Infoxication: An Interdisciplinary Performance Inspired by the Information Age
The Latest Update
Infoxication: Interview with Choreographer Dušan Týnek
Recently, Alden Hellmuth, Production Assistant for Infoxication, sat down for a one-on-one conversation with esteemed choreographer Dušan Týnek to discuss the upcoming premiere of Infoxication and how he translates music into movement. Infoxication premieres this Monday November 12th, 2018 at Spring Place.
Dušan Týnek is known internationally for his striking blend of theatricality and musicality in formally structured modern dance and has been called “an undoubted talent” by The New York Times. Tynek’s choreography is unmistakable for its original and sophisticated movement invention and ingenious use of space. Over the past ten years, critics and audiences alike have praised his imagination, command of structure, and genuine ability to convey emotion and atmosphere through an original dance vocabulary that naturally bonds classical and modern techniques.
Alden: So let’s jump right in. Infoxication is a term which means information overload. It’s a very specific and fairly new concept, but definitely something we can all relate to. I’m eager to see how you’ve captured this within the dance you’ve choreographed. Could you talk a bit about the concept of the project and how it’s informed your work?
Dušan: When I became involved, the concept for the show had already been in development for some time, so my challenge was to come up with choreography that addresses the technological aspects of our society and the emotional consequences of living in the Information Age. But I think just having been given the specific music that this is being set to, it already dictates the mood and kind of the feeling of what the dance is about. I’m looking forward to see how the production is going to evolve this weekend. We’ve each worked on our individual sections, so now it’s time to see how all merges.
Alden: I understand your father was a jazz musician, I actually am one myself, and it’s clear in your work that you have a very deep understanding of and connection to music. Infoxication features Steve Reich’s famous Triple Quartet as well as new music written by Danielle Eva Schwob and Amanda Feery. How do specific music selections influence the dance you create?
Dušan: What really drew me in is when Danielle and Roya said that it (the production) would include Triple Quartet by Steve Reich and I was thrilled by it because his music is just phenomenal and I’ve always wanted to work with the score. So that was a great opportunity and I was very excited on jump on it. And Danielle’s new piece, I’m very excited about. I like the concept of contemporary classical music. I love to work with music. I do have a musical background, I played instruments as well and studied music when I was younger so I’m definitely drawn to that. Not saying that all my work is dictated by music, but it definitely is a major element and influence to my work. And it’s always interesting/challenging – people think “ah, well you just take music and you choreograph it,” but it’s very difficult to do well. It gives you constraints. It’s not just something that I came up with and I want to choreograph. I’ve done pieces like that where the music is more of an accompaniment, but it’s not driving the action. Unlike these two pieces which are very strict, very metered, and very driven. You cannot ignore what is happening in the music. I had to study the score and translate it to the dancers, and then we had to create movement that would not only work with the music, but also highlight the concepts and ideas that Infoxication is about. It’s always a challenge, but very interesting to jump through different hoops. It’s almost like solving a puzzle, which I enjoy. You have to break down the music. When you first hear it it sounds extremely overwhelming and you don’t know where to start, but then you start looking at individual movements and you break those down. I requested the scores for both compositions to see what was happening there because, especially with contemporary compositions, you cannot just count 123. For me, I prefer to navigate through the score and see how its written so I can take my own notes and adjustments to figure out how we are approaching it, which is very different from how even musicians will approach it. That’s the difficulty of making a dance like this. It’s very difficult for the dancers as well, especially with scores like this that are so specific and so difficult to navigate through because unlike musicians the dancers can’t go on stage with the score. They have to memorize the entire composition, know where things lay, and have to be counting through for certain parts where I want them to really be together or have things a certain way.
Alden: Absolutely. And so you already mentioned you were familiar with Triple Quartet. Does your process change when you’re choreographing a premiere, like in the case with Danielle’s work?
Dušan: By the time I got Danielle’s score I was finishing up the dance for Triple Quartet and so I had an idea of what I was trying to do. Because in this case, the dance is addressing more than one piece of music. I would obviously approach it very differently if it was more of a concert dance on a regular stage. We’re also working in a very unorthodox space that’s very limited and there are obstacles everywhere and so the approach is very different. So already I knew how I was approaching Triple Quartet spatially and movement wise, and I knew that Danielle’s piece would be proceeding so it could not be as vigorous as the Reich. I also knew that spatially it needed to be done very differently. I already knew the perimeters of what we were working with so we just jumped into it. There was no time to dwell on it.
Alden: Definitely. And so back to this idea of the unorthodox space – you’re well-known for your intelligent and inventive use of space, including site specific pieces, and Infoxication is labeled as an “immersive experience.” Could you talk a bit about that and how you’ve tailored your choreography to the performance space at Spring Place?
Dušan: We’ve done works in museums, quarries where the audience has to follow the dance sometimes. This is very different because it’s such a small and enclosed environment. It’s going to be very challenging. There’s going to be a lot of people packed in and then the dancers will be interspersed among the audience with all the furniture on top of it. So it’s really like an obstacle course. We’re going to try to utilize any kind of space we have. There are some parts that take place at the tables where the dancers are sitting in chairs and so the dancers will be a huge part of the viewers experience. It’s going to be very exciting and probably a little threatening, even challenging for the audience especially if people are not used to seeing dance that up close and personal. They’ll have to be dodging dancers’ limbs and so I think it’ll be a very visceral experience for everyone, including the dancers – just to have audience members so close, watching them. I think it’s going to be very exciting. It’ll be a 360 degree experience and the audience may not have a view of the whole show. Wherever you’re seated, or standing, you’ll likely only see part of it at any time. So it’ll be interesting how everyone will have a very different experience. I think that’s something that drew me in as well, it’s something we’ve never done before…and why not? Why not try?
Infoxication is a uniquely immersive and powerful cross-disciplinary performance created by Roya Sachs, Danielle Eva Schwob and Ashley Jackson combining art, music, dance and technology. It premieres this Monday, November 12th at 7:30pm. For ticket information please click here.
Infoxication Update: Official Performance Date Announcement!
Producers Roya Sachs, Danielle Eva Schwob, and Dr. Ashley Jackson are excited to announce the official performance date! Thanks to the efforts of our team and collaborators at Spring Place, Infoxication will take place on November 12, 2018 at 8pm (doors at 7:30pm) with an exclusive invitation to a post-show cocktail reception with the creators and cast. This one-night-only event will feature choreography by Dusan Tynek, compositions by Danielle Eva Schwob, art by Heather Hansen, and performances by cellist Inbal Segev and the award-winning PUBLIQuartet.
It’s been a busy month for our team! Last week, Dusan began rehearsals with the dancers in the performance space, and Danielle has been workshopping her brand-new string quartet with PUBLIQuartet since the beginning of this month. Over the next two weeks, we’ll be sharing more in-depth conversations with our collaborators on their creative process, so stay tuned.
For more information about the performance and purchasing tickets, please click here. We hope to see you on November 12th!
Infoxication Update #1: New collaborators and partners
Infoxication UpDate #1
Infoxication: the ‘intoxicated’ mental state and sense of exhaustion a person experiences when exposed to more information than he or she can process.
Inspired by the information overload that defines the digital era, curator Roya Sachs, harpist Ashley Jackson and composer Danielle Eva Schwob present Infoxication: a continuous three-part 40-minute performance that probes the way in which technology has encroached upon our daily lives.
Roya Sachs (curator, producer), Danielle Eva Schwob (composer, producer), Ashley Jackson (harpist, producer), Heather Hansen (performance artist), PUBLIQuartet (performers), SYZYGY New Music (presenter) and more.
- Part One: Waking. Evoking the characteristically millennial habit of waking up and reaching for a Smartphone, Waking simulates a slow emergence from peaceful sleep into the detached digital world. Four dancers reacting with live electronic harp by Ashley Jackson and cello by Amanda Gookin will accompany audiences through a meander in and out of the unconscious, as reality begins to prevail.
- Part Two: Working & Wanting. Working depicts the onslaught of noise and social isolation that are byproducts of working continually on computers. The dancers begin the second act of the performance by rhythmically typing on bright laptops, mimicking the repetitive nature of our daily routines. Wanting examines the false sense of immediacy, faux intimacy and social anxiety associated with online dating. As the mental exhaustion of Working takes its toll, we notice each dancer’s attempt to connect with one another amidst a detached physical landscape. PUBLIQuartet accompanies with a neo-romantic yet minimalist string quartet score.
- Part Three: Withdrawing. As the world becomes ever more tech-centric and our lives increasingly dependent on email, social networks and media consumption, our need to unplug, reflect and reconnect with our own physicality deepens. Visual artist Heather Hansen creates work that embodies the antithesis of our frenetic and incorporeal world, forming delicate images by using only the movement of her body and chalk to draw onto a canvas on the floor. By inviting audience members to escape the frenzy, a raw stream of light will spotlight Heather Hansen’s performance whilst accompanied by an ethereal cello solo composed by Danielle Schwob.
“VOID” was a one-night-only performance in May 2015, joining dancers Sean Suozzi and Claire Kretzschmar from the New York City Ballet and an interactive sensory art installation by Jordan Backhus. The performance, curated by Roya Sachs and choreographed by Troy Schumacher, looked at the theme of courtship in early dance forms that will take the viewer on a journey from past to present, invoking the modernization of courtship, and the suspense that is driven through this evolution.
While Heather Hansen is a featured performer for only the final movement of Infoxication rather than a core member of the creative team, we thought we should include a sample of her extraordinary and entirely unique work. This is both because it is difficult to describe verbally and because to us it represents the thematic culmination of our show. This performance took place at Ochi Gallery and is indicative of the kind of work that we intend to incorporate into Infoxication.
Start and End Dates
11/15/2017 — 05/31/2018
New York, New York