IN THE UNDERLIT BASEMENT Place of the Palais de Tokyo, Italian dancer and choreographer Annamaria Ajmone’s La notte è il mio giorno preferito (Evening is My Preferred Working day) started off with the seem of a deep animal howl, the reverberations of which lent dimension to the darkness and outlined the room of the general performance, delineating its edges and corners. In the infrared glow of the overhanging environmentally friendly lights, a nominal representation of a forest emerged a handful of sparse lianas designed the habitat for the general performance. Out of the blue, a stealthy, human-animal hybrid determine appeared and began an evasive dance, sliding in and out of perspective powering columns, into dark corners, and keeping lower to the floor. Inevitably, this figure uncovered by itself facing the viewers with a cruel, nearly combative gaze. As she stood there, she coated her tongue with a clay-like compound. Unnaturally long and sharp, it seemed to lunge out of her mouth, search close to cautiously prior to staying laboriously swallowed—performing what Ajmone later on explained as a “tongue dance.” For the duration of this dance, it appeared to possess its host’s human body from within just, slithering like tentacles inside her arms, her legs, out of her ass, only to reemerge forcefully out of her mouth yet again times afterwards. When the 40-moment overall performance was carried out, the viewers emerged, dazed, in the now-lit concrete bowels of the museum surrounded by a number of hanging vines built of observed plastics, synthetic plants, and wigs. In the silence right before the audience dared to clap, the amplified audio of Annamaria’s accelerated breath is all we could hear—and for a while, we listened.
To develop this do the job, Ajmone and her collaborator Stella Succi tracked wolves. They embarked on two residencies—one in Val d’Illiez in Switzerland, the other in the Jura Mountains—to chart the route of the huge canines, discovering to acknowledge their strides, feces, and kills. Via the enable of videos made with a evening-vision camera (the radioactive green gel gentle of which is quoted in the initially segment of the functionality), Ajmone and Succi researched all through the day what they could only listen to in the pitch darkness of night, and the sound of the forest—deconstructed into fragments, merged with instruments—became the main sonic ingredient in a track composed for the functionality by composer Flora Yin-Wong. La notte è il mio giorno preferito is also rooted in an essay by French philosopher and naturalist Baptiste Morizot, who, encouraged by Brazilian anthropologist Eduardo Viveiros de Castro’s exploration, writes on the approaches in which animal tracking can be applied to a philosophical approach. Monitoring, Ajmone told me, is like a dance: “You are tracking an animal, but they are also monitoring you. The viewers is monitoring me on stage, but I am also monitoring them.” The electric power structure of this variety of exchange is egalitarian: Hers is a dance that seeks no climax, a dance in which no one particular dominates—or potentially in which everyone is dominated equally. It is a sensual, philosophical meandering.
The frontality of Ajmone’s gaze is a signature factor of her type. In before parts of hers—this sort of as De La, 2016, or her contribution to Virgilio Sieni’s L’Atlante del Gesto, 2015,—she is confrontational, informed, responsive. When in gallery spaces wherever the audience can flow into freely, she moves toward them, powerful them to stick to her. She carves an audience like a sculpture, abruptly capturing an particular person with her hyper-targeted interest and then, just as promptly, releasing them again into the anonymity of the group by turning absent. Her actions are visceral and spontaneous, current and receptive. Her dances are not precisely improvisations—she offers herself “tasks” to accomplish—but her gestures are by no means preset or sequenced. She leaves herself a large berth to answer intuitively to the viewers, the context, and the architecture of a overall performance in La notte, her responsibilities are the first “call” in the audio of the forest, the act of tracking in the darkness, and the tongue dance. And, even though I have suggested that her motion is animal in its rawness, there is anything very unnatural about it as well: It’s inefficient, monstrous, as although from a mirror-globe in which bodies are tangled and their uses unclear. As she dances, she contorts herself radically, disfiguring and mangling her kind, her joints seeming to pop out of their sockets. And however, her eye contact—locked and intense—is unnerving and personalized. When we communicate about embodiment, she tells me, “I am Annamaria I am a human,” detailing that she is not making an attempt to be an animal, but relatively that she underscores her clear failure to be an animal. She considers specified moments of La notte a sort of disguise for the duration of which she (sometimes proverbially) “wears” features of the wolves (e.g., a wig to supply a furry layer or movement). Her want is not to be the “Other” (capitalization hers), but somewhat to find out from the Other’s vantage stage, their perspective.
The new piece feels unique than her previous types, arguably for the reason that it was developed for the theater of the Triennale in Milan (where by it was carried out 2 times prior to the evening I noticed it at the Palais de Tokyo), and thus possesses Ajmone’s ambivalent partnership to the two-dimensionality of the phase, with its restrictive access to her public. To counterbalance this, she recruited artist Natália Trejbalová and lights director Giulia Pastore to layout and mild a “techno-natural” landscape, a established that could adequately host and contextualize their collective meditations on nature and tradition. La notte was in flip recontextualized by the Palais de Tokyo, which introduced her concurrently with the exhibition “Réclamer la Terre (Reclaim the Earth),” showcasing the work of fourteen artists shepherded by two scientific consultants. Billed as a “wake-up phone as a lot as a rallying cry,” the exhibition asserts that the show’s artists and their strategies to resources are catalysts for a heightened ecological recognition and a decolonized solution to the globe, just one that prioritizes indigenous and ancestral information. Although not incorporated in the exhibition, the effectiveness was truly connected to its ethos. Intuition is at the crux of the ecofeminist argument, and it is the guiding principle of Ajmone’s method. Her overall performance felt like a hanging and really guttural response from inside of to the ambitious and hard guarantee of the exhibition, whose objects ultimately continue being artfully placed in the gallery place. Her overall performance stood on its own as an embodiment of study, and a penetrating sensorial practical experience for artist and viewer alike.
Annamaria Ajmone carried out La notte è il mio giorno preferito (Evening is My Beloved Working day) at the Palais de Tokyo, Paris, on June 9. She will current the piece all over again on July 8, 9 and 10 as section of the Santarcangelo Festival in Italy.