In her current work “fragments of desire”, Saskia Hölbling avoids linear narratives in order to give the audience a
clear view of the world. Instead, DANS.KIAS catapults us into the centre of a kaleidoscopic fanning out of human
gatherings, linguistic embeddings and situational absurdities.
In “fragments of desire”, Hölbling choreographically sketches a wide variety of situations that relate to global events
as well as those that concern us in our daily lives.
In this way, “fragments of desire” opens up paradoxical and touching perspectives on us humans with all our
idiosyncrasies. And shows how disorientated we can sometimes be when the signs around us change. That everything is
always changing, even though we long for stability and continuity.
“fragments of desire” refers to the fragility of the topographies and structures surrounding us, the power of words,
images and touch, but also their fleeting nature.
Artistic direction, direction: Saskia Hölbling; Dance, choreography: Saskia Hölbling, Ardan Hussain, Leonie Wahl; Video: Evi Jägle; Text:Saskia Hölbling, Leonie Wahl; Music, composition: Heinz Ditsch; Lights: Reto Schubiger, Sound technique: Miriam Jochmann; Video technique: Jakob Figo; Video documentation: Maximilian Pramatarov; Production, press: Simon Hajós
Atomic mushroom cloud full of confidence: Saskia Hölbling's “fragments of desire”Helmut Ploebst, der standard, 17 January 2024
The Viennese choreographer explores the balance between social desires and disappointments in the Off-Theatre.
That sounds somewhat reassuring: “The images are exuberant, but comprehensible.” But in the next breath, the sedation cracks: “The words have nothing more to say, but that will pass.” And so a joke about the popular euphemism is inevitable: “The mushroom cloud is rising, but full of confidence.”
So “fragments of desire”, the new work by Viennese choreographer Saskia Hölbling, is not harmless. It is now having its world premiere at the Off-Theatre - and delivers what a preview in December promised: it uses precise artistic instruments to measure the current balance between social desires and disappointments.
Because this measurement takes place in a present whose complexity no longer needs to be pointed out by art, the dancers Hölbling, Leonie Wahl and Ardan Hussain create a simplistically fragmentary structure in the piece. Between dance and music, texts and digital video animations, outlines of an emotional and rational overload emerge. Not as a swan song, but as an attempt to cope and endeavour to avert tipping over into the abyss of disappointment after all.
“fragments of desire” demonstrates a fundamental disturbance, but the trio concentrate on preventing this from turning into panic. With success. The piece neither falls apart nor does it drift into cynicism. Hölbling proves that it is not necessary to flee from dance in order to present controversial content in a performative way. And she succeeds in pointing out that it is not exclusively language that shapes our reality, but that social behaviour and action shape language.
DANS.KIAS: „fragments of desire“Rando Hannemann, tanz.at, 21 January 2024
“As if the world were a bed of roses!” The deep connection between form and content cannot always be experienced as consistently as here. Dance, theatre, text, language, visual art, music and sound, installation. And images, news, information, situations. And thoughts, emotions, states, sensory impressions. Saskia Hölbling and her company DANS.KIAS mix these tools, the outside and the inside, to create “fragments of desire”, which premiered at the OFF-Theatre in Vienna.
It is a jumble of short sequences which, with this very arrangement, their respective performative character and the aspects they address, come crashing down on us like real life. In her high-speed video animations, Evi Jägle shows series of images and films that hammer war and destruction into the auditorium, people confronting it on their own, resistance and demonstrations from all regions of the world and the destructive existence of urbanised people. Through dance and performance, people suffer, doubt, despair, search, defy, fight, hold on and love.
“The mushroom cloud rises, but full of confidence.” They put the cynicism of interest-driven argumentation, whether political, social or individual, into poetic words. The texts by Saskia Hölbling and Leonie Wahl expose populist oversimplifications on the one hand, while exposing the hidden intentions of the arguments behind even the most inhumane and destructive acts on the other. Hölbling's poetry leads to paradoxes whose denial of reality and dissociative attitude are the image of an oppressive, individual intrapsychic reality. And this creates discomfort.
The fullness, diversity and complexity of the world in which we live and, in particular, the omnipresent destructiveness of humans, both in the media and in reality, directed against fellow human beings and the planet, are increasingly overwhelming. It is humans themselves, the perception of whom as primitive destructive beings is discouraging. What follows is a life that balances on the precipice of despairIt is no longer possible to process the impressions and information we consciously and unconsciously absorb in a qualified manner; positioning ourselves in our world seems illusory. The challenges lead to excessive demands. The three performers' efforts to find a strategy for dealing with them come to nothing. The emotional confusion leaves disturbance and inner chaos as a reflection of the outside world. Dance as an expression of the unknowable, sex as a narcotic, desperate cries as an outlet.
In their many solos and duets, the three unique dancers Saskia Hölbling, Leonie Wahl and Ardan Hussain (all in their mid-40s) show that artistic and life experience can bring radiance to dance. Each has their own moments that get under your skin. Saskia Hölbling, for example, touches the audience with a solo she performed in the first show in December. She feels inside herself to recognise what is happening and what is happening to her.
Ardan Hussain, who dances the most dynamic solos, and Leonie Wahl also seek orientation. In theatrical scenes, Wahl only successfully squeezes whole words out of herself on the second attempt. Unsorted like her inner life. In this work, historiography is put the right way up. The facts of the world and the contradictory nature of values generate emotions and sensitivities that become deeply engraved in the psyches of those involved and affected and are passed down through generations far into the future. Uncertainty and fear have an impact on society from below. The popularity of populist simplifiers in politics and society around the world is rooted in this. And, incidentally, Marx's old thesis “Being determines consciousness” and the new one about the power of language to shape consciousness are also scrutinised here. This takes the piece beyond stocktaking.
The emotional states, desires and needs, the impulses and urges, the emotional and rational strategies change abruptly. They also perform desperate attempts to escape insecurity by violently maintaining the status quo. Above all, however, there is a tremendous fragility. The temporary becomes the unifying aspect. Frequent, violent breaks chase the audience through "fragments of desire" without fragmenting the piece itself. At its end, the faded writings of the scholars, the stories of people's lives, their dreams, hopes, wishes and possible futures, their pain and their fears lie before us as a pile of rubble. The long sheet of paper, previously written on in colour and with dance, ends up on stage as a crumpled bundle. Unfortunately, the final image is far too short. No time for contemplation and reflection, which would have been desirable after such a dense, complex work.
A DANS.KIAS production. In co-production with the OFF.THEATER and with support of the Cultural Department of the City of Vienna
With "inhabit the impossible", DANS.KIAS has taken the risk of placing the unimaginable, the impossible, at the centre of
a transdisciplinary project.
Since spring 2021, the choreographer and dancer Saskia Hölbling and the philosopher Arno Böhler have been meeting regularly and have invited people from very different backgrounds to open up spaces of thought and prepare the ground for "inhabit the impossible".Together with the dancers Ardan Hussain and Leonie Wahl, the media artist Evi Jägle, the quantum physicist Tanja Traxler, as well as the video artist Kay Walkowiak and the musician and composer Heinz Ditsch new artistic strategies were developed and the possibilities of the impossible explored.
Mythology and science fiction join hands, phenomena beyond our imagination open up new possibilities and between
intuition, flashes of thought and fleeting formulas of life, new possibilities emerge. It's an invitation to experience
this habitat of the impossible together.
World premiere: 17 January 2023, WUK, Wien/AT, duration: approx. 120 min.
FIELD-PERFORMANCE INHABIT THE IMPOSSIBLE
Artistc direction: Saskia Hölbling; Scientific direction, philosophy: Arno Böhler; Choreography, dance, performance: Saskia Hölbling, Ardan Hussain, Leonie Wahl; Lecture-performance: Arno Böhler, Susanne Valerie Granzer; Media art: Evi Jägle; Video art: Kay Walkowiak; Quantum-physics-performance: Tanja Traxler; Music, sound design: Heinz Ditsch; Lights design: Reto Schubiger; Costume: Evi Jägle & DANS.KIAS; Stage: Marco Tölzer; Production & public relations: Simon Hajós; Video-documentation: Maximilian Pramatarov
Black Hole: Jyoti Dogra
PUBLIC WORKSHOP INHABIT THE IMPOSSIBLE
Team: Michael Boch, Elke Pichler, Mira Magdalena Sickinger
Light-installation: Elisabeth Wildling
Artistic-research: Janhavi Dhamankar
And Adonis fartsVerena Franke, Wiener Zeitung, 18 January 2023
(...) Saskia Hölbling challenges her audience. The Viennese choreographer has always felt that simply sitting in her performance and letting what she sees take effect is not enough. In her current work, “inhabit the impossible”, which premiered at the WUK on Tuesday, she goes one step further than usual, requiring the audience to listen and think right to the end. (...) (...) Together with the performers Ardan Hussain and Leonie Wahl, the media artist Evi Jägle, the quantum physicist Tanja Traxler, the video artist Kay Walkowiak and the musician and composer Heinz Ditsch, an opulent, transdisciplinary work has been created that challenges all the senses: there are scenes based on Hölbling's movement repertoire in all possible formations distributed throughout the room with expressive props, interspersed with video projections on three screens and countless text fragments. Explanations by Böhler and Jägle clarify the performative and philosophical concept of space and time. Past meets future, the god Chronos meets environmental pollution. And Adonis farts. Worth seeing! (...)
Das Mögliche im UnmöglichenPaul Delavos, tanznetz, 20 January 2023
(...) With her current production, a “cross-disciplinary field performance”, the choreographer Saskia Hölbling challenges the audience. On show is a mixture of dance, video, sound, and philosophical and quantum-physics lectures. (...) (...) The dance moments are characterised by great physicality and the transfer of impulses. Much of it seems very delicate, almost vulnerable; one sees no grand gestures or scenes. The composer Heinz Ditsch provides the appropriate soundscape. (...)
Saskia Hölbling and Jyoti Dogra at WUK WienRando Hannemann, tanz.at, 27 January 2023
What is the impossible and how does it relate to the possible, to reality? What meaning, what value can be attached to it? And how might a performative exploration of these questions be shaped? In their work “inhabit the impossible”, premiered here, Vienna's Saskia Hölbling, her company DANS.KIAS and the philosopher Arno Böhler shatter the boundaries of art, philosophy, physics, mythology and science fiction and combine them into a dense, demanding cross-disciplinary field performance. The Indian performance artist Jyoti Dogra crowns the three-part event with her subsequent performance “Black Hole”.
Extending over more than a year, the exchange between the artistic director, choreographer and dancer Saskia Hölbling, the scientific director Arno Böhler, the dancers Ardan Hussain and Leonie Wahl, the media artist Evi Jägle, the quantum physicist Tanja Traxler, the video artist Kay Walkowiak and the musician and composer Heinz Ditsch, with the aim of exploring “the possibilities of the impossible”, resulted in a multidisciplinary work in which all participants, starting from their artistic or research realms, meet on a common stage setting.
Seven days earlier, this premiere was preceded by an almost three-hour open workshop with philosophy PhD students Michael Boch, Elke Pichler and Mira Magdalena Sickinger from the Vienna PhD School at the University of Vienna. Philosophical, literary and poetic texts, the foundations of Indian yoga, discursive-performative participation by the audience - the results were surprising - and a dance piece by the Indian dancer and philosopher Janhavi Dhamankar in a light and space installation by Elisabeth Wildling, which juxtaposed Western thinking in polarities with the Eastern alternative of both/and, intertwined spiritual science and art, intellect, physical and sensual experience. Offered to the audience without any preconditions, the workshop proved to be a valuable and meaningful format in its own right, but in its theoretical parts it was intended for the philosophically trained and engaged. As a counterpoint to the joy of thinking, the dance performance was a clever physical reflection that overcame polarity.
The performance “inhabit the impossible” is played on the large round stage (by Marco Tölzer), in three sections surrounded by the audience and connected by three screens, and with a circular clay surface and a shallow watered oval, drawing the audience into the action on this (stage) earth and into shared responsibility for them, as a field of experimentation that is both specific to and permeates the genre. And how does one dance the impossible which partly becomes the possible, becomes reality, and thus generates new possibilities again? The fluctuation of particles in a vacuum (from the energy latent in it, particles of matter are created for the shortest periods of time, which immediately disintegrate again) becomes a fluctuation of thought fragments, which, expressed in movement, reflects this physical principle in its immediacy and incoherence. Likewise the dance. Alone, in pairs, in threes, they form sculptures that, pausing briefly in the flow of movement, describe the emergence and decay of materiality in physical energy fields.
The entanglement of particles that remain communicatively connected to each other over unlimited distances in the universe and without time difference (the question of whether the speed of light is actually the maximum possible is thus urgently raised) becomes the entanglement of bodies that penetrate each other without touching. In their grey men, they seem to re-enact on the table the process of entanglement observed by the physicist, the search for a possibility of bonding.
Video animations and photographic works by Kay Walkowiak, which accompanied the performance on the three screens, showed worlds of animated planetary models, mystical places of nature, fragments of human civilisation or virtual realities sprung from the imagination. The photos, centrally mirrored images of unreal realities, seemed like pairs of entangled particles that want to follow their henceforth separate paths with opposing spin.
Whether with pulsating dark droning or shrieking winds, squeaking strings in dissonant staccato or bright cymbals, the range of Heinz Ditsch's sounds, between electronic sound and acoustic music, stands for the range of the piece's themes and accompanies the performers as does Reto Schubiger's lighting design - apart from partial brightenings largely covered. Arno Böhler takes a humorous approach. His “vortex column”, created from one of the cardboard tubes and a multifunctional metal spiral placed over it, stands for his effort to soften the gravity and seriousness of the subject matter with a playful approach. Included in this image is the allusion to the abundance of metaphors in the work. In addition to constant attention, what they otherwise convey (Saskia Hölbling also shows herself to be a remarkable poet) requires a basic knowledge of philosophy and physics. Equipped with this, the immense range of density and thought, the poetry of the linguistic and physical images and the dramaturgical wit find their destination in brains and hearts. Reflections on the nature of time, duplicity and chronic repetition, on art as a place for the impossible, on beauty, the devil and death, on the incomplete, imperfect nature of every image of reality, on the up and down of Meister Eckhart, about Nitzsche's Zarathustra and Spinosa's immanence without transcendence and his thus philosophically anticipated physics, about that and the folding of space, about Schrödinger's cat in its superposition of life and death and its quantum-physics reality . . .
And they do not hold back from criticism. Clothed in plastic in the oval sea, humankind at the end of all food chains, as the self-important crown of creation and ruler of nature and yet only its destroyer. An image also of sawing at the branch, of rejecting the nurturing hand. They exhibit short-sighted stupidity, ruthlessness against the environment and oneself. Driven by greed. Like a ruler enthroned on high, the man stands on a ladder, with a nylon stocking-covered, impulse-clouded gaze, directing two women on long cardboard tubes. Who at the same time are supporting him. Mythologies (at least the occidental ones) and the powerful figures in them are primarily male-dominated. The impossibility of patriarchy has become inscribed in narratives and history.
What humankind has created? What it has lifted out of the abundance of possibilities into reality? Capitalism, a throwaway society, waste of resources, exploitation of one's own kind and of the planet. The way out? “The wolf bows to the sheep.” And, “Chronos wearies . . . ” Fluctuation of thoughts, gestures, physical states, spatial relations, possibilities and realities. Viewed on a larger scale, through the spatio-temporal telescope, lives also fluctuate into an eternal possible reality, repeat their own being in variations, eras fluctuate and thus reproduce on a larger scale that chronic-chronological recurrence, make the impossible possible, depending on how one adjusts the time zoom. And perhaps also vice versa.
Following the last three of the five performances of “inhabit the impossible”, the Indian performance artist Jyoti Dogra, who at the invitation of Arno Böhler and Susanne Valerie Granzer travelled from her home town of Mumbai for the presentation, showed her work “Black Hole”. In the 90 minutes, she develops a play about dying (of a woman suffering from cancer). With impressive authenticity and dynamism, she plays with worlds of thought and feeling (several times she cries real tears), she finds surprising parallels in the singularities in black holes and in us, in an interweaving of physical knowledge and deep psycho-spiritual knowledge, which in immensely clever poetry and deeply touching play she condenses into a work of rarely experienced intensity. Captivating from the first to the last moment.
Philosophical thoughts and insights and discoveries from the recent history of physics - especially, but not exclusively, from quantum physics - examined for their metaphorical meaning and artistically translated into images, condensed into highly complex, occasionally playfully treated, challenging and enriching works not only for the world of art. “inhabit the impossible” and “Black Hole” set standards. In terms of a much-needed holistic approach to the world and to humanity and its spiritual dimension that breaks down disciplinary boundaries. And when it dies, not all of it turns to earth. A few helium atoms escape into the atmosphere, penetrate it and make their way to the nearest black hole. Right? And if they travel at 6000 km/s, they will arrive there, in the singularity of the black hole, in a little more than 1.2 million years. So it is not impossible to reach this (and our) singularity. What do we need to do it? As always in life: humility, hope and confidence. And a little patience.
A DANS.KIAS production, co-produced by WUK performing arts and supported by the Cultural Department of the City of Vienna and Federal Ministry for Art, Culture, Public Service and Sport
In her new piece "through touches" Saskia Hölbling deals with the power of touch. The touches take place subversively at
the beginning, then gradually escalating – without any purpose, without reservations, unintentionally, but urging for
Three people meet on an empty white surface. Like blank page, nothing stands in their way. In the absence of things or
other distractions, they begin to show themselves, to engage with each other and to become involved with each other.
Dance of the Touch
In a fragile dance of touch, they create an intimate space for themselves that makes their bodies permeable and enables them to make the other's impulses their own and vice versa. To read one another.
Being in the Other
Cautiously to hastily, they try one another out, body to body, body to body – tender and demanding, awkward and devotedly, feet on stomach, face in armpit, arm around knee. The bodies immerse themselves in one another as if the skin holds the secret of access to the other. As if this would open the door to an unprecedented form of encounter.
“Touching or meeting people can neither be clicked on nor wiped away, they are individually completely different and therefore very special. “But it takes time to get involved with the other, to pause and listen. In the rehearsals we gave ourselves this time and it was incredibly nice to see how unorthodox, bizarre and absurd some reactions to the other turn out, but there was never a moment too much, or too strange, or too embarrassing, and this is originally connected with 'getting involved with the other'. What an omnipresent utopia in global times,” says Hölbling about the approach to her current work.
World premiere: 08 August 2021, WUK, Wien/AT, duration: approx. 60 min.
Direction, choreography: Saskia Hölbling; Dance, performance: Ardan Hussain, Saskia Hölbling, Leonie Wahl; Music: Heinz Ditsch; Light: Reto Schubiger; Video-documentation: Peter A. Egger; Production, management: Simon Hajós
“through touches”: Saskia Hölbling touches at ImPulsTanzSonja Harter, Salzburger Nachrichen, 09. August 2021
(...) It is about gestures, bodies and space. At first it is a hesitant stroke across the cheek, chin or shoulder, but the touches become more and more intense ― until the different parts of the body support each other in the contortions of the dance. In her choreography Hölbling is able to tell a story of keeping one's distance ― and overcoming it. This happens slowly: sometimes it is a nudge in the armpit of the other person, then again a fleeting kiss on the stomach. The bodies (of the company), who knew each other so well, have to find new ways to approach one another. (...)
Dance against algorithmic isolationHelmut Ploebst, Falter, 09. August 2021
Saskia Hölbling uses the magic of touch to free herself and her dancers from isolation. In “through touches”, the diversity of our tactile communication is revealed. The reference to digital prostheses also applies here: “You can neither click nor wipe away touches with people,” says the choreographer. Acknowledging this would probably be an important step on the way to emancipation from the rule of algorithms.
A DANS.KIAS production
Co-produced by WUK performing arts.
Supported by the cultural department of the City of Vienna, the Federal Chancellery of the Republic of Austria for Arts and Culture, the cultural an science comission at Alsergrund.
The 25th anniversary of DANS.KIAS fell in the middle of the first lockdown
Precisely on Friday 13 March 2020 - already in the final rehearsals - we had to abandon everything.
No anniversary piece 1 - 4 April 2020 at the WUK in Vienna “through touches” - ! no way !
Nevertheless, the work never stopped: - a two-hour documentary about the work with DANS.KIAS since 1995 is being produced. - and two articles are published that honour the anniversary despite lock downs, one in the GIFT and one in the “Presse” newspaper. The filming of “through touches”, which was planned for the beginning of June, with all the protective measures (at that time still very expensive PCR tests and quarantine) unfortunately failed in the end.
Two dancers changed their lives and were no longer part of the ensemble. I return to the stage and the quartet becomes a trio.
After a summer with light at the end of the tunnel, darkness again: 2021 begins with another lockdown ‒ and again no
performances with an audience.
11-14 February 2021 at the WUK dancing and filming, despite everything.
- Curators, organisers and other illustrious guests are invited - Ö1 and the APA are also guests We were always allowed to work there and an internal audience with tests, masks and keeping an incredible distance was also allowed to come. It felt really subversive, but was clearly not very sociable.
And then finally 8 and 10 August premiere in front of an audience as part of ImPulsTanz at the WUK.
Choreographer Hölbling uses lockdown for new projectsLukas Wodicka, Salzburger Nachrichten, 15 February 2021
The premiere of the contemporary dance piece “through touches” should have taken place in April last year to coincide with the 25th anniversary of Compagnie Dans.Kias. Now, instead of the piece, the coronavirus has cast a spotlight on the “primal human desire to come together”, choreographer Saskia Hölbling explains in an interview with APA. However, the founder of Dans.Kias has been able to use the involuntary postponement to develop new projects.
Three people meet in an otherwise empty space. Soon they have little choice but to approach, touch and explore each other, sometimes more cautiously and sometimes more vigorously. It doesn't seem to matter whether foot meets stomach, hand meets hand or face meets sole: the main thing is body to body. “through touches” thus addresses the “sensitive but strangely irrepressible power of touch”, as the announcement of the piece puts it - an exciting topic in times of a pandemic. But the idea already existed before the virus largely brought the cultural sector to a standstill. “It arose from the observation that in the world we live in, there is hardly any room left to engage with others, to touch them,” explained Hölbling, who is responsible for directing and choreographing the work and also has a dancing role in it.
Then came Corona and focused on the lack of coming together. “That's quite cynical that this issue is now at the centre of attention,” said the 49-year-old. However, the Viennese, is pleased that the current need for social distancing means that “people are realising again that the culture of coming together has been totally lost. Everything that makes people special has been cut off.” Of course, it would be nicer if a virus didn't first have to ensure that this focus is created, says Hölbling……..if it didn't need a virus to ensure if it hadn't been a virus to ensure
The Dans.Kias founder has already created over 40 works. However, she has never had to wait this long for a performance. “You can't keep up the tension for almost a year without running out of steam,” said Hölbling. She deliberately put the work away. Bringing it to a premiere prematurely via (live) stream was not an option for the choreographer: “If I simply film and stream "through touches", it misses the point.” Everything is faster online and the image consumption is different. “I'm putting on a performance so that people can come and get involved in a setting. They can zap through the world during the day anyway,” Hölbling explained her decision.
She focused on new things instead of tinkering with alternative performance possibilities. In addition to an ensemble piece that still revolves around the theme of “through touches”, a project called “Inhabit the impossible” is also planned. A total of 14 thinkers from various fields such as architecture, performance and film will explore future spaces over a longer period of time. Philosopher Arno Böhler is also contributing his perspective on the topic. “You shouldn't think of it as everyone sitting in their own little room and thinking about something. We also have repeated points of overlap,” explained Hölbling. Ultimately, the aim is to create a set of arrangements that bring together different, but also mixed perspectives.
Until then, the artist soon hopes to be able to perform “through touches” in front of an audience. “A piece always continues to develop on stage. We are already very starved from not having an interaction with the audience,” regretted Hölbling. And although the Dans.Kias founder is feeling the effects of the coronavirus “on all her nerves”, she is optimistic that touching people will not feel strange once she has survived abstinence: “This is an exceptional situation. It will disappear again.”
A DANS.KIAS production
Co-produced by WUK performing arts.
Supported by the cultural department of the City of Vienna, the Federal Chancellery of the Republic of Austria for Arts and Culture, the cultural and science comission at Alsergrund.
The world has gone off the rails. A group of people are stranded somewhere between the oceans. In her new piece "da-nach"
[Afterwards], the choreographer Saskia Hölbling has her ensemble DANS.KIAS dance at the border between dystopia and
A group of people find themselves somewhere on one of the world's oceans between flotsam and remnants of a bygone era.
It is unclear what has happened. It would also be irrelevant for the course of events. Now they are there, surrounded by
all sorts of things. Do they remember what they were doing before? Rather not. Or do they? From somewhere, suspicions
In her current work, Saskia Hölbling draws a world on the border between dystopia and utopia. In "da-nach", Hölbling catapults her ensemble out of a world of abundance and permanent networking. Having arrived at this undefined place, it is now in their hands to reinvent themselves. Or not.
world Premiere: 1 March 2019, Atelierhaus der Akademie der bildenden Künste Wien, Vienna/AT, duration: approx. 60 min.
Choreography, staging: Saskia Hölbling; Dance, choreography: Anna Hein, Ardan Hussain, Jan Jakubal, Oskar Mitterer, Leonie Wahl; Music, composition: Wolfgang Mitterer; Assistence music: Moritz Cizek; Costume, stage:Gudrun Lenk-Wane; Lights: Reto Schubiger; Video-documentation: Peter A. Egger; Management: Simon Hajós
A Piece of Hope in the ApocalypseMichaela Preiner, European Cultural News, 2 March 2019
First of all: “da-nach” is a small but stunning production . . . and you shouldn't miss it, because an Austrian dance production like this, which is so harmonious, clever and coherent, provided with great choreography and brilliant sound, first has to be searched for first. . . . It is thanks to the creativity of Gudrun Lenk-Wane that the arte-povera props do not indicate a cheap production, but are used appropriately and repeatedly to cause amazement. . . . The great thing about this production is that it is a total work of art. And it's not one that flaunts this term on marketing banners. Stage, choreography and music, but also the dramaturgy of the story itself are convincing without any compromises. It is highly topical, but at the same time also of archaic force. In “da-nach”, compulsive humanity is soberly confronted with a second, completely different side, which usually doesn't occur at all in the current discourses on dystopia: namely, that of empathy, of joint action and willingness to help – which ultimately also contributes to the survival of the human species in this special context. It may well also be this redeeming prospect of an everywhere predicted bleak future that makes this piece of contemporary dance so extremely impressive. Chapeau, chapeau and: thanks for that! (Michaela Preiner, European Cultural News)
Life in the FlotsamOliver Lang, Kronenzeitung, 3 March 2019
Somewhere in nowhere, forgotten and alone, lost – and yet not lost: these are the figures in Saskia Hölbling's one-hour dance piece “da-nach”. . . . Wolfgang Mitterer, one of the most interesting Austrian composers, has written the musical backdrop that seems so dangerous, oppressive, exciting, but also always somehow familiar. . . . Hölbling develops a set of figures who gropingly explore the new environment. . . . What succeeds in barely an hour is a skilfully made study of the human: together the excellent dancers create a dark but not hopeless atmosphere of forlornness. And create a unity in Hölbling's design that captivates!
A DANS.KIAS production. Supported by the cultural department of the City of Vienna, the Federal Chancellery of the Republic of Austria for Arts and Culture and ImPulsTanz - Vienna International Dance Festival. In co-operation with the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna.
In her choreography, Saskia Hölbling focuses on all the objects that often otherwise go unnoticed. In her current work
she literally lets things dance out of line.
Hölbling takes the constantly increasing accumulation of objects as an opportunity to create a dispositif in which she
embraces all this luxuriance and abundance.
The dancers Anna Hein, Leonie Wahl, Ardan Hussain and Jan Jakubal invite the objects to dance. In motion, the objects find their own life, are mounted on the bodies, draped around them, they become landscapes or locations, sculptures or outfits. An inspiring interplay that constantly gives rise to new situations. The things take shape, are reinvented. The boundaries between human and object dissolve. It comes to touching encounters, fantastic sculptures are formed, new worlds arise, an unceasing process of emergence and decay that in all its multitudes keeps us under its spell.
world Premiere: 1 March 2018, Atelierhaus der Akademie der bildenden Künste Wien, Vienna/AT, duration: approx. 80 min
Choreography, staging: Saskia Hölbling; Dance, choreography: Ardan Hussain, Jan Jakubal, Leonie Wahl, Anna Hein; Music, composition: Wolfgang Mitterer; Assistence music: Moritz Cizek; Costume, stage: Gudrun Lenk-Wane; Lights: Reto Schubiger; Video-documentation: Peter A. Egger; Management: Simon Hajós
The Private Life of ThingKarl Heinz Roschitz, Kronenzeitung, 07.03.2018
It is ordinary everyday objects that this time become the main actors in the performance: “things”, the choreographer Saskia Hölbling's new evening show in the Semperdepot, focuses on everything inconspicuous, from parasols to tyres. An eighty-minute spectacle with celebrated attentiveness. The buzzing fan blows over a devastated garbage landscape. What's all that lying around there! But everything can become an actor, even take a lead role. Even more: every thing has what it takes to become a fetish, an object of struggle and an icon. In the course of the evening little is actually used in the way described in the operating instructions. But everything is allowed to participate in a flow of transformations. What emerges are strange images: it is less about the individual meaning than about the overall effect.
And the dancers? They too sometimes seem like the things that they are pushing, working on and looking after: they are not so much actors with their own personalities as interchangeable players who occasionally even become objects that are presented and dressed. The Austrian composer Wolfgang Mitterer has underpinned all this with fragmentary music. Quotations from well-known works by Stravinsky to Tchaikovsky fly around one's ears and then decay into small particles again. Finally: hearty applause!
Triumph of the Birds of Paradise in their Parallel WorldHelmut Ploebst, Der Standard, 02 march 2018
Messies are very inspiring people. In their flats, houses or gardens they collect things that seem like worthless junk to other people. A precarious passion that can turn into real suffering. With her new work “things” in the Semperdepot of the Academy of Fine Arts, the Viennese choreographer Saskia Hölbling is currently showing that it doesn't have to be like that. The stuff piled up on a dance floor forms an artistically arranged chaos. Hölbling and her four dancers, Ardan Hussain, Leonie Wahl, Jan Jakubal and Anna Hein, make no secret of the fact that they dominate this landscape of plastic tarpaulins, tubes, helmets, containers, suitcases, sacks etc.. Real messies, on the other hand, allow themselves to be overwhelmed by their hellish proliferations of chaos and order. That is what makes them tragic heroes. Memories of “Citizen Kane” Citizen Kane, as it turns out in Orson Welles' 1941 film, became the messie in search of the symbol of his lost childhood happiness – a Rosebud-make sledge. A similar wooden sledge can also be found among Hölbling's things. That may be an allusion to “Citizen Kane”. Especially since the beautiful opening scene of the work is bathed in a light that transforms the stage into an almost perfect black-and-white image and with Wolfgang Mitterer's composition, which begins with this image, is reminiscent of film music. But what happens then, leads far away from this seductive association, which perhaps is only due to vortex formation in the viewer's memory-banks. It leads, for example, to Ann Liv Young's eerie black-and-white in her “Elektra” at the 2014 Steirischer Herbst. And further to Alain Platel's “Tauberbach” at the ImPulsTanz festival in the same year: there the dancers also moved in a heap of waste materials. Excessive accumulations of things as in Isabelle Schad's “California Roll” (Tanzquartier 2005) have been a recurring motif in the choreography of the past two decades. Human vs the Maelstrom of Things Vera Mantero's work “Poetry and Savagery”, which was also shown to the Viennese by Dietheater Künstlerhaus in 1999, was a very lovely experience . Because there, too, the dancers – as now in Hölbling's “things” – began to drape the stuff surrounding them over their bodies and in the fantastic costumes thus created began to strut around like birds of paradise from a parallel world. Here as there, poetry enables the triumph of humans over the maelstrom of things buzzing around them. The poetic play can prevent them from being drawn by this vortex into the hades of depression.
A DANS.KIAS production, supported by the cultural department of the City of Vienna and the Federal Chancellery of the Republic of Austria for Arts and Culture.
In "Corps suspendus" Saskia Hölbling stretches, exposes, combines, gathers, hinders or networks four dancers through a
mesh of ropes.
Looking into the world is urgent; it leaves behind an unquiet, almost worrying impression: the many people who are on
the move there, the many people in the quicksand between success and superfluousness, the many Trumps, the non-faces,
the many ideologically raw, the many egos between consumer oases and rubbish dumps.
These many people are always others. Far enough away in order to speak of the other but close enough to feel “threatened”. With Corpus suspendus Hölbling produces a little world machine in which the bodies mutually surrender themselves. A “new” body emerges that develops in relationship to and dependence on one another.
world premiere: 3 March 2017, Atelierhaus der Akademie der bildenden Künste Wien, Wien/AT, duration: approx. 60 min.
Choreography, staging: Saskia Hölbling; Dance, choreography: Ardan Hussain, Jan Jakubal, Leonie Wahl, Anna Hein; Music, composition: Wolfgang Mitterer; Assistence music: Moritz Cizek; Costume, stage: Gudrun Lenk-Wane; Lights: Gerald Pappenberger; Video-documentation: Peter A. Egger; Management: Simon Hajós
The Solution-Oriented Network MachineHelmut Ploebst, Der Standard, 07 march 2017
Impressive premières by Saskia Hölbling in the Semper Depot It's a trap. Two men and two women become entangled in a a big net made of black threads, which a hidden arachnid has stretched across a wide, uncanny space. The Viennese choreographer Saskia Hölbling had this installation set up by Gudrun Lenk-Wane for her new work, Corpus suspendus, in one of the halls of the former Semper Depot. The première was organised by ImPulsTanz, the background web of sounds comes from Wolfgang Mitterer. The hidden female spider is the key to this work, which alludes to the atrophy of the great networking enthusiasm of the last two and a half decades: as Hölbling writes on this work, it alludes to the “many egos between consumer oases and rubbish dumps” and to “the many in the quicksand between success and superfluity”. So it is to be assumed that the absent arachnid here stands for the what is secretly pulling the strings in our globalised network business and profiting from it. In the form of the four “corps suspendus”, the superfluous ones float in the nets of the profiteers. The French word suspendre means to hang up or to hang, but also to interrupt, postpone or freeze. The figures in Hölbling's web are clearly just attached, without yet being aware that they have been dumped. They hang in their dangerous habitat, sometimes forcing themselves together, but quickly losing one another again, landing on the floor without really noticing it. They cannot leave the net, because it is a fetish that numbs its inhabitants. Hölbling calls it “a little world machine”. Those suspended in it wear the black of this machine, which never allows them to gain their balance, that permits neither stopping nor calm and which suggests there is no outside.
In the world machineKarl-Heinz Roschitz, Kronen Zeitung, 05 march 2017
With amazing ease and elegance, the four performers twist and tumble, crawl, clamber and lift themselves through the network. And literary references can be recognised in the process – involuntarily one recalls the Norns in Wagner's Götterdämmerung, who pull on the threads of fate and spin networks. However, Hölbling does not conjure up the Wagnerian catastrophe, the tearing of the rope that heralds the end of the world. (…)
Wolfgang Mitterer, the prominent organist, electronic musician and composer, wrote the backing music: a rollercoaster of refined sounds, colours, instrumental tones and noises, an artistically designed, in itself reference-rich sound network for Hölbling's staging and choreography. Much applause.
A DANS.KIAS production. Supported by the cultural department of the City of Vienna and the Federal Chancellery of the Republic of Austria for Arts and Culture. In co-operation with ImPulsTanz - Vienna International Dance Festival and the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna.
Saskia Hölbling interweaves the ideas of the French philosopher Jean-Luc Nancy into “corps à corps” and with her
contemporary dance performance deals with red-hot issues of world events in an abstract and intensive form.
"Our billions of images show billions of bodies – as bodies have never been shown before. Crowds, piles, melees, bundles, columns, troops, swarms, armies, bands, stampedes, panics, tiers, processions, collisions, massacres, mass graves, communions, dispersions, a sur-plus always an overflowing of bodies, all at one and the same time, compacted in masses and pulverizing dispersals, ... abandoned to the structuring agitation of their endless, generalized, departure ...“ Jean-Luc Nancy
world premiere: 25 February 2016 // Odeon / Vienna/Austria / duration: approx. 80 min.
Choreography, staging: Saskia Hölbling; Dance, choreography: Adriana Cubides, Ardan Hussain, Jan Jakubal, Leonie Wahl; Dramaturgy: Florian Tröbinger; Music, composition: Wolfgang Mitterer; Assistance music: Moritz Cizek Puppets, scenography and costume: Gudrun Lenk-Wane; Lights: Gerald Pappenberger; Video-documentation: Peter A. Egger; Management: Simon Hajós
Life as a sculptureKarlheinz Roschitz, Kronen Zeitung, 28 february 2016
Kronen Zeitung, 28 february 2016 With circling movements four dancers conquer the stage. The scenes condense. Human bodies and emaciated marionettes tangle with one another, become knotted, human rubbish heaps, a vibrating sculpture: In the Odeon, Saskia Hölbling is showing her new work "corps à corps". Soon the four – Adriana Cubides, Adrian Hussain, Jan Jakubal and Leonie Wahl – and their headless puppets hang as if dead in the walk-in steel structures, soon they climb on and between the steel tubes, tussle or knot themselves into a heap. Like the undead they emerge to us from the darkness, manipulating their doubles. And Wolfgang Mitterer's exciting compositional work, full of refined structures, sound colours and noises, condenses the images. Sometimes as if in a horror film. A scenery of haunting figures in a world inhaling death. Breathing mountains of the dead! Full of dark moments with the foreboding of horror. But one can also only regard this dance in the light of Saskia Hölbling's choreographic concept: as plays of movement that see their tensions from condensation and dissolving, from the counterpoles of human and non-human and the mutual influence. Exciting!
Dead puppets always keep coolHelmut Ploebst, Der Standard, 28 february 2016
Hölbling has drawn on two of her earlier works, "assemblage humain", a solo with a puppet, which was shown at ImPulsTanz last year, and "body in a metal structure", created with the French artist Laurent Goldring in 2012. In "corps à corps" one white puppet has turned into four and the metal structure has become two scaffolds. On the stage, two women – excellent: Adrian Cubides – and two men confront two life-size limb figures.
The dance is an antipode to posthumanism; Saskia Hölbling builds on this too. In "corps à corps" the lamentation corresponding to the zeitgeist is far from the vulnerable and mortal bodies. (…) In its second half the work becomes increasingly aimless. Possibly this is intentional. Because it may also be that the choreographer wishes to reflect the aimlessness and helplessness of human bodies in the face of themselves and their organisation. If this is correct, then "corps à corps" would be a successful statement that just does not present this confusion radically enough. The dance ends in giving up in the face of insoluble problems. The music, which is convincing to the last second, comes from Wolfgang Mitterer, the puppets from Gudrun Lenk-Wane, and Gerald Pappenberger is responsible for the composed lighting that follows the rhythm of imminently threatening to go out.
A DANS.KIAS production. With financial support from the Cultural Department of Vienna and the Austrian Federal Chancellery for Arts and Culture
For the 20th anniversary of DANS.KIAS, all “squatting projects” will be shown in one place for the first time – in the
Expedithalle of the Ankerbrotfabrik
With the “Squatting Projects”, a series of dance performances in public spaces started (indoors and outdoors) that can take place in theatres, museums, airports or railway stations just as much as in public squares or areas.
The aim is to enrich the urban environment with subversive body images or potential body visions by connecting up with a performance unit. The start of the “squatting projects” series is the work “body in a metal structure”; followed by „bodies (with)in fences" and “bodies in tubes”
The “Squatting Project” idea – a nomadic guerrilla stage
The idea of a stage in its contemporary dimension is to be extrapolated into public space, that is, implanted in urban
reality, through a mobile performance unit.
An informal performance appointment that establishes itself parasitically in places where it is actually out of place,
or where it occupies an existing structure and sponges off its infrastructure.
Constructed, housed, accompanied by performers whose actions repeatedly put the body and environment into new relations,
set in motion and thereby initiate very discreet acts of civil disobedience.
Put differently: A hybrid that mediates between the environment, society and culture. A temporarily implanted performative artefact that is designed to disturb rigid patterns of thought and supposed harmonies, or to call ostensibly coherent structures into question. A new form of art occupation in over-organised conurbations A changing cult, cultural and accommodation site.
Premiere: 18 - 20 June 2015, Expedithalle / Loftcity, Wien/AT
duration: approx. 80 min.
body in a metal structure
Choreography, staging: Saskia Hölbling and Laurent Goldring; Dance, performance: Saskia Hölbling; Sculpture, performance-scaffold: Gudrun Lenk-Wane; Music, sound: Nik Hummer; Lights: Reto Schubiger; Video-documentation: Peter A. Egger; Production, management: Simon Hajós
bodies (with)in fences
Choreography, staging: Saskia Hölbling and Laurent Goldring; Dance, performance, choreography: Saskia Hölbling, Rotraud Kern, Franco Senica; Space: Laurent Goldring, Gudrun Lenk-Wane; Music, sound: Nik Hummer; Lights: Reto Schubiger; Video-documentation: Peter A. Egger; Production, management: Simon Hajós
bodies in tubes
Choreography, staging: Saskia Hölbling and Laurent Goldring; Dance, performance, choreography: Saskia Hölbling, Rotraud Kern; Space: Laurent Goldring, Gudrun Lenk-Wane; Costume:Gudrun Lenk-Wane; Music, sound: Nik Hummer, Michael Moser; Lights: Reto Schubiger; Video-documentation: Peter A. Egger; Production, management: Simon Hajós
Saskia Hölbling - 20 Years of DANS.KIASDitta Rudle, tanz.at, 15 June 2015
In 1995, Saskia Hölbling presented her first choreography and founded her ensemble DANS.KIAS. At the time, the dancer and choreographer was 24 years old. Since then, she has choreographed and staged more than 30 pieces. Reason enough to celebrate the anniversary. DANS.KIAS is doing just that in the former Anker bakery with the three-part Squatting Project. The huge despatch hall sheds new light on the bodies in the installations and allows new perspectives.
Saskia Hölbling has fulfilled a dream: to show "body in a metal structure", "bodies (with)in fences" and "bodies in tubes" in one evening. As far as the installations made of rough building materials are concerned (in addition to the metal structure, an installation by Gudrun Lenk-Wane, also an almost endless series of wire fences and plastic buckets, bottomlessly connected by chains to form a climbing tower), it works perfectly. Even before the performance begins (and afterwards too) you can walk round it, examine it and get to know it. To ensure that neither the hard-working performers (Saskia Hölbling, Rotraud Kern, Franco Senica) nor the audience are overtaxed, the three parts are reduced to just over an hour.
Hölbling starts by putting the cart before the horse, starting in the tubes where she and Kern offer a spectacle of deception and camouflage. Only a mop of hair sticks out of the tub, then four legs and two arms - breech birth, head birth, limb birth. Arms and legs shimmer white in the spotlight, the black buckets on the chains are unstable, swinging and swaying, allowing the two women to swing unexpectedly towards each other, their faces close, ready to kiss. Senica, like the other dancers later on, is already fighting with the fences in leather, boots and gloves. Soon there are three of them, working their way through the clanking and clattering path. Heads emerge, buttocks, arms, legs, now black. When the clattering calms down, the fighters rest for a few seconds, their breathing is the music. But the music, composed, conceived and performed live by sound artist Nik Hummer, becomes louder and louder, more menacing. Now the fight is no longer against the wire frames but for life.
In the end, Hölbling remains alone in her metal structure, which consists of cabled tubes that seem to moan and cry through a sophisticated sound installation by Hummer, as if it is not at all happy with being taken over by a human body. But just as the pliable body befriends the bulky matter, it also accepts the conqueror. In the end, it almost purrs. The dancer also knows how to seduce, has thrown off her black robe and swings upside down in charming lace underwear.
Never-ending applause. An anniversary and also “expositions corps”. Saskia Hölbling has remained true to herself, even if she has left the floor out of a desire for something new.
A DANS.KIAS production. With financial support from the Cultural Department of Vienna and the Austrian Federal Chancellery for Arts and Culture.
In her current work "assemblage humain" the choreographer Saskia Hölbling shows collages of the human that are not put
together fragmentarily but arranged fluidly and give time for contact spaces. Contemporarily cool, but without fear of
expressiveness. This is how two worlds are juxtaposed.
The first, dystopian, existential. In an archaic environment of felt, wood, leather and linen, performer and a life-size human figure meet one another and together use the objects – a blanket, seat, broom, stick and jacket – to create assemblages of elementary human relationships: on this world and the beyond, life and death, war and mourning, love and gentleness, ecstasy, daily rituals and absurdities – a Guernica where the horse and the bull, where death and the maiden repeatedly have something to do with one another.
There is a break in the work, the second world covers the remains of the first. Likewise dystopian but more exposed,
garish. An act of evisceration opens up, coloured plastic and objects appear, a pile of trash. The assemblages here are
more artificial, flashier, trendier:
Arising out of the plastic skins, a parade of the objects begins and rises into an orgiastic dance of the materials that
finally make the bodies disappear.
Showing: 13 February 2015, Proberaum Neue Oper Wien, Wien/AT
Premiere: 20 May 2015, Musica_Electronica_Nova/National Forum Of Music, Breslau/PL
duration: approx. 50 min.
Choreography, dance: Saskia Hölbling; Assistence choreography: Rotraud Kern; Music: Wolfgang Mitterer; Assistence music: Moritz Cizek; Scenography, stage: Gudrun Lenk-Wane; Light: Gerald Pappenberger; Video-documentation: Peter A. Egger; Management: Simon Hajós
Puppets and ShamansSilvia Kargl, Kurier, 25 July 2015
Saskia Hölbling presented her piece “assemblage humain” for the first time in Austria as part of ImPulsTanz at the Schauspielhaus. A work in which Hölbling departs from her recent paths of Minimal Movement. The music by Wolfgang Mitterer also contributes to the fact that this “relative solo” with two puppets moves away from Hölbling's abstract and formal choreographies.
Gudrun Lenk-Wane has designed two different life-size puppets that turn the solo into a trio. The first puppet is reminiscent of a skeleton. Hölbling explores it closely. It is associated with tightly gripped fears, and it could also be the memory of a dead person who is present as a silent partner and spectator.
The second puppet wears a black suit and is clearly more “muscular”. The relationship with the dancer becomes both more human and more sexualised when Hölbling goes into a frenzy of movement with the dolls' colourful foil entrails.
A DANS.KIAS production. With financial support from the Cultural Department of Vienna.
In “bodies in tubes” an installation made of rubble chutes becomes the setting for the current work by Saskia Hölbling
and Laurent Goldring. After “body in a metal structure” and “bodies (with)in fences”, “bodies in tubes” forms the third
part of the "Squatting Projects".
As if drying, a vertical chute system hangs in the belly of a room, a dissected section of the pulsing arteries of our city, which in endless connections drive invisible cavities in our floor.
In this organic exposé, two bodies comb through the inflow and outflow guidance systems, the proliferation of entries and exits, the many diversions and turnings: they come up against dead-ends, against one another, wedge themselves in niches and stream out of gaps, are absorbed or thrown out.
The boundaries are different here. Anxiety and protection go hand in hand, inside and outside become blurred,
organisation and artifice form a new organism. Here plastic can breathe, the human body becomes an aspect, a segment of
a suprabody. It becomes part of a territory that belongs to nobody.
What is visible are the effects and echoes of the movements.
Premiere: 10 October 2014, TQW - Tanzquartier Wien, Wien/AT
duration: approx. 50 min.
Choreography, staging: Saskia Hölbling, Laurent Goldring; Dance, performance, choreography: Saskia Hölbling, Rotraud Kerrn; Space: Laurent Goldring, Gudrun Lenk-Wane; Costume: Gudrun Lenk-Wane; Music, sound: Nik Hummer, Michael Moser; Light: Gerald Pappenberger; Video-documentation: Peter A. Egger; Management: Simon Hajós
The crimes of efficiency and victoryHelmut Ploebst, Der Standard, 13 October 2012
Two bodies attempt to stay inside rubble chutes that are closely linked to one another. As in their two previous works, "body in a metal structure" and "bodies (with)in fences", Hölbling here allows the uncanny to run its apparently abstract course. Again a framework from which the body cannot find its way out. But here the claustrophobia of our existence is most radically revealed: as bodies that are now only the debris of the systems that govern them
Moving installation: Saskia Hölbling in the TanzquartierSilvia Kargl, Kurier, 12 October 2014
"bodies in tubes", the new work by Saskia Hölbling in the Tanzquartier, is at the same time the completion of the “Squatting Projects” series, which was produced in collaboration with Laurent Goldring.
The projects address the relationship between bodies and urban space. This time there is an installation with rubble chutes by Goldring and Gudrun Lenk-Wane on the stage. In the half darkness the choreography is only vaguely discernable. Hölbling and Rotraud Kern fill the moveable tubes, and disappear into them as if seeking protection. Body parts protrude until the performers have explored every joint of the installation. There is a growing impression of a space that covers their bodies like a straitjacket.
A DANS.KIAS production. Co-produced by Tanzquartier Wien and the Centre Chorégraphique National de Franche-Comté à Belfort, supported by the Saline royale d"Arc-et-Senans in the frame the Odyssée residency program. Subsisdied by the Cultural Deparment of the City of Vienna and the Austrian Federal Ministry for Education, Arts and Culture.
In "bodies (with)in fences" Saskia Hölbling and Laurent Goldring go in search of new anchors and territories, without
wishing to compete with the shrill seduction strategies of urban space in their crudeness. The sphere of action lies
outside of any glamour and luxury and far removed from any comfort zone.
Quite in its function as a multiple barrier, a monument made of construction gratings opens up spaces and volumes of exclusion or of display. It outlines its own control systems or puts up walls.
In the middle of the monumental sculpture, which raises almost insuperable barriers, three bodies repeatedly and
continually go about dissecting their rigid surroundings, ploughing through the many-layered barriers and thereby
keeping the system in suspense.
In "bodies (with)in fences" Saskia Hölbling and Laurent Goldring have created a delicate but noisy work, which through an inescapable loop designs a perpetuum mobile that necessarily leads to a dead end.
After "body in a metal structure", with "bodies (with)in fences" the "Squatting Projects" go into a second round.
bodies (with)in fences 07 - 10 March 2024, 20h / as part of „Living Positions" at Odeon Theater Wien
Premiere: 23 January 2013, WUK, Projektraum, Wien/AT
duration: approx. 50 min.
Choreography, staging: Saskia Hölbling, Laurent Goldring; Dance, performance, choreography: Saskia Hölbling, Rotraud Kerrn, Franco Senica; Space: Laurent Goldring, Gudrun Lenk-Wane; Costume: Gudrun Lenk-Wane; Music, sound: Nik Hummer; Light: Reto Schubiger; Video-documentation: Peter A. Egger; Management: Simon Hajós
Brillant: The dance work "bodies (with)in fences" by Saskia Hölbling and Laurent GoldringHelmut Ploebst, Der Standard, 25 January 2013
Our society is a permanent building site. One that is permeated with fences and secured by bars. With their oppressive dance work "bodies (with)in fences" in the Vienna Wuk, the Austrian choreographer Saskia Hölbling and the French artist and philosopher show exactly what this policy of blocking feels like.
The setting is reduced to the bare essentials. Some 40 fence fields, erected closely behind one another, form the stage installation. Two women, Rotraud Kern und Hölbling, and one man, Franco Senica, are banished onto and into these. There is obviously no escape.
It soon becomes clear to the audience that this installation connects three parallel worlds. Because the choreography in it is certainly intended to be read as a statement on social policy, but also functions as an existentialist metaphor in the sense of Jean-Paul Sartre's closed doors. There, too, two women and a man fall into the hell of being locked in. At a third level, "bodies (with)in fences" brings the fencing of the human soul into play.
First the three figures attempt to stay on the upper surface of the fence field, but then penetrate into the narrow spaces in between. Nik Hummer's sober sound-spheres are chopped up by the rattling of the fences. The changing levels of light show that regardless of the perspective taken, the inescapability remains.
Without mountain and rock, a triple Sisyphus moves only himself – and that in one place. For him, Albert Camus' sentence, “one must imagine Sisyphus happy,” does not apply. A radical position. This work positions itself consistently outside the “matrix” – i.e. the fence – of entertainment and political spectacle, whose fences run through the psychic and existence conditions of all who climb through life within it.
After "body in a metal structure", "bodies (with)in fences" is the second cooperation between Saskia Hölbling and Laurent Goldring. The first piece has already been a success. The new one has now scored a bull's-eye.
DANS.KIAS - bodies (with)in fencesDitta Rudle, tanz.at, 26. Jänner 2013
In an installation made out of construction-site railings, three bodies explore the possibilities of movement, overcome barriers and end up where they started from. Saskia Hölbling and Laurent Goldring have also conceived the second part of their “Squatting Project” for public space, in order to enrich the urban environment. The première took place in the project space of the WUK.
Sisyphus today. The metal railings are fragile; they may be firmly fixed to the ground but they sway and shake when Saskia Hölbling, Rotraud Kern and Franco Senica move on and between them. The whole performance develops in the same way as the bodies begin their (futile) parcours up on the narrow railings of the fence. As a balancing act. Three times Sisyphus struggles up the ridge, without a way out and without an aim. What the three performers are putting their efforts into looks dangerous and thoroughly strenuous – a struggle with railings that have been lined up so close to one another by the artist Gudrun Lenk-Wane that there are no paths through which one might escape. The three hardly ever touch the ground, but they hang upside down in the railings, twist over and under them, meet and hinder one another, look like a six-legged animal, which the spectators on the other side of the installation probably see as three-headed. Occasionally the image of a love story flashes up, two women, one man. But it soon disintegrates again; each of them fights for themselves alone. The victor remains the cold but at the same time flexible image of the railings. When these fences are scaled and climbed they clang and clatter and supplement the rising and falling sound collage by Nik Hummer, depending on the energy flow of the performers. Reto Schubiger participates in the events with differentiated lighting. Are the bodies moving to the beat of light and sound or are they giving the rhythm for music and sound, light and dark with the vibrating rattling of the metal structure? The perfect interplay of this cleverly thought-out concept leaves the question unanswered.
An exciting performance in its difficulty and physical commitment, which would be even more intensely experienced in open space (indoors or outdoors). In the small project room of the WUK the audience is seated on two sides of the installation and as it were sees only half of the moving body images. Moving around to repeatedly change the perspective would be more advantageous. The next performances of this impressive project have not yet been fixed, but (like body in a metal structure, the first part of the “Squatting Project” by Hölbling/Goldring), "bodies (with)in fences" will certainly be seen in several places, with or without a roof over it.
A DANS.KIAS production. In co-operation with the Werkstätten- und Kulturhaus WUK. Supported by the cultural department of the City of Vienna and the Federal Ministry for education, arts and culture.
"body in a metal structure" forms the start of the “Squatting Projects”, a series of dance-performance appointments that
settle parasitically in places where they are actually out of place by occupying existing structures and scrounging off
their infrastructures: an inconspicuous, unused building scaffold, simultaneously a mobile sculpture and performance
venue, fits in to the proliferation of building sites, which owing to their omnipresence are already fading from our
field of perception.
At the centre of this sculpture, which always seems a little out of place, a body then sets out to deconstruct relationships with its urban surroundings, engaging in with quite discreet acts of civil disobedience.
In a world of highways, grey facades and building sites that, accelerated into wasteland, merge completely into
advertising space, massively displayed and celebrated in lights to transform global needs into continuous consumption, a
body occupies these axes of directed flow.
Makes steel pipes and sharp edges, protruding shafts of screws and bursting metal joints its own, assembles them into
its home, creates its own architecture of desire and develops its own delirium between skin and metal.
With "body in a metal structure" Saskia Hölbling and Laurent Goldring create a delicate and quiet organic manifesto in the midst of functioning structures, a new form of art occupation in overly organised conurbations.
Pre-premiere: 18 January 2012, WUK, Projektraum, Wien/AT
Premiere: 03. May 2012, donaufestival, Stadtpark Krems, Krems/AT
duration: approx. 60 min.
Choreography, staging: Saskia Hölbling, Laurent Goldring; Dance, performance: Saskia Hölbling, Rotraud Kerrn; Sculpture, performance-scaffold: Gudrun Lenk-Wane; Music, Ton: Nik Hummer, Michael Moser; Light: Reto Schubiger; Video-documentation: Peter A. Egger; Production, management: Simon Hajós
From Heaven above to HeideggerHelmut Ploebst, Der Standard, 21 January 2021
It only really starts properly at the beginning of May at this year's Krems Danube Festival. But in the WUK the pre-première has already taken place: the Viennese choreographer Saskia Hölbling presented “body in a metal structure” in the project room of the cultural centre.
A woman in black trousers and a black shirt – Hölbling herself – places herself, head pointing downwards, in a four-metre-high scaffold of metal poles, as used on building-site scaffolding. The planned unstable construction (by Gudrun Lenk-Wane) consists of a pyramid within a cube. Inside, the dancer moves for an hour, climbs up, lets herself down to the floor again, hangs from the supports and shakes them. The scaffold can indeed stand this, but above all its outer parts shake dangerously. The symbolic value of it all is considerable. The philosopher Martin Heidegger was impressed with the idea of the “Ge-stell” (frame). For him it was what “challenges people to bring to light the real as something created.” The reference to Heidegger is no speculation. Because Hölbling created her work together with the French artist Laurent Goldring. And he is well known as a philosophy aficionado.
So the metal structure in the work corresponds precisely to the “bars and debris and scaffolding” that for Heidegger “belong to the technological”. But one does not have to have done a philosophy degree to understand what the dancer – by the way, dispensing with virtuoso dance “techniques” – is doing in the scaffold. Hölbling explores this upright male structure and challenges it: burdens, disturbs and penetrates it. During the course of this she changes her trousers for a skirt, puts a jacket on over her shirt.
At the end, she persists headfirst again – although undressed down to a bra and briefs. Thus she also presents the scaffold as an exaggeration of the kind of pole around which pole dancers writhe. And pole-dancing is very popular at the moment, precisely outside dubious establishments as amusement for everywoman. It is considered sexy and consciousness-raising at the same time. Hölbling seems to have smelt a rat. Single-mindedly she deconstructs the pole and transfers the result into the artistic. “body in a metal structure” is now to be performed in the open air, in those places the scaffold represents an alien body.
For Hölbling this work is the first statement in a whole series of future “squattings” of public places. A start has been made – and very successfully.
Vertical in steel spaceOliver Lang, Kronen Zeitung, 29 July 2012
In public space – on the bastion of the Albertina – a strange construction of metal rods in which a person clothed in black hangs upside down. It is the choreographer and performer Saskia Hölbling, giving her evening performance "body in a metal structure" at the ImPulsTanz-Festival.
Saskia Hölbling's evening (developed together with Laurent Goldring) may provide apparently dangerous moments of climbing, but no circus-like art: it is not about the show, but about the conquest and experience of the scaffold. What do you see? Saskia Hölbling coils and swings through the large metal scaffold, sometimes reptilian, then offensive again. The object is explored in changing clothing; sometimes she hangs upside-down on the poles, then she leaps, climbs, lets herself fall, reaches the ground. Repeatedly in between there is the scrutinising look at the scaffold, a measurement of power, an estimation of the opponent. And slowly the tubular structure yields, turns from an object that looks like something from a construction site into a sculpture that has been deconstructed by Hölbling. It is exciting to observe what takes place between the dangerously swaying individual components and the fixed inner construction, and how the conquest of this meters-high object is designed.
A DANS.KIAS production co-produced by the donaufestival, in co-operation with the Werkstätten- und Kulturhaus WUK, subsisdied by the Cultural Deparment of the City of Vienna and the Austrian Federal Ministry for Education, Arts and Culture.