A fraction too much friction: ‘the fault lines’ by Meg Stuart, Philipp Gehmacher and Vladimir Miller


Sometimes, you don’t get it, and it turns out to be your own fault. Take the fault lines for instance, the new performance by choreographers Meg Stuart, Philipp Gehmacher and visual artist Vladimir Miller, which had its Belgian premiere yesterday at Stuk (Leuven). The whole time I was waiting for something to happen, for some deus ex machina, but what I was looking for did not happen. Their mistake? No: mine.

At your left, Philipp Gehmacher. At your right, Vladimir Miller. Against the rear wall, Meg Stuart. A curtain as well, at your left hand side, and to the right, a television-sized image of that curtain, projected on the  right hand wall. A couple of projectors on the floor. Fluorescent lamps. A microphone. Noises. Then Stuart and Gehmacher start walking towards each other. Their hug quickly becomes a short wrestling match. They repeat this, again and again. When their bodies are moving in front of that curtain, they are moving in front of the camera, which means that you can see them as well in that videoprojection on the wall to your right. And all the while Miller is quietly sitting there, doing nothing.

I guess it went wrong from that moment on. I was waiting for something to happen. For a continuation of the ‘story’ of those first ten minutes. For some visual effect they would come up with (by using those projectors for instance)  that would help clarifying all of this. Because gradually Vladimir Miller was playing more of an important role too. I was really concentrating on all the different parts of this performance and this scenery to make sure I didn’t miss out on some sort of clever trick they were playing on me. But I was wrong. And so I didn’t see what this was really about: the way choreography and visual art were coming together. Just a simple ‘game’ of shifting and overlapping. Of a choreography becoming a performance installation, as Miller got more and more involved and came up with some really nice interventions.

Stuart and Gehmacher had collaborated already on that wonderful MAYBE FOREVER (for a video fragment, click here). In the summer of 2008 they did a research project for Sommerszene 08 in Salzburg. For this they invited  Berlin-based visual artist Vladimir Miller. As they felt really inspired by this collaboration they decided to develop the fault lines into the performance installation it has now become. I prefer the warmth of MAYBE FOREVER to this colder, more cerebral, artsy performance. But as I was discussing this with some people afterwards they clearly preferred the fault lines. So…

‘the fault lines’ will be touring from the end of August onwards. For info on Meg Stuart, her company Damaged Goods and ‘the fault lines’, click here.

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