La Substance, but in English
”La Substance, but in English” is a large-scale, 4½-hour dance performance for eight dancers, one singer and a group of performers. Together, they inhabit and produce a landscape that transforms into an infinite yet stable place, a featureless objectivity. Its creator is the choreographer and artist Mårten Spångberg, who, for the past 15 years has been reappraising and expanding dance as an artistic medium. In “La Substance, but in English” he seeks to circumvent performativity – the act of exhibiting – allowing dance to just happen. The performance asks questions about how dance can arise in a museum, and how it is influenced by the encounter with the museum’s spatial and temporal conditions and social, economic and aesthetic conventions. And whether dance, in turn, can offer opportunities for the museum to reconsider its interpretation of spatiality and time, of audience and public space.
Based on conceptual dance that emphasizes dance as a medium, “La Substance, but in English” can be seen as a concept, a machinery that generates experiences and takes the spectator on a journey. Mårten Spångberg proposes dance and experience as objects by bending and remixing contemporary approaches to attention and presence. His work departs from the more standardised references to high and low brow, even if “La Substance… contains both popular and underground culture and all the typical products, techniques and social behavioural patterns of the 2010s, online and IRL.
La Substance, but in English” proposes that people do not visit museums in 2014 primarily to look at exhibited sculptures or paintings, but to invest in themselves as subjects, to experience something and attain a sense of belonging.
The performance takes place at Moderna Museet in Stockholm. Curator: Camilla Carlberg.
Choreography: Mårten Spångberg. By and with Aron Blom, Linda Blomqvist, Ludvig Daae, Yoann Durant, Emma Kim Hagdahl, Sandra Lolax, Linnea Martinsson, Pontus Pettersson, Mårten Spångberg, Rebecka Stillman, Hanna Strandberg, Marika Troili. Commissioned by MoMA PS1. With support from the Swedish Arts Council, the Swedish Arts Grants Committee, the Swedish Institute, The City of Stockholm, MDT Stockholm and PAF.