A short documentary about Koumaria 2018. This year we celebrated our tenth anniversay of the residency. We are also partners in the pan-European “Interfaces” Project which is co-funded by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union (http://www.interfacesnetwork.eu/),and so the theme for this years residency is INTERFACES. What is an interface? When is an instrument an interface/an interface an instrument? How does the structure of an interface determine the structure of the art it is used to produce? When is a performer an interface? Can a whole performance be an interface?
Day 2| “Elephant woman”
When you are over ninety you control the time constantly.
That’s why she wears a wristwatch to watch over the minutes, and that reassures her like one who calms down while traveling, touching their passport.
Yellow flowers gift of the soul.
Grandmother’s embrace, sweet voice of yesterday.
Outside drops of dew just like yesterday, but don’t wet the same because they are from yesterday.
The barking of the neighbor dog that doesn’t sound the same like yesterday and she who speaks and no longer speaks which she would like because her voice doesn’t sound like yesterday, and that is why she sings to hide that her voice trembles like her hands tremble.
She remembers everything from yesterday, and acts like if it were today, but the boat of her life sailed a long time ago and navigates the furrows of her face jumping the ninety-two ports in the retina of her memory.
And that’s why she sings, sings like if the words will not reach.
The love in his eyes that observes everything and the musicians that are entering.
Nostalgia dances in her eyes discolored and vivacious,
Follow the rhythm with her giant carnival smile.
The mist of the mountains beats like the steps of an elephant over her memory.
and now she is expectant
and awaits another year the visit of tourists
like a child waits for Santa Claus
Day 1 | “Trik, trak, tuk”
One way towards the uncertain, the emotion of the unknown…
… the beginning of the rest of the whole.
The silence of the house, the only protagonist who expectantly waits as if waiting for Godot, daydreaming to be nested by thirty barefoot feet by pressing art.
She receives them with her melody,
“trik, trak, tuk”
aroma of homemade food
and the smile of the cook.
The dance of the thirty under the table,
the wine habiting the bare feet.
The game begins,
the creativity naked to the skin,
the instruments are tuned,
the improvisation runs
and the bodies fall like drops of dew.
Now they sleep and she stays alone until morning
with what remains when in the forest the bird shuts up.
Today was dominated by a series of interviews with villagers, each one offering its own surprises. Luckly, upon reaching the village a truck selling live poultry was parked, and we made a surround-sound recording of the assorted cluckings and cooings. Many interviews were then conducted, some of the highlights including a 87 year old former professional singer, after some coaxing, breaking into traditional song. A 93 and a 94 year old women were both interviewed, revealing much about the history of courtship, family building, and domestic work in the village, along with insights into the assorted waves of village migration, and signal moments in the village’s history, from both WW2 and the civil war. Many rich narratives of village life emerged, and residents are thinking about ways of integrating this material into both app content and performance. After a delicious dinner there was a second jam, featuring electronics, live signal processing, video and movement. The cool evening had us set two fires, and as the night progressed groups of residents huttled near the flames, discussing projects to work on in the following days.
Gabriella Gatalano is a dancer and a movement practitioner whose work investigates the relation between dance and musical, visual or linguistic scapes in the context of live performances. She has a contemporary and classic ballet background coming from her training at the international choreographic centre Opus Ballet (Florence, Italy). Subsequently she has continued her journey following and drowing inspiration from different techniques and methods
Last full days for all of us, between Koumaria Residency and Athens.
On Wednesday 5th, everybody is finalizing his or her productions and post-productions. The last online material is being uploaded. The residency is incredibly silent as never before. Anybody could guess why. Lunch is cooked at 16. For Eric, Alex, Manolis and Yorgos is now the turn to speak about the sequence of performances that will be presented on October 7th at the OCC show in Athens. During the late afternoon, the last trials take place: of Victoria’s video triggering, of Alex and Gabriella’s live coding poetry and Victoria’s door performance about hospitality and building a new home. The sunset is truly fantastic. The last episode of Show and Tell is definitely not the least: the order of performances is checked live, so to understand its flow and homogeneity.
So many discussions come in as the performances are shown. Are we ready for tomorrow? Are we ready to leave this wonderful and peaceful corner of the world? Are we ready for the chaotic Athens and its big white buildings?
Sleeping is not easy, lights are still on until late night. Red wine is over. Red passion, still vivid inside.
The last Koumaria’s alarm clock rings pretty early, so to close all the luggages and be ready to leave on time. At 10:30, the four cars are packed of stuff and people. After three hours of pleasant silences, small talks and infinite mountains, Athens come across us with unexpected violence. The arrival at OCC’s big squared marble building suggests that the trip somehow I coming to an end: the end of the more artistic-oriented approach, giving space to organization and structure… a more effective attitude towards the presentation of all residents’ works during the 10 days.
At the fourth floor of the OCC the installation space is set, while the performances are going to be presented in the fifth floor cinematic theatre. As soon as the rehearsals start, both on October 6th and 7th, the order of the performances as previously set is followed. The show is going to present 11 works, structured as follows:
- Video at the trashing floor with Victoria and Gabriella, shot by Pan Woo
- Live act of Live Sound Painting, by Akiko and Rasmus
- Live pulse feedback piece
- Video by Pan Woo, shot both during the visit at the Black Smith and at the cemetery
- Live act “At arms lenght” performed by Rah and Nadav
- Nadav’s video “Part Five” about the fatal march, reproduced during Dimitris’ double bass live performance
- Live coding poetry by Alex and Gabriella
- Video shot in the abandoned house, by Rah and Nadav
- Victoria’s piece about building a house, with Rasmus and Rah and Dimitris’ live music performance
- Light dress act, by Fawn, with Nadav and Gabriella as models
- Kleopatra’s video about a love story, with the participation of Ageliki and Rolando.
The rehearsals seem to be ready, even though some (usual and expected) troubles with sound and light occur. The last rehearsal leave everybody content, perhaps a little bit less worried. Until 18, all members and artists are going up and down. They laugh, after all.
Everybody is tired, carrying a lot of desperation but at the same time is extremely excited and inspired for what is about to come.
Rossella Salzillo (Intern)
Morning starts with the picture of Victoria and Rolando consulting, the latter giving tips and advices to the first, about her projects. All day is spent at home. Lunch is consumed at 16, in an atmosphere of drowsiness and mild, frivolous worry.
Tonight’s Show and Tell illustrates a broad picture of trailers – but first, everybody is invited to go up on the residency’s rooftop, situated on one of the two towers, where Raw and Nadav are going to perform. The audience is asked to sit all around the circular space, so to create sort of an atmosphere of energy. Strong, intense, shocking performance. Dressed both in black, Raw runs against Nadav more and more times. He stops her pushing with his hand open on her head. As she tries to fight, he continues stopping her. At the end she gives up and he kind of excels her.
Nevertheless they hug after the performance. Comments are shy and poor, since the action are enough to explicate.
The Show and Tell itself starts with the presentation of Rah and Nadav’s short movie in the abandoned house, where Raw is entering a place in contrast with the external scenario and seems to be trapped into it. The clip seems to be ready, just the audio mix has to be improved.
Dirar’s final version of the short movie at the beach is also showed. It reminds the arrival of refugees by boat during night. In fact, colors are predominantly in shades of blue. Also this clip is considered to be finished.
Victoria’s performance comes right afterwards. Everybody is invited to go outside of the main entrance door. Lights are set up. Rasmus and Nadav are taking three iron poles and build a sort of entrance (representing the door of a house) with them. Gabriella brings a white blanket. They perform some singing and spooky sounds. They physically go in through the door. Then, it is Rah to take the poles. They build another door all together, go also in through that. Every time they dismantle the door and build another one in another place. Nadav and Gabriella perform a dance, playing with the blanket. With two spiral iron pieces, they build what can be compared to knobs. The doubt arising is: should or should not it be a live performance? If merely documented and recorded, it would stay as a performance in within Koumaria Residency context. If it is going to be a live show, then a bit more energy of action should be added. Some special lights perhaps, or even wind. The performance itself should be stronger, even by staying simple. Minimalist aesthetics. The devil’s in the detail. Time issue is the main concern, though.
Concerning Fawn and Alex’s graphite sensor, there are some sound troubles.
Victoria also presents the video triggering trial with double bass, trombone and trumpet. The five commands triggered are: fire, river, sea, cemetery, rock. Audience is asked to push respectively five buttons, so to trigger the videos, connected with sensors to the computer system. The performance is three minutes long, but has to be fixed.
Opera seria, not opera buffa.
Live coding poetry, the modular poem built with Phyton commands corresponding to actions performed through dance, is the next trial. The sense of abstraction is stressed: the concept is to introduce more and more sounds so to produce “abstract” confusion. The idea is to produce commands and immediately execute commands, creating a kind of confusion with no rational sense. The live performance is planned to last 7-8 minutes.
Akiko and Rasmus’ improvements are then showed. Their work on the performance is finished. Ready. Perfect. It should be just more long lasting, at least 15 minutes long.
Fawn’s other project is performed afterwards: the light sensors thought for dancers to be worn, reacting to movement and waves. The light path is installed on a sweatshirt. Gabriella and Nadav dance in order to give a demonstration of the possible movements; in the meanwhile Guido, Dimitris and Eric improvise some music. What is still not perfectly working is the response of the light, which is in fact very slow.
Panos presents a video shot at the trashing floor. He has got a 1-minute movie, already great as a standalone, but in need to be completed. Kleopatra has shot a video in stop-motion, this morning at the graveyard, with Angeliki and Rolando. She has added in post-production the voices from all Koumaria Residency people, recorded last night.
Dirar’s video about memory is also ready, 6-minutes long, it only needs audio or perhaps the video can be reproduced in the same moment as live music performance.
by Rossella Salzillo (Intern)
Musician working in the field of experimental electronic music. Background in avant-garde music and classical guitar, he now explores timbre and form through electronic music programming and electronic music instrument building. His main focus is on the control boundaries using digital signals and on interactivity using various sensors.