The Lac of Signs
“The Lac of Signs” – performance & holographic installation
“The art of storytelling is reaching its end because the epic side of truth, wisdom, is dying out. At the same time it is now possible to see a new beauty in what is vanishing.”
— Walter Benjamin, The Storyteller, 1936
At what point in the history of dance was it that the use of narrative became unpopular and moreover, un- cool? The historical avant-garde of dance strongly rejected fiction as an apparatus which distracted viewers from the real, from the materiality of the body and thought, of new modes of experience. Stories were no longer acceptable, and their legacy in dance and performance remains dubious at best today. But did we throw out the baby with the bathwater when we got rid of storytelling? How might storytelling today be a means to cope with the complexities of our contemporary narratives? With these questions in mind, artist and choreographer Andros Zins-Browne is currently creating a new performance, “The Lac of Signs”, in an attempt to retell the canonical story of ”Swan Lake” (“Le Lac Des Cygnes”). In an absurd gesture towards both the intimacy and impotency of dance’s ability to tell a story, “The Lac Of Signs” reinterprets the story ballet, by multiplying the stories being told and reducing the storytellers.
If a book composed of many voices were a body, how would such a body speak? How might the poverty of dance as a sign system encounter the textual complexities that modern literature introduced? Drawing on methods more closely related to contemporary fiction writing than choreography, Zins-Browne and his collaborator Chrysa Parkinson have begun by writing a libretto. This libretto attempts to tell and retell the story of Swan Lake employing a cast of ignorant narrators, unauthorized characters, and deviating, digressing, and dissenting google searches. In the absent center, stands the original narrative of “Swan Lake”, a plot which seems almost accidental as it perpetually attempts to locate itself. The final result, which will exist in two forms- a printed libretto, given to the audience, and a holographic video of Parkinson’s performance projected into the middle of the space- presents us with the analogue body telling the story, disappearing into its virtual double.
- About Andros Zins-Browne
Andros Zins-Browne was trained as a dancer and choreographer, but his work gravitates towards the visual arts. He makes dance performances and hybrid environments at the intersection between installation, performance and conceptual dance, performed by a mix of professional dancers and amateurs. They explore the way in which the human body, movement and matter can interact until a certain melting point is reached and the diverse media appear to take on each other’s properties. Zins-Browne bases his work on topical issues. For instance, he has drawn much inspiration from digital culture and it’s impact on the human body and behaviour, producing science fiction-like performances in which characters move like avatars and real and virtual worlds overlap. In “Second Life” he studies people’s behaviour in protected environments such as gated and online communities, and in Neverland the body becomes a hologram. In more recent work Zins-Browne focusses on the ambigous relationship between mankind and his environment. In “The Host” three cowboys hopelessly try to curb an instable, inflatable landscape, while the performance installation “Welcome to the Jungle” immerses the audience in a sensory ecosystem, a house of mirrors where subtle shifts in light, sound an smell question our own experience. Simultaneously with the tour of these works, Zins-Browne currently develops two new dance pieces. In “&&&&” – The David Lang project he investigates with three dancers and six pianos how mutual interaction influences our behavioural patterns. With “The Lac of Signs”, a solo for Chrysia Parkinson, Zins-Brown stages an exploration into movement, meaning and inforation overload, inspired by the dance classic “The Swan Lake” / “Le Lac des Signes”.
Concept & choreography by Andros Zins-Browne. Created with and performed by Chrysa Parkinson. Artistic assistance: Sidney Leoni. Lighting design: Wim Temmerman. Technique: Vincent Malstaff. Video: Kristina Ianatchkova. Costumes: Ada Rajszys. Production: wpZimmer. Co-Production by Slingan: Atalante Gothenburg, Dansstationen Malmo?, MDT Stockholm. HAU Hebbel am Ufer (Berlin), Kaaitheater (Brussels) – With the support of the DEPARTS network. DEPARTS is funded by the European Commission Culture program, Vlaamse Gemeenschapscommissie, the city of Antwerp, ActOral (Marseille).
- The Lac of Signs
- Andros Zins-Browne
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