Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Questionnaire with participant URI SHAFIR (IL)

photo: Gadi Dagon
Have you been (when) to Budapest - Hungary with your pieces and artistic works earlier?
I have been to Budapest when I was touring with a different project - Ship Of Fools, a piece by Niv Sheinfeld & Oren Laor. The piece was invited by Caffe Budapest Festival. (2012)

What do you know about Hungary and what kind of information do you have about our dance life?
I do not know much about the dance life in Hungary, but L1danceFest is already known in Tel Aviv, as one of the most interesting, cutting edge, fresh platforms for dance performances, and I’m very glad to take part of it.

Could you share with us if you have any idols in theater/dance life?
My inspiration derives from a very diverse range of theater/dance artists - Ohad Naharin, Pina Bausch, Meg Stuart, Robert Wilson, Forced Entertainment theater group. 

What kind of piece will you bring to L1danceFest and does this piece mean any differences or similarities to your earlier works? Where did you perform it already?
I will be presenting a piece called Fail Better, and it was performed only in Israel up until now. It’s similar to my other works in different senses: 1. being focused on a personal, autobiographical research, 2. the piece’s form floats between dance and performance art, but actually seeks to be free of any kind of genre.
It is different from my other works because it reflects myself as an artist and human being, and as I'm growing and changing, the piece is unique.

Do you have your artistic statement, could you share with us?
In my work, I’m interested in the qualities of live-ness – the things that make a performance a living event. Within the performance art, I am interested in the skill of being present and trying to find authenticity in the performance. As a maker, I’m looking for finding the terms and conditions under which dance or performance art, as a living event, can be different than any other medium. How it challenges us to attend to what’s happening now. Right now, not tomorrow or yesterday.

Do you have any hobby besides working as a performer or creator?
I love music, and I love singing. Playing piano is my favorite way of clearing my mind. I also love to hike, and take long walks in the nature. 

Can you write some details about your artistic life - which direction did you come from and which direction do you go right now? Tell us some important steps from your background!
Normally, and especially in Israel, I would probably need to describe myself mainly as one thing – a dancer; an actor; a choreographer; a musician; a director. There is not yet any category for all of the above, and this is what I strive to find as an artist. I’m looking to create a frame in which I can bring all of these qualities into action, and weave them seamlessly together into one unit of performance.

How did your summer time go? Did you get any new inspirations? Do you have a best experience during this summer?
My summer, unfortunately, was mainly influenced by the war between Israel and Gaza. I only wish the outcome of this war would be a significant change towards a better life for the Palestinians and Israelis. I wish to still see a time where we could live side by side in brotherhood, as we should.

Does it mean any differences to play your pieces in different countries? If so, could you please tell us in what sense?
My piece has some audio recordings, including text in Hebrew. Both recordings were recorded privately and authentically, with no intention to make it a part of a performance. 
In the first recording, we can hear Omer (my fellow dancer), talking about himself becoming 30, and the mental and social changes he faces. He is very emotional in the recording, and breaks into tears. 
In the second recording, we can hear me, when I was 5.5 years old, reading a child's book. I was having fun with being able to read it out, and I'm singing a song about being a boy. 
I'm worried by the fact that the audience in Budapest will not be able to understand the actual text, but I decided to leave it as it is, since the authenticity of the recording is very important, and comes through much stronger than the actual words we say.
Other than that, the themes of the piece - such as boyhood-manhood, nostalgia, failure, friendship - are quite universal, and I only hope those would come through in any country we perform.

What does it mean to you to be in the process and to show the work to the audience? What kind of feedback are you open for?
Being in a process is being present in life. A performance, unlike other art forms, is a living event, and therefore it's always in an unstoppable process of change. It doesn't mean that the piece must change its structure all the time, but it definitely must stay alive. The performers as well as the creator need to find a way to reconnect to the piece every time, and see how the piece can be present. 
The audience is one of the most important and natural key to the presence of the piece. When a piece meets the audience, it creates a portal, through which we can examine the EXPERIENCE that the piece enacts. I'm open to any kind of feedback, because it is the audience's reaction to that unique experience; this is why I make performance art.

Do you read critics about your works? What kind of critic do you need?
Critics make me curious about the possible interpretations of the work. 

Do you criticize other’s works? Do you write about it?
Not so much. When a piece strikes me with inspiration, I write about it, to myself. What I saw, what kind of thoughts, dreams, emotions it brought up, etc... 

Are you open for a round table discussion with the audience after a premier or after your show?
Very much!

Here you find some words, could you put them in sentences which could be kind of ars poetic of yours!
Share your performance with your community like an amazing organic food dish you made. Exchange the tastes, the flavors. Make them use all their senses, when they eat your delicious performance that you made especially for them. Watch them while they get closer to each other, while they're opening up their hearts and stomachs. As if there were no religions in the world but this one - a performance, which only seeks for the believers to be present. Watch. Listen. Eat. Smell. Touch. Enjoy. Be afraid. Be glad. Be excited. Be terrified. Be amazed. Be here. 

Do you have any question?
Yes - what's next?

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