CONVERSATIONS (AT THE END OF THE WORLD)
DEAD BRASS BAND
CONVERSATIONS (AT THE END OF THE WORLD) // a production of A Two Dogs Company (BE), Het Zuidelijk Toneel (NL) and a coproduction with Kaaitheater (BE), Rotterdamse Schouwburg (NL), Fondation d’entreprise Hermès within the framework of the New Settings program (FR)
What do you say, do or make when the end is nigh? In Conversations at the end of the world, a new piece by Kris Verdonck/A Two Dogs Company for large auditoria, five figures find themselves in an empty theatre space. They have only their bodies, their capabilities and the time that is left to them. Together these five figures, played by Johan Leysen, Jan Steen, Jeroen Van der Ven, José Kuijpers and the renowned pianist Marino Formenti, create a portrait of humankind in the twentieth century – a century in which man’s image has been significantly eroded and whose wounds we still carry with us today. Waiting for the catastrophe that is inevitably coming, or in the midst of it, they welcome the audience to ‘a last evening’. When faced with death, the characters react with boredom, panic, madness, lethargy, nonsense and absurdity. Their absurdity is fed by the crazy logic of the war, ecological disasters, and all kinds of crises. Despite being in shock, they try to understand what is going on outside, and it is this absurd reaction to a cruel reality that lies behind this new project.
‘If you really want to understand something, for example your hand, how it works, what it is made of, how it functions, then what you should do is build it, construct a machine that behaves entirely like your own hand.’ Professor Simon Schaffer (Clockwork Dreams, 2013)
The question of the extent to which objects can be animated has been a thread running through Verdonck’s oeuvre since DANCER #1 (2003), and in ‘Artificial Life’ (working title) Kris Verdonck continues this exploration of the performative nature of objects. New technological objects and scientific developments keep this question alive and topical. In six theatrical installations, ‘Artificial Life’ examines six different aspects of the limits of things that ‘live’ without human presence. These installations are intended to be able to thrive in a permanent exhibition setting, but at the same time retain their performative nature: so they have to encapsulate ‘life’.
© Science Museum London
In DEAD BRASS BAND, the robot orchestra seen in H, an incident becomes autonomous. The ghost-like instruments will play a digital-acoustic composition written especially for the robots, while performing a choreography to their own sounds in a one-hour concert. A selection of contemporary composers is currently being approached to create this new composition for the instruments (harmonica, snare drums, triangle, etc). ATDC will further develop these technologically innovative robots in collaboration with iMinds by Decap, Culture Crew and Ghent University.
© A Two Dogs Company
Together with C-Mine, ATDC wants to plant a vineyard against the south side of a slag heap in Genk (B). The planting, the wooden construction, the harvesting and the production of the wine is intended to be managed entirely by local businesses. The local Italian community would be responsible for the vinification. In this way, Cuvée Terril is meant to be a sustainable addition to the local economy, tourism and innovation. We hope to uncork the first bottle of Cuvée Terril in 2023!
© Wapke Feenstra