BLOT – Body Line of Thought
- Dance & performance
BLOT proposes a series of performative situations that explore movement from the perspective of the relationship we have with the bacteria in our bodies. The performance looks at the human body as an interconnected system, powerful and fragile at the same time. Stripped of the social meanings defined by language, the body redefines itself through a continuous dialogue, at the basis of which lies the principle of coexistence. On stage and off, choreographers Simona Deaconescu and Vanessa Goodman have created a performative system based on seemingly invisible links, but without which the human body could not function.
CNDB – The National Center for Dance Bucharest commissioned the Romanian-Canadian creative tandem to revive the choreographic project BLOT, initiated in 2020, and create a performance with a Romanian cast, consisting of Simona Dabija and Maria Luiza Dimulescu. Analysing their own cultures of bacteria under a microscope, the two performers are in a continuous process of researching the body, exploring its movement from the perspective of the biological processes that keep it alive.
Set to immersive music by Ukrainian Monocube and in an industrial installation containing over a ton of salt designed by visual artist Ciprian Ciuclea, the show features a dramaturgical contribution by curator Olivia Nițiș. In its installation format, BLOT has previously been presented at the Plastic Orchid Factory (CA), the Thirteenth Vancouver Dance Biennial (CA) and the Ectopia Gallery in Lisbon (PT).
Performed for the first time on the CNDB stage in the premiere in 2022, BLOT addresses the body as a living system that cannot exist outside of the crowds it contains.
Drawing on concepts from microbiology and addressing the urgent issue of dangerous human intervention in the environment, BLOT builds on the fine line between what is useful and what is toxic.
Contamination has become a term that inspires fear, even though it is a natural process by which we exchange and transform resources. Our bodies bear a unique microbial fingerprint. This imprint comes to define us as biological, mental and social identities. Our social choreography is often influenced by a lack of balance between the inner and outer worlds, a balance that we ourselves disrupt.
Conceived as a choreographic project that is constantly transforming and reactive to the transformations of the present, BLOT examines how human existence is defined by language, through processes of dependency and control. There is an order in biological terms, copied and reproduced by human intelligence through social behavioural systems. Human intelligence aims to control the microbiota through technology and science, but is ultimately inevitably subject to the unknown.
BLOT uses ideas taken from anatomy, transporting the body into states of repetition, fluidity, compassion and empathetic reactions. In BLOT movement is a transient presence and an intersubjective experience. Through this method, the artists test different ways of living in relation to nature, of affecting and being affected.
Salt is a restructuring and cleansing agent, but also a binder. The human body cannot survive without sodium. In BLOT, our salts function as a conductor for creativity, electricity and infection. Salt is everywhere, from ocean to soil to body, it is an essential sustainer of life on earth. A dune of salt creates a collective body on stage. This amount is contained in 900 000 litres of human sweat. Our sweat system defines our biological identity through our unique body odour, an odour generated by bacterial activity.
BLOT began in 2020, initiated by Simona Deaconescu (Tangaj Collective, RO) and Vanessa Goodman (Action at a Distance, CA), as an artistic dialogue and exchange of resources between the two choreographers. The project benefited from a research residency at Cultivamos Cultura, in Sao Luis, Portugal, following the selection of the two choreographers as artists-in-residence in Biofriction, a European BioArt project, co-funded by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union.
During their residency, the two choreographers analysed under the microscope the bacteria in their bodies and how these cultures develop as a result of the encounter and contamination between the two bodies. Mentored by Portuguese artist and curator Marta de Menezes, Simona Deaconescu and Vanessa Goodman questioned how performative thinking about the female body can change the way it is perceived by society.
More than a performance, BLOT is a framework project through which the two choreographers continuously work on a method of understanding and exploring the body as a system, declined in various installation and educational forms. Following the nomination of Simone Deaconescu as an associate artist of the CNDB in 2022, the choreographer passes on this method-system to the two Romanian performers, with whom she worked in residency at CNDB.
The artistic team of the project is completed by the curator Olivia Nițis, who provided dramaturgical support, opening channels of communication at the ideational level and processes of transformation of the studied concepts into scenic actions. Monocube, a composer of Ukrainian origin based in Berlin, in his second collaboration with choreographer Simona Deaconescu, signs the soundtrack of the performance. Ciprian Ciuclea, visual artist and researcher, contributes to the design of the scenic objects, in a minimal, industrial direction, anchored in scientific principles. Set designer Paula Viitanen, assisted by Juan Carlos Aldazosa Bazúa, and light designer James Proudfoot contributed to the development of the framework design.
By: Simona Deaconescu and Vanessa Goodman
With: Simona Dabija, Maria Luiza Dimulescu
Artistic consultant: Olivia Nițis
Object design: Ciprian Ciuclea
Light design: Ionuț Cherana, Marius Costache
The BLOT – Body Line of Thought project began in 2020, produced by Tangaj Collective and Action at a Distance, co-funded by AFCN – Administration of the National Cultural Fund and Canada Council for the Arts and supported by Cultivamos Cultura, Biofriction, Left of Main, plastic orchid factory and CNDB.
Dimensiunea științifică a artei: Simona Deaconescu – Dans și microbiologie / RRC
The show contains nudity.