27 August, 23.00​​​​​​​
The Elbe
A piece of glacier from the North Pole floated down south millions of years ago. It covered the giant stones that were still then mineral and sand. Ice melted down during the course of another millions of years, when water drops flowed into river, sand rose into mountain.
The Elbe used to freeze every winter. This event was carefully observed by those who live by the river, and announced by shooting guns. The ice was so thick that even trucks could drive through. When spring arrived, ice would again melt into water.
The Elbe rises and drops in cycles. When the river rises, water would enter into the square, and leak into houses. In 1920, the water was so high, that it almost touched the ceiling of ground floor. January, in the deepest of winter, the town froze. 
Bomätscher were workers on the river, who used to pull ships onshore with ropes tied on their shoulders. Their job was extremely dangerous, as the river used to be much harsher. Their song still echoes on the Elbe, Bomätscherlied, which they used to sing at work, to feel less fear and danger. 
installation and performance
10' x 4 repetitions
Gallery Torhaus Wehlen
Dancer: Tzeshi Lei

The performance tried to embody the origin of the Elbe—glacier melting into river, and the first dwelling of human along the river, as well as the stories of Bomätscher, through the space, the body, and the vibrations inbetween. It was repeated four times, each time for five audiences, which represented the cycles of changing temperatures, cold and warmth, ice and water. The audience waiting downstairs could hear the sonics from the performance repeatedly before actually watching it. In this way, although the piece had been strictly repeated, each group of audience would perceive it differently by overlapping the memories and present, apart from the different states of melting ice.
It took place in the attic of Torhaus Wehlen, cooperating with the sound installation by Alois Yang. Each footstep on the ground would generate a vibration in the hanging metal structure downstairs, which would then be amplified to the space below. Therefore, the performance had already started, before the first audience stepped on the ladder towards the attic, and ended after the last audience stepped down.
After the performance, overnight, the ice blocks melted down completely; only the hanging strings were still left. However, on the ground, the water marks merged together, forming the shape of a river, as the dust had been washed away by drops of water.
The work explored how to shape subjective and phenomenological perception of space and time through the control of sound, light and movement, trying to view choreography from a broader sense, where the body of the performer and audience, the sound, the light, the material had the same importance; as well as a rigid structure to incorporate the friction between different inner temporarities of factors in space: the melting and dropping of ice, the sound from outside, the steps of the audience… Specifically, it explored how to shift the states of perceiving of audiences in order to experience the reality differently, with more awareness and porosity.
I found the idea beautiful, of creating a frame for incontrollable factors to act in their own unpredictable ways, while the work still making sense as an integrity; as well as of making space for time to unfold the spectacles itself, almost without the artificiality of authorship. A naive attempt to imitate nature, a structured organism made up of chances and uncertainties.
ice melts
water drops from above.
Back to Top