Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Interview with Ilona Pászthy (D) by Zita Sándor

“I like to confront people with their own ideas” 
interview with Ilona Pászthy (D) by Zita Sándor

“We are longing for being far away and once we reached the desired spot, the virtual world moves us away again” – says dancer-choreographer Ilona Pászthy, whose recent works are inspired by the constant restlessness of modern humans, in an age when body and mind are rarely at the same place. Being a visual artist, she likes to work with strong images, projections and installations too. The second part of her trilogy dealing with the subject of waiting – and especially expectations – titled time4 will be performed at L1danceFest2015 on 18th of September at Marczi Közösségi Tér. 

I have read that you have Hungarian origins (and your name shows that also). How is your relation with the Hungarian dance or art scene? You certainly have some, you’ve lead workshops in Hungary and currently you work with musician-composer Zsolt Varga (chairman of L1 Association).
Since 3 years, Zsolt has been creating the musical compositions for our dance installations. This is a great enrichment and we are happy that he is part of our projects. In addition, we have a long relationship to Orkesztika Foundation, since our choreographer network is connected as a co-operative partner to the SoloDuo Festival since 5 years. This was the reason for a co-production I have made with Orkesztika Foundation in 2011 with my Solo “winterlandscape with nescafé # 2” that we showed at Merlin Theatre in 2012.

Already in 2007, you were interested in the communication via chat rooms and e-mails (in the piece called SZIA), and you don’t fully abandon this theme in your current trilogy either. In your pieces, you make installations, use videos, projections, so to say, you build a half-digital wonder world. How do you see the digitally determined communication? Why do you think it’s important to use these phenomenon and tools in your performances?

As an artist, I do not really want to make a statement about themes or subjects. I just reflect on society, I mirror phenomena and I try to make certain aspects obvious without judgment. I like to confront people with their own ideas and thoughts about the theme, I like to provoke them to create their own point of view inspired by the dance and the installation they visit.

You are not only a dancer and a choreographer, but also a visual artist with a degree in Illustration and Painting. What do you think, how does this knowledge influence your work in the field of dance?
I like strong images, and I like installations, and I like to expand choreography not only towards the performing bodies but also in relation to the space, the video images, the stage objects and the audience. I think this comes from this background.

Your performances are usually complex, dense and intelligent. In you trilogy you are working with different aspects of time. Do you read philosophy? How do you prepare for your choreographies?
I try to read and research a lot before we start to work about scientific and philosophical backgrounds, but I also make interviews with normal people about their thoughts and ideas about the theme. Initiated by the idea of my dramaturge Judith Ouwens, since 2 years we start the work of the year as an artistic team with a kick-off-workshop for the whole team, stage designer, video artist, dancers, dramaturge, choreographer...  That means, that we meet for 2-3 days and work all together about the theme; we watch films, exchange literature and invite specialists about the theme. We discuss, paint, move and sing, whatever helps us to get an entrance to the theme. The results are the base for our further work.

You bring the second part of your trilogy, the time4 to the L1danceFest. What is the speciality, the main characteristic of this work?
The trilogy was dealing about aspects of time focused on waiting. Nowadays no one wants to wait; everything has to be mega- or gigafast. But we wait for a large part of our lives, for buses and trains, at the PC, at the laundromat, in public offices and traffic jams, in canteens and at counters or checkouts, we wait for signals, impulses and inspirations, for the great love and... actually what? The series deals with the topic of waiting. When, where, why and how are we waiting in everyday life? How do we bypass or fill up the time of waiting? After focusing on daydreams in “timeGAPS” in 2012, time4 in 2013 focused on “expectations”.
We are longing for being far and once we reached the desired spot, the virtual world moves us away again. What forces us?  Expectation?  Longing, speculation, desires, or just plain duties? “My body as a machine, my body that fantasizes.” What are the border areas, in which our “body machine” escapes from operating and moves into indeterminate areas?

Did you get any new inspirations this summer? What kind of project are you working on now?
We are right ahead of 2 premieres, site-specific projects in Krefeld and in Cologne. In Cologne we will have 3 days of 12 hours slow motion performances through the public space around the theme of violence.
In Krefeld we will also make a site-specific performance in an area, which is an incredible mixture of nature and a historic church as a relic of a village, and an industrial area, that was repressing the village and the habitants.

Do you have an artistic statement you can share with us?
I can give you my favorite poem, that is a kind of header for my work and my inspirations, it is written by writer Masha Kaleko: "Nothing exists" says the wise man, "you let it appear, it will disappear with the wind of your breath, imperceptibly and silently, nothing exists" says the wise man. 

KÖM by L1 Association

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