Let’s Face It!

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Premiere: February 3 & 4, 2017 at Tanzfaktur Cologne

In 2016 we celebrate the end of anonymity in public. Through the increasing use of facial recognition software in public, faces become part of big data and citizens become more and more transparent. As a choreographer, I ask: How do we deal with this new form of surveillance? Can we use and develop performative strategies to subvert it? In the solo work “Let’s face it!”, which I will choreograph for and with the performer Vania Rovisco and the fine artist Sophie Aigner, I will focus on the following issues: HAVING A FACE // HAVING NO FACE // HAVING PLENTY OF FACES.

HAVING A FACE: For human beings, the face is the central medium of expression, self-expression and communication. Faces are bound to identity. Therefore, as social beings, we always try to decode the faces of the people we meet and communicate with. HAVING NO FACE: People who do not show their face have a strong potential to scare us: Women dressed in burkas that cover their whole face, demonstrating people wearing masks, etc… Without a face, it is difficult to read a person’s intention – a moment of alienation and foreignness is created. We do not know what kind of subject we are confronted with. HAVING PLENTY OF FACES: Let us enter into the magical world of having plenty of faces. There is a magical aspect that can be found in the use of masks. We can expose and disguise ourselves at the same time. Identity shifts and becomes increasingly nomadic – so we can easily move between different identities.

Playing with these three categories – HAVING A FACE, HAVING NO FACE and HAVING PLENTY OF FACES – as performative strategies of body appropriation, I want to invent and compose a new form of utopian subject that plays with temporal identities. Concentrating on the face, I want to choreograph a space for a utopian persona that is able to subvert today’s surveillance: it can be a known face, it can be a multitude of faces at the same time, and it can also lose its face and vanish into an unknown space that you cannot follow. What happens if we let go of the idea that a subject is necessarily one single human being?