Trilogy of Rage

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Vio's Blog: Argentine Tango

At first, Daniel Adrenaline inspired me to want high kicks and explosive dynamics in my tango. Then I started to consider the role of fighting and conflict in art.

In his 2013 book Art as Therapy, Alain de Botton writes that art is a “tool”:

The saying ‘art for art’s sake’ specifically rejects the idea that art might be for the sake of anything in particular… its importance is too often assumed rather than explained…

Like other tools, art has the power to extend our capacities beyond those that nature has originally endowed us with. Art compensates us for certain inborn weaknesses. What psychological frailties might art help with?   Remembering, Hope, Sorrow, Rebalancing, Self-Understanding, Growth, Appreciation.

This book proposes that art…is a therapeutic medium that can help guide, exhort and console its viewers, enabling them to become better versions of themselves…The task for artists, therefore, is to find new ways of prizing open our eyes to tiresomely familiar, but critically important, ideas about how to lead a balanced and good life. [pages 4-6, 38]

 

Guided by this perspective, I consider what our art could say about conflict, about fighting. We search for authentic transitions between fighting and dancing.

I ask for help from peers. We meet for a day in Berlin to explore the spaces around and between dance and combat.

Andreas pointed out that fighting and dancing are equally intimate – “with one touch I know everything”.

Judith insisted that for her dancing can be angry and need not be beautiful.

Considering combat raised a series of distinct experiences.

fight
anger
risk
conflict
force
violence
antagonism
pain
fear

Dance seems to represent transcendance. Participants repeatedly spoke about

trust
surrender
immersion
purpose
agency
flow
consequence

 

Anarchists sign their letters ‘love and rage’. Indeed the first function of rage is protective. The social question is what do we do with that rage. Italians express it promptly and then get on with life. Most people I know suppress it for as long as possible, but they do not escape it. Non-violent communication tells us to transmute it to calm words. But most of us even fear the cost of honesty.

 

Daniel reminded us that he sees fights as beautiful. He also told us that for him, using his body is “the art and pleasure of surviving.”

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The “therapy” of art may serve others, but it must first be the antidote for the artist. It is the gesture made necessary by the shape and material of the artist’s own experience as crucible.

Just before packing for Berlin, Daniel and I went off to work another weekend without getting paid. Daniel and I hadn’t needed to exchange many words about our weekend of involuntary public service. We had each already experienced this more times than we cared to count. When we received the bad news about enrollment levels in our classes we easily agreed that cancellation would be disappointing to the students and unethical. Daniel uses the term ‘unprofessional’ for ‘unethical’.

Freshly drenched in pain and shame, conscious of the denial, trapped again in the relationships which I must protect from my rage, I did what I usually do, move on to the next project.

The next project was designing some little film projects. Parameters: • Berlin landscape • involve both dance and combat • tell stories with symbols and gestures, not acting and dialogue. (This last parameter is my artistic solution to the fact that we work almost entirely with amateur “actors” and we do not have very fancy sound and lighting equipment.)

 

Sometimes ideas fall with such force that I scramble across the floor for a pen. This one landed as surreptitiously as a French mosquito. Like all of my ideas, it arrived righteously and insisted that I get to work without waver or delay. (If you’re curious about my relationship to ideas, Elizabeth Gilbert put theory and words to my experience.)

 

Rage

Coming soon

Contract

Three artists become enraged when they realize how little they’ve been paid for their work.

Opportunity

Artists’ desire to show their talent leads to desperation.

Fall

An artist’s pas de deux between discouragement and his art. “It’s not a choice.”

Amory Violet: scenarios, dance choreography, costumes, director: “Fall”

Daniel Adrenaline: fight choreography, editing, director: “Opportunity”.

Violet et Daniel: production, camera, directors: “Contract”.

Actors: Roberto L’Ange, Ibon Goitia, Max Power, Paul Wagner, George Kostos,
Boris Goldammer, Fritz Schadow, Gökhan Aksakalli

Production managers: Max Power, CJ Yetman

If you would like to support this self-funded project,
we welcome your donation to our production costs.

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