28/02/2011 - interview voor Kaaitheater brochure

Performatik focuses on contemporary performance art, not only from the perspective of theatre and dance, but also the visual arts. What about your relation with the visual arts?
Heine:  We’re dealing with the codes of the theatre. What we present has a duration, a beginning and an end, a dramaturgy. That makes what we do ‘performing arts’. It can sometimes blend into other art fields, but that is something we don’t really specify very clearly before we work on a project. When we work things start to happen, and we relate to these things as they happen in the process. We focus on the situation and the communication within the performance, between a spectator and a performer or an object and a spectator.
Yukiko: Or it may be just a sound that creates a scene. We never do concerts, but there is always an important part where we focus on the sounds. There’s no movement, but there’s a sound and that creates theatrical elements, listening to the sounds.

The Field Works series of performances looks for the poetry of everyday life. By doing intimate site-specific performances, you examine the codes and conventions of non-theatrical places. An earlier performance called Office took place at the KBC offices in Brussels. This time the audience is invited into a hotel room. What made you chose a hotel as location?
H: It was a coincidence. When we started working on Field Works Office, we got an offer to do a performance in a hotel room in Stockholm during a festival called Perfect Performance.
Y: At that time we were not rehearsing and working in a dance studio, but had rented a rental office called Regus Office, which is a …
H: … hotel for offices…
Y: They have many branches all over the world. The offices are fully equipped with desks, chairs, telephone lines and so on, and you can rent them at different locations.
H: It doesn’t matter where you are, they have offices all over the world. So no matter where you are, you can always have the same office interior.
Y: So in one way they are international because they’re at so many locations, but it’s always the same thing, so it’s mono-international, like Starbucks. With hotels it’s often the same, it’s also international, there are authentic hotels, but most of them are the same all over the world. So the function is different but it’s a similar set-up. Hotels have the same purpose, you go there, it’s a room that so many people pass through, somebody else slept in your bed the night before. So the concept of coming into a hotel room, thinking it’s all new, is customized for you, but it’s been used so many times, that’s what is of interest.
H: We are interested in working with the idea that it looks so fresh and new even though there have been so many people in and out. We were interested in how you can work with it as if there were traces of all the different people who have actually been in the room where you are.
Y: All the rooms are the same on the inside. So when you are sitting in your room, you know that next to you, under you, there are also people in these same rooms. You don’t see the presence of the people but you know it’s there.

A lot of your works are intimate, for ‘one person only’ performances. What is your relation with the spectator?
H: We are very interested in the idea of an audience as a collective group. We are interested in doing this in theatres, but sometimes we need to have moments when the response is really physical towards one person as an audience. In our performance You are here, which is for a theatre space with a theatre set-up where people are sitting on a tribune, we gave the audience small boxes, so we tried to give the audience an individual point of view. At the same time there are things happening on stage, so the audience is constantly pulled between the collective view and the individual one.