One of the most basic cues to action is sound. In high schools around the world, the ringing of a bell signals students to rise in unison from their seats and move to a new room. A siren, broadcast through roadside speakers, cues the population to find shelter from hurricanes, tornadoes or missiles.
Music makes us tap a foot or nod a head.
These undercover choreographies are part of everyday life whether noticed or not.
When choreographer and performer Arkadi Zaides proposed his concept for the Artists Curate Series at the Warehouse 2 in Jaffa, it was this subject that was at the heart of the program. Sponsored by the Bistrizky Foundation and run by the Choreographers’ Association, Artists Curate invites choreographers to program one weekend at the Warehouse. Next weekend, as part of the annual Curtain Up Festival, Zaides will host three days of performance, workshops, lectures and discussion entitled Sound Bodies.
“I felt that I wanted to go about curating differently,” explains Zaides.
Born in the Soviet Union 35 years ago, Zaides immigrated to Israel in 1990. Over the past 10 years, he has choreographed, performed and curated extensively in Israel and abroad. One of the leading experimental choreographers on the scene, Zaides has attracted a lot of attention in the media of late. His recent work Archive, which is a collaboration with Be’tselem – The Israeli Information Center For Human Rights In The Occupied Territories, has become increasingly controversial over the past several months, sparking numerous debates and outcries on Facebook and in the news. In this work, Zaides projects footage from Be’tselem’s enormous collection of recordings from the occupied territories on stage. In an exploration of what occupation does to the body, Zaides physically responds to the characters on screen, at times emulating their movement while at others answering them.
A devout researcher, Zaides felt that Artists Curate was an opportunity to question and redefine the role of curator.
“I wanted to open the role of curator up and to see curation as a creative process in and of itself. I think the character of Sound Bodies will mirror that desire,” he says.
To begin, Zaides put together an elaborate website on the topic.
Videos, images and essays fill the large spread of the interface.
“The site is like one big lecture. It is also the reference material for the entire weekend,” he says.
“It’s an investigation of sound that is planted in culture and that creates a choreography.”
The weekend will open with a symposium on sound, hosted by Zaides and fellow choreographer and performer Talia de Vries.
“We wanted to look at who is heard, who is not, who we want to hear and what we want to hear and at the ways in which sound informs movement. We looked at the instructions supplied by the Home Front Command for siren protocol, trance music culture, and the Shabbat sirens in observant neighborhoods. We approached each example as we would a case study. Who makes the sound? What is the choreography that goes along with this sound? Is it creation of sound or drowning out of another sound?” he explains.
Joining Zaides and De Vries for the symposium will be Alain Franco, musicologist and longtime collaborator of Anna Teresa De Keersmaker; Belgian dance critic and theoretician Myriam Van Imschoot; Chilean performance artist Rodrigo Sobarzo; Hila Cohen-Schneiderman, curator of the Petah Tikva Museum; and Palestinian activist and facilitator Muhammad Jabali.
“The artists I invited will create an alternative environment concerning sound,” explains Zaides.
Each of these guests will present an activity, performance or lecture.
Van Imschoot’s YouYouYou will bring eight women together for an extended ululation session. Franco will speak on the connection between music, politics and nationalism.
On Friday night, Sobarzo will perform Apnea, a solo involving one dancer and an enormous sheet of plastic. As Sobarzo strikes the material, waves of sound and reverberated movement are created. A seemingly simple performance, Sobarzo’s work has resonated deeply with audiences around the world.
For the closing night of Artists Create, Zaides will present A Response To Dig Deep for the first time in Israel. Created during a residency in France, the piece involves two parts. In the first section, a string quartet will play Dig Deep, a composition by New York-based artist Julia Wolfe. In the second, Zaides will perform a live response to the music.
“The piece is 15 minutes of sound and then 15 minutes of movement,” he says. “My section is based on oscillation and instability, which I feel are my inner core. The sense of being in between is very prevalent in my life.”
Following Zaides’s performance, Sobarzo will present RemoteRave in which video from a remote location housing rave music will be streamed and projected in the Warehouse, and Van Imschoot will show YouYouYou for a second time.
Sound Bodies will take place at Warehouse 2 in Jaffa on November 20, 21, 22. For more information, visit www.arkadizaides.com.