A collection of performances by Diego Chamy (dance), improvising in duo with Tamara Ben-Artzi (dance), Axel Dörner (trumpet), Nikolaus Gerszewski (piano and guitar), Robin Hayward (tuba) & Christof Kurzmann (electronics).
Bonus Features: Diego Chamy and Vered Nethe’s video works
Tamara Ben-Artzi (dance) & Diego Chamy (dance)
NPAI Festival, Le Retail, France, 2007 Diego Chamy solo (dance)
Play, Tel Aviv, 2007 Axel Dörner (trumpet) & Diego Chamy (dance)
Labor Sonor, KuLe, Berlin, 2008 Axel Dörner (trumpet) & Diego Chamy (dance)
Die Remise, Berlin, 2008 Nikolaus Gerszewski (piano), Diego Chamy (dance) & Vered Nethe (stage)
Stralau 68, Berlin, 2007 Nikolaus Gerszewski (acoustic guitar) & Diego Chamy (dance)
Miscelänea, Barcelona, 2008 Robin Hayward (tuba) & Diego Chamy (dance)
Dock11, Berlin, 2008 Christof Kurzmann (laptop, clarinet) & Diego Chamy (dance)
Una.Casa, Buenos Aires, 2008 Bonus Features: Diego Chamy & Vered Nethe’s complete video works 2007 To Ludger Orlok The Cake Vered What Are You Doing Dory
The title of this DVD, The Intelligent Dancer, was chosen arbitrarily and has no relation whatsoever to its content.
•total _161 min.
michel doneda_sopranino & sopran saxophone
recorded the 26th and 27th of april 2010 in the Chapel of Las Planques, Tanus, France
by Pierre-Olivier Boulant
edited and mixed by Nils Ostendorf
mastered by Pierre-Olivier Boulant
ltd. & numbered edition
hand printed screen print gouache on cardboard
Cover_50x18cm (20x7in) foldetd to 7inch
The Intelligent Dancer
The videos on this DVD are not intended as a series to be watched in one sitting. Each is independent of the other. They are also not meant to function as performance documentations. I produced them with the idea of creating new events (videos) that function autonomously from the events (performances) during which they were filmed. I made these types of performances between the years 2006 and 2008, a period in which I devoted myself to dance. It is of importance to note that I had no education or experience whatsoever in dancing. Until 2006, my main activity was in music*. As I started to dance, I progressively stopped playing music. Reasons for the latter: I felt that the music I was playing was irrelevant for most of the people I was interested in; also, I didn’t want my main activity to be limited to sound – I found that very arbitrary.
These performances were received in many different ways by the audience. People would come to me after the shows with the most extravagant comments. If I could find a relatively common feeling among the viewers, the following review by Richard Pinnell has to be the best example. It is a review of the performance I made with my cousin, Tamara Ben-Artzi, at the NPAI Festival in the campagne française:
“I have to admit I was concerned before the performance by Diego Chamy and Tamara Ben-Artzi. The program seemed to list one of this pair of Argentinean cousins as performing ‘dance’ and the other ‘movements’. This kind of event would usually have me running for the nearest pub before it could begin, but as we had all been effectively just dropped into the middle of the countryside with nowhere to go until the bus reappeared later there was little to do but sit and watch . . .
“I really have no idea what the resulting performance was all about, but it kept me gripped throughout, although I must admit that this was often due to confused amusement as much as anything. Chamy spent much of the set reading aloud odd lines of poetry in French (I think . . . could have been Spanish) in a stuttered manner, often ‘jamming’ on the first syllable of the line and repeating it over and over. Whilst this was going on, Ben-Artzi danced quietly to herself in a cheesy ‘teenager in a disco’ manner whilst listening to something on an mp3 player around her neck. She would occasionally strike up odd postures around Chamy and hold them as he did similar things, and they would both occasionally run off stage and sit in the wings for a few moments. Later in the set Chamy stood on a chair and feigned a striptease in slow motion, standing for a while reading aloud as his fingers were slipped into the top of his underpants, before Ben-Artzi handed him a laptop computer and he held it high to the audience as an old film of Brigitte Bardot** singing played . . .
“The performance ended in a fitting manner when one of the lights fixed high above the performance area broke away from its cable with a bang and swung violently for a few moments before coming to a rest. This accidental but opportune moment brought an amusing end to a humorous set. I have absolutely no idea if there was anything to take from the performance beyond mild bemusement, but it was a fun thing to see.”
The things I do oscillate between two poles: the question, “What is happening?” (as one can sense from Richard Pinnell‘s review) and the sentence, “This is x”. These two utterances fascinate me deeply. “What is happening?” illustrates the moment in which recognition can’t be achieved, but our cognitive apparatus, as if by a reflexive act, fights against this feeling, trying to understand something or at least create a bit of meaning. On the other hand, the sentence “This is x” is the pure form of recognition. I often include it in my pieces in different ways – sometimes literally – usually accompanied by a feeling of dubious certainty (as in the Speak Aloud performance, which starts with a computer voice saying, “This is an artist” and then repeating, “Yes, this is an artist”, as if, for an unclear reason, this needed to be repeated.
The following is some information about the videos I made with Vered Nethe, included with this DVD as bonus features:
“To Ludger Orlok”
Around February 2007, I became interested in the concept of “broadcast yourself” and the way it was changing our way of conceiving and perceiving the video format. I started to film Vered and myself singing and dancing folk and pop songs in the kitchen of the container-prefabricated house we were living in. In those days, I had plans to make a short visit to Berlin, where I wanted to present my duo performance with the German trumpet player Axel Dörner. I contacted Ludger Orlok, the artistic director of Tanzfabrik, and proposed our work to him. Mr. Orlok asked for a video of this work, but at the time Axel and I didn't have any filmed material. Instead, I decided to send Mr. Orlok footage of Vered and me dancing in our kitchen, presented in a video addressed specifically to him, under the title “To Ludger Orlok”. The proposal was rejected.
“The Cake” and “Vered What Are You Doing”
Both "The Cake" and "Vered What Are You Doing" are parasitic to “To Ludger Orlok”. They were made without previous planning inside the container-prefabricated house that was our home while we were working on “To Ludger Orlok”. Both videos work around the ideas of repetition, stupidity, and love.
Dory is the name of a person with a hard-to-describe developmental problem. He is the neighbor of Vered’s parents in the Israeli town of Herzliya. We made footage of him performing one of his usual hobbies, which is to go to the rooftop of the building where he lives and reenact an Arab talk show that he regularly watches on Israeli TV. I made subtitles for this footage that portray a completely different situation: Dory is now an Arab interviewed by a journalist after an Israeli bombing of his hometown. This video was made for presentation at the 2:13 Festival in Athens. The videos presented had to be exactly two minutes and thirteen seconds long. The subject for the 2007 edition of the Festival was “No Spaghetti”. It's not clear whether this video matches the subject, but it was nevertheless selected and screened at both 2:13 Festivals in Athens and London, at a time when the second Lebanese war was still very recent.
- Diego Chamy, March 2011
* I was part of the so-called “European Free Improvised Music” scene. The musicians in these videos are also active within this scene, although not exclusively so.
** Richard confused France Gall with Brigitte Bardot.
I would like to share some of my thoughts with the viewers of this DVD by Diego Chamy, as I feel closely related to this set of works by him. First, I would like to contemplate the way these pieces have affected me, since I saw them when they were being made and later when they were being presented. With each piece, the difference between process and presentation seemed to be very large. As though by some miracle, I always had a totally new and even alien experience seeing them being performed – and (not minding how cheesy this might sound) I believe they were indeed open to miracles.
Miracles. Aliens. Let’s think . . . is Diego an alien? Maybe he is . . . and all of us as well. Maybe he is reaching out to the aliens that we are. Wait, am I going too far, too fast? Let’s go back to being human. A human that is open to miracles . . . miracles might also be some sort of aliens, since they come unexpectedly and make something unbelievable or unheard of, and unexplainable too. This is also the New. Can we think of something from a white page? (The “white page” is something Diego and I once talked about, around the beginning of this period, to describe the state of being that is situated before the wish to come up with an idea, when you don’t have any ideas left . . . and while trying to stay away from all that is “known”. This is not an easy task, because many “knowns” also have unbelievably interesting sides to them, and some other knowns – and maybe this is closer to what one may find in Diego’s work – are very useful in our quest for a desired need or question such as,“What is happening?”) Do we believe in the white page? Is this becoming too romantic?
Let's count the number of angles there are to these pieces:
This is my list, and I am very much aware that it has its limits. It is important to understand it not as an aid to help understand Diego’s way of working, but as a wish to contribute to the inspiring direction his works are going for.
Love. This is another thought that keeps repeating itself concerning these performances. Its relationship to Diego’s work is there, but it’s not so simple. Love is love is a tool, a means that helps those who can relate to his style of being – a style that primarily calls for trust in one’s own senses and Desire, that one can make wonderful things in the world - see that they are welcome; that there is no distance between the performer and audience; that, if you wish, there are only either confrontations or relations with him. Love is a real tool. This may be hard to completely understand or accept.
Diego. I just lost my confidence about how to keep this text interesting. This is quite sad. But you could arrange it as you wish, and it would be nice to add your name to it somehow . . .
- Vered Nethe, April 2011