Maguy Marin Umwelt


Maguy Marin’s work breaks free from all codes and formal constraints in order to invent new onstage forms in which music, text, theatre and dance confront and question each other mutually. From May B. to BiT, presented at last year’s Festival d’Automne, each of her works looks upon the body, voice, time, and stage as matter to be harmonized, twisted or interwoven. In 2003, more than 30 years after her first production, she presented Umwelt, the radical nature of which shook the very foundations of performance to the core - plunging audiences deep into a tumultuous vision with bodies grappling with time, and struggling with their self-image in the midst of an unstable and chaotic environment. Ten years later, this choreographic force to be reckoned with has lost none of her percussive impact.

Umwelt, conceived as an environment with rules of its own, makes use of perceptive staging composed of doors and mirrors, openings and closures, and which organize our fleeting vision. Within this vibrating framework, made possible by the amplified sound of three guitars, moving bodies go back and forth, appear, disappear, and embark on instants of everyday existence. They might brandish an object, hug, walk, eat or disappear. This uninterrupted suite of entries and exists builds up a gallery-like array of different attitudes and postures - like a random roll of film inserted into a faulty projector. The machine gradually starts to go out of control, cuts out, repeats itself and then starts up again. The different bodies in the space split apart, repeat themselves, positioned on the brink of their own existences. Like a catalogue of ephemeral beings, or a “user guide for life” which will continue its search until “the running out of all possibles”, Umwelt hollows out the future of our own environment - in all its vanity and fragility.