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11 MARCH 2011

Revisioning La Jetee as a series of video tableaux vivants

"An adaption and reconstruction of Chris Marker's La Jetee(1963) film. Its tells the story about a man who is marked by an image of his childhood in a post–nuclear war experiment on time travel."

(Choy Ka Fai, 2010)

[This revision of Chris Marker's masterpiece transposes the static black and white photographs of the original through a series of video tableaux vivants. In this way actors hold their position as they are photographed using live–action video. The resulting effect is both eerie and evocative.]



Simon Perkins

Luminous: by experimental choreographer Saburo Teshigawara

Sadler's Wells, 11 – 12 October 2003

"Luminous is a choreographic masterpiece danced with virtuosity and refinement, litheness and lyricism. Saburo Teshigawara, who created it for his company Karas in 2001, is also lead dancer and, with his long–time collaborator Kei Miyaka, responsible for music, costume and scene design. His choreography is thrillingly liquid and – through both movement and stillness – boldly explores the sculptural qualities of the human body. Trained in classical ballet as well as the plastic arts, Teshigawaraís [sic] dancing seamlessly integrates the formal and amorphous, controlled and wild, slow and frenzied dimensions of his choreography.

In part 1, the dancers streak in and out of patches of light which at first seem to entrap them, but from which they eventually escape with spellbindingly mercurial gestures. Light is explored with glass mirrors, luminous constumes, light–box silhouettes and masterful use of spotlighting. And darkness – which in Teshigawaraís fertile choreographic imagination seems so much more than merely the absence of light – is embodied in the remarkable Stuart Jackson, a dancer blind from birth whose contact with the space around him feels almost physical. When he spreads his hands, or tries to touch the air with outstretched arms, or twists and turns in a space that he seems to have perfectly measured out, he brings alive a world – almost a world–view – experienced through touch and movement alone.

After the interval, the atmosphere changes completely. Strange figures, phosphorescently lit, some minus heads or hands or entire upper torsos, caper around elusively. At one point a cloak flies over the stage. A nun–like figure is suspended mid–air. Two walls enclose a glowing green figure, and open and shut like a huge book. And then all this eerie activity gives way to a meditative solo by Teshigawara, in white on a bare stage, who alternates floating movement with sudden sharp slicing curves and fast spilling turns. He is eventually joined by a black–clad Jackson. They circle around each other, in a dialogue that seems incomprehensible to the on–looker and yet vital in every sense of the word.

The only irritation in Luminous is the portentous and sometimes vapid poetry read by Evroy Deer, which gets in the way of the dancing and dilutes rather than adds to its ëmeaningí [sic]. Apart from that, however, nothing is sensationalist or kitschy. Above all nothing is arbitrary: everything feels essential in the indefinable way of great art."

(Simon May, 2003, Online Review London)

Fig.1 Dominik Mentzos, 'Saburo Teshigawara'.




20012003 • absence of light • aestheticsballetblind • blind performer • choreographic imaginationchoreographyclassical balletcostumedancedarknessdesign formalismDominik Mentzoseerie • everything feels essential • evocative performance • Evroy Deer • figures in spacefloating • floating movement • gestureglassglowinggraphic representation • green light • interdisciplinary • interdisciplinary project • Karas (dance company) • Kei Miyaka • lightlight-box • litheness • Londonluminousluminous costume • lyricism • masterpiecemirrormovement • nothing is arbitrary • nun • phosphorescence • plastic arts • portentous • poses plastiquesSaburo Teshigawara • Sadlers Wells • scene design • sculptural qualities of the human body • sharp slicing curves • silhouettespace • spilling turns • spotlight • stage • Stuart Jackson • suspended mid-air • theatretorso • vapid poetry • virtuosity • visual dramavisual literacy


Simon Perkins
12 FEBRUARY 2004

Frozen In The Moment: Into The Void

The short 16mm film; "A Little Death" evolved from an earlier (speculative) project entitled "Into The Void". This project problematised issues of space (zone, boundary, intersection) through their instigation as narrative actors. The project enquired: How do 3D people live up to idealised 2D representations? What happens if an individual who doesn't 'belong' is given the chance to 'fit in' & remains dislocated? As Frank turns to reach out and touch his surrounds he finds them to be flat and lifeless representations – literally a 2D world of backdrops hanging one foot in front of his face – mirrors of his own subjectivity. Will he locate himself within this shifting but lifeless tableau or escape into the void beyond?
(Simon Perkins & Paul Swadel, September 1993)

[The project was conceptualised in part as a play on Edouard Manet's 'Olympia' (and its reframing of Titian's 'The Venus of Urbino'.]




Simon Perkins

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