Welcome to ANTI—GRAVITY, Chunky Move’s main stage production for 2017.
To create this work, I collaborated closely with Singaporean visual artist and filmmaker Ho Tzu Nyen. Tzu and I first met in 2015, when the Company was performing Complexity of Belonging at the Schaubühne theatre in Berlin. Tzu described his work to me as a process of distillation, where deeply investigated ideas are then boiled down to their essence. ‘I work slow’ he told me, ‘very slow’. He was immediately interested in my movement method, Countertechnique, which is the result of years of extensive investigations into how to move with less effort and more efficiency.
Tzu and I had long conversations about choreography, filmmaking, work methods and the impact of cultural differences on the creative process. His process involves meticulous preparation and refining of the smallest details, while mine is one of collaboration and structured freedom, letting the outcome emerge in rehearsal. Tzu said to me, ‘In my films performers always move very slow and yours move very fast’. We fell silent. We could not be more different. And so sparked the conversation, what would happen if we were to bring our practices together?
Using Tzu’s research on the iconographic representation of clouds as a springboard for a new work, we started our journey into medieval paintings, historic meaning and symbolism. Paul Jackson joined our conversations to collaborate and assist in translating our research into a unique visual design. Together with Jethro Woodward and Harriet Oxley, the team have created a stunning environment, which enables the six extraordinary performers to continuously build and break down worlds like an engine in flux.
Caught between gravity and elevation, the cloud resembles the moving body. In a state of constant change, it endures extreme pressure before returning to an airy form. Like particles in a cloud unable to attain a stable form, people can find and lose coherence too. ANTI—GRAVITY is a work on stability and transience, on isolation and connection, a journey of sweat, labour and conquering.
I hope you enjoy our world of cloud busting, matter forming and bodies gliding.
Anouk van Dijk
— Concept, choreography & direction of ANTI—GRAVITY and Artistic Director of CHUNKY MOVE