested would be interesting for my research – from walking meditation to atmospheric soundscape installation to documentary film screening with live Q/A. Through seeing the studios, performance venues, and spaces where dancers in the city gather to meet and work together, I felt I left with a sense of the texture of the quotidien dance-making in Ljubljana and I am eager to return again soon to continue cultivating some of the thought-actions that emerged between me and several of the artists (and spaces) during my time there.
The most resonant aspect of my residency experience were the one-on-one exchanges with Jasmina, Jana, Dejan, Rok, and Katja. I began each session with more or less the same structure, but altered it depending on what was arising already in the arrival and greeting that began this meeting together:
Who are you (today)? What is your research? Offer any context you would like the other to know.
We introduce ourselves 5 to 10 more times, in this way sharing and blurring our unique practices, ways of working, and subjects of study. This takes about an hour.
Treating what we have done so far as an “encounter”, write each other a letter proposing what from this encounter could be our mode, method, and/or subject(s) of “study” if we were to form a collaboration right here and now.
Conclusion: An open discussion. Where to go from here?
This is the overall structure. To begin the re-introductions I always offered the prompt: Describe a body of water near to where you come from. The memories you have surrounding it, it’s smells, it’s wildlife, it’s geography. Each time I gave this prompt I changed the modality of transmission: a conversation; an exchange of body work; eyes closed sharing one at a time, tracing a map of the water on the floor in silence… After this initial prompt, the hour unfolded as we alternated proposing frames for each introduction. Some frames for exchange were generated more interest, connections, and curiosity than others. I found it challenging to propose exercises without steering the exchange too strongly toward my frame of research, while still providing enough structure as the person initiating the exchange.
I began compiling a document in Ljubljana that is the working draft of my final paper for the master exerce program, which I will present in June 2021. It is a collation of fragments attempting to dissolve and reconstitute my research into the flooding body, which I performed at the end of the first year of my master in September 2020. At the suggestion of Jasmina, I am proposing to myself more poetic solutions to the ending of my performance where I address the audience about a glacier who froze. In response to Jana and others, it has become very clear that this research into the ontology of water is also an inquiry into ourselves, particularly memory: how bodies of water contain our stories, our relationships, our trajectories. I feel motivated to incorporate an oral history / radio transmission component into an iteration of this project, also inspired by the installation Interweaving Soundscapes I witnessed at the Steklenik gallery of Tivoli Park’s greenhouse during my stay. I am grateful for all that I experienced, absorbed, and encountered with the Nomads and am tuned and ready for how this work will continue to blend into my artistic research.