Drones as the “eye of God“, called thus by philosopher Grégoire Chamayou, circle above us in many places. French choreographer Eric Minh Cuong Castaing negotiates the “eye of God” – these days employed both as toys and as machineries of war – in his most recent production “Phoenix”. The creation’s first part is a playful encounter between dancers and drones. Just like an air ballet’s loud buzzing, a choreography between dancers and three drones unfolds, posing questions for the effects seemingly autonomous objects have on the human body. The second part utilises webcam and video: Coming live from his apartment in Gaza, Dabke dancer Mumen Khalifa, who was raised in a Palestinian refugee camp, tells us, as if in a fictitious interview, about his experiences with the oppressive presence of Israeli surveillance drones. The urge for freedom, on the other hand, lies at the centre of the video supplied by b-boy group Myus GB Crew, before the backdrop of a bombed building, also situated in Gaza.
Together with his company Shonen, Eric Minh Cuong Castaing, currently associated artist at the Ballet National Marseille, has been dealing with the connection between dance and technology as well as ethical questions for years. A trained visual artist, the “revolting body”, as he calls it, is at the centre of his artistic endeavours, putting a special focus on the extensions of the bodily condition by means of technology. In 2016, he managed to impress at tanzhaus nrw with “School of moon”, in which he had a primary school class meet with robots and professional dancers. “Phoenix” premiered in Marseille in June.
“Phoenix disturbs by way of its distinction into two universes (...) two worlds that do not seem made to converge.” Thomas Hahn for online platform “Danser”
Duration: 60 min. in English and Arabic
Concept, Choreography: Eric Minh Cuong Castaing with the dancers Jeanne Colin, Kevin Fay, Mumen Khalifa, Nans Pierson, Myuz GB Crew (Hamad Abu Hasira, Meuse Abu Matira, Mohammed Abu Ramadan); Live-Translation: Tamara Saade, Drone-Pilot: Thomas Peyruse, Scott Stevenson; Music: Gregoire Simon & Alexandre Bouvier (Yes soeur); Light Design: Sébastien Lefèvre; Video: Pierre Gufflet; Direction: Julien Léo David, Mahmoud Alhaj; Camera in Gaza: Mostafa Abou Thoria; Support coordination in Gaza: Suzanne Groothuis, Ingrid Rollema, Pieter de Ruiter; Video-Montage: François Duverger; Dramaturgy: Marine Relinger; Outside Eyes: Alessandro Sciarrioni, Pauline Simon, Anne-Sophie Turion. www.shonen.info A production by Shonen, coproduced by tanzhaus nrw in the framework of the Bündnis internationaler Produktionshäuser, funded by the Beauftragte der Bundesregierung für Kultur und Medien; furthermore coproduced by the Ballet National de Marseille, Festival de Marseille, Pôle Arts de la Scène – Friche la Belle de Mai, Charleroi danse, Centre Chorégraphique de Wallonie – Bruxelles, ViaDanse-CCN de Bourgogne Franche-Comté à Belfort, Institut Français du Liban, Center for visual arts 2 angles in Flers, HELLERAU – Europäisches Zentrum der Künste Dresden, CCN de Créteil et du Val-de-Marne / Compagnie Käfig, Institut Francais, Fonds Transfabrik and in cooperation with DICRéAM, Caisse des dépôts et Consignations group, Aubervilliers Laboratories.