This is Constellations, by Paperdolls, which is currently running at D-Light studios as part of Absolut Fringe 2012. I’ll attempt to describe what it is, but that won’t be easy as I really don’t know what it is; it slips outside most of the normal categories that you might use to describe something like this. It’s a dance piece that takes place mostly in the air. It’s an acrobatic display that eschews all the cheesy narcissistic showing off which that normally entails. It’s a piece of performance art that revolves around the use of Japanese rope bondage. It’s a gig with a full band (Wolfbait) in the corner who blast out terrifyingly loud and intense noise rock. It’s eerie and unsettling and totally unlike anything I’ve ever seen before.
The photograph above is an exposure of 6 minutes and 17 seconds, and was taken during the first section of the show. I shot it during a dress rehearsal so for that reason you can’t see the audience in the shot. They would normally be sitting around on mats. Most of the cast are sitting still in the centre of the room for this part, while one of them has her arms tied behind her back. She then performs various acrobatic exercises with a partner, while her arms are still bound in this way. There is a real tension during this section as you can’t help thinking that if she slips, she can’t even use her hands to stop her face hitting the ground. There’s a huge level of trust involved between the participants, and watching it is like being privy to some sort of intimate, normally private, ritual. Soon after this, the whole thing goes completely nuts, but the enjoyment of this thing is all about not knowing what is going to happen next, so I’m not going to spoil it. It runs until this coming Saturday and you can book tickets here. Highly recommended.
Thanks to Karolina at Blow Magazine and Emily and Fionnuala at Paperdolls for facilitating this. This photograph has just been published in number 4 of Blow Mag’s Absolut Fringe 2012 special editions. You can check them all out here.