Love-ism is a long term study of the human experience when engaging with significant others that asks to challenge the perception and “liquidity of the agreed upon, the sublime and the condemned”. At its core lie the questions: when do supreme ideas about love like care, mutuality and dependency stop being sacred and become sinful? And what does distinguish one kind of love from another?
The working methods of this study and production trajectory aspire to demonstrate an essentialist manner of thinking about the creation and presentation of contemporary dance with and within a community; a manner of thinking that is designed to answer the suggested core questions, and yet aware of the foreseen certain failure in doing so; a failure that will hopefully become a flowing source of insights to be shared and used as conceptual grounds of an ongoing public discussion, in which participants and audiences are encouraged to become co-authors and critical spectators.
Due to the belief that the arts are an efficient tool of knowledge organization, we wish to facilitate a creative process that can be documented, shared, doubted and re-assessed in a continuous integration process of the material and the changing nonprofessional participants of the creation. We believe that the full comprehension of a contemporary dance performance can be achieved only when put in local and universal contexts, as the creative process is of no less significance than the end product itself and therefore should be exposed to the public. We want to treat the process as a product and bring its essential values into the territory of the theater.
Therefore, Love-ism trajectory combines professional work with a series of community workshops that will be documented by a video artist, together with new practices of audience participation. The trajectory will result with the creation of 4 thematic duets and one contemporary-epic-dance-theater piece to be presented in a multidisciplinary event in which a film about the process will be presented alongside the piece and a public staged discussion. We wish to create dance that is at first a social act and only in last instance a manifestation of aesthetical ideology.
Mor Shani is busy with the biggest cliché of all, but also with the only reason to live he had found until now: Love. Love in its greatest magnitude, as a manifestation of the human potential in all fields, but also as a small sentiment that makes us the people we are.
Radical romanticism brings him to deal with the politics of intimacy, their embodiment, and with the ethical statements emerging from a suggested aesthetic. In Love-ism he wishes to research those and to create a dance that allows both executers to practice humility as a new possible appearance of virtuosity.
The concept of Love-ism emerged from Shani’s personal need to reconnect to the community after three years of working in the hermetic surroundings of the studio and the production houses. It is a reaction to the growing denial of the function of the arts in society, and grew out of the wish to expand the creative process beyond the premises of the professional filed – the wish to be relevant to a larger audience and to share not only a product but also the act of making.
Love-ism is inspired by the book Art of Loving by Erich Fromm that asks to re-look at the different kinds of love as an active creative act. The book includes explorations of the theories of brotherly love, motherly and fatherly love, erotic love, self-love, and the love of God. It presents love as a skill that can be taught and developed and rejects the idea of loving as something magical and mysterious that cannot be explained.
Fromm observes that real love “is not a sentiment which can be easily indulged in by anyone.” It is only through developing one’s total personality to the capacity of loving one’s neighbor with “true humility, courage, faith and discipline” that one attains the capacity to experience real love. This should be considered a rare achievement.
In Love-ism main perceptions presented in the Art of Loving are translated to physical narratives of the naïve body – trained and untrained performers of different ages and genders practice physical manners of engaging with one another and manifest first steps in the physical exploration of “the Politics of Intimacy”, researching the physical and mental void between individuals.
The intimate sphere is presented in the public one, being watched and judged and therefore becomes political. Deconstruction of suggested love relationships will hopefully offer the possibility to re-asses basic moral perceptions of what is considered to be “true humility, courage, faith and discipline” and eventually also “true love”.
The politics of intimacy are an imagined, though surly existing and yet unrevealed, territory of mental activity that determines the nature of our engagement with individuals, groups and ideas. It is the sum of our motivations to move – progress or retreat – when engaging with the world outside of our subjective perception. Intimate politics are constantly formed and reformed by a set of ever changing ethical perceptions and moral judgments on the way we deal with “the problem of being together”. The existence of different approaches to a possible solution of this fundamental problem and the need to agree upon the “better approach” produces a political activity that arranges emotions and world views of the subject as a social being. The nature of those politics dictates the way we operate in the intimate sphere of our lives but also, consequentially, the way we operate in the public sphere, as manners of communication in both spheres mutuality affect each other. At the core of intimate politics, like in state politics, lies the delicate balance between the “greater good” and personal needs of an individual. The maintenance of the status quo as well as its sudden breaching create the shape and dynamics of an existing intimate relationship and form new ones. Everlasting evolution of the intimate political system enhances mental sophistication and broadens, slowly but surely, the perception of “wished emotional arrangements” and the terminology used to describe it. Values such as mutuality, independence, care, passion, compassion, power and others are constantly decontextualized as they incarnate in different intimate systems.
In Love-ism “The problem of our being together” and the need to resolve it are the conceptual fundaments guiding the physical and compositional research. In the absence of pre-choreographed material a silent and empty territory is established between two people or more – a void in which authentic choice making takes place and in which transparent transformation of relationships occur just because of the metaphysical force that makes us move together.
THE CREATION PROCESS
The creation process will evolve in three phases. In the first phase a series of duets will be created in congruence with the different kinds of love described in Fromms theory of the Art of Loving. Each of those duets will be made as a self-standing piece, and will portray a module of intimate politics. We aspire to physically articulate different forms of intimate reciprocal relations, making them tangible and therefore subjects of judgment and discussion. As political creators we see importance in this act of physical representation due to our belief that internal dynamics of an intimate relation are automatically duplicated inductively to the public sphere and become fashions of interactions between groups, cities and eventually countries. In a fractal nature the most private is duplicated and applied to the most public. Acknowledging and observing some of those structures might have a certain value in our pursuit to enhance mental sophistication and spiritual growth, both as participants and critical spectators.
At this first phase working with community members is limited to some individuals that will partake in the initial realization of the movement material. In this period the artistic team and the dancers will give thematic workshops for nonprofessionals about the concept of each duet. The workshops will be documented by a film maker and their participants will also perform on stage in the presentation of each duet.
In the second phase an editorial research will be conducted in which the different duets will be weld together to form one full length epic-movement-theater piece. Its creation will evolve around the process of politicizing the original duets’ material by the alternation of the people operating inside every module of intimate politics. In this process the movement material will become indifferent to the change of age and gender of its executers and will create a conceptual possibility to transit from the agreed upon to the sublime and the condemned. By practicing different strategies of re-contextualization we aim to facilitate the process in which suggested allegories of interactions will obtain and lose moral validity. In this stage we ask to learn when, how and why supreme ideas like care, mutuality and dependency stop being sacred and become sinful. The agreed upon will be doubted and therefore will become political and subjected to discussion in the public sphere of the theater. By the end of the editorial research, community members will join the rehearsals process and will be integrated into the work.
During the first and second phases the artistic process will be reflected with a group of nonprofessionals on a weekly basis in laboratory workshops that will provide the opportunity to explore methods of composing untrained bodies.
In the third phase of the process we will go into the theatre to create the event of presentation. It includes an epic-piece of professional performers and integral scenes with local community members, a film that exposes the process of making and a choreographed public discussion.
POST PRODUCTION AND TOURING
After the premier of the full length piece in December 2013, we would like to duplicate the event in different locations, preserving its theatrical and social values. We propose a new approach to touring with which we aim to achieve involvement of the local community in the realization of the piece in each city, and to propose a way of contextualizing the stage product.
We offer 3-5 days’ workshop with local community members in which they will be integrated in the piece itself, taking part in few pre made scenes based on improvisational scores. In certain moments in the event people from the tribune go on stage to perform scenes that were made with them before hand, in a short term rehearsal process with the artistic team and the professional performers. This rehearsal process is an open invitation to discuss core questions of Love-ism concept, a joint artistic exploration, but also joint of artistic exploration, but also a personal meeting opportunity and a platform of exchange. The workshop will be intertwined with filmed discussions that will be presented as part of the performance event.
After the piece presentation a guided and choreographed public discussion will be held in the theater, including all willing members of the audience. The exposure of the persons on stage as individuals with private histories rather than anonymous executing bodies will provide the opportunity to facilitate a discussion that bridges between the universal conceptual guidelines of the work and the particular interpretations of it offered in each
Due to the modular nature of Love-ism creation, the duets that compile the full length piece can be presented separately, each one on its own, with different levels of audience and community participation. During the workshop period in each location we offer to present two duets of Love-ism trajectory as part of our perception of self-curatorship. Presentation of the duets invites participants of the workshop, their relatives and friends and random audiences to take continue active part as spectators, witnessing not only the re-creation of the piece, but also its compositional origins.