Loin... (Far...)

Bruce Mason Centre, Auckland

03/03/2011 - 05/03/2011

Auckland Arts Festival 2011

Production Details

Where do the boundaries of identiy lie?
How can dance be channeled to reveal traumatic and pleaasurable experiences?
How does one express a history of suffering and violence?
What can dance do that history books can’t?

Ouramdane draws on an intimate and impassioned physicality and an approach to dance that exploits the tools of his generation – video testimonies, sophisticated lighting and recorded soundscapes.  Layered with musings on his own hybrid identity, Loin… (Far…) is infused with the personal histories of others, based on the journals his father kept while he was in the French Army during the occupations of Algeria and Vietnam, testimony from his mother and interviews with the victims and heirs of the war in Vietnam.

In his recent projects, Ourmadne has collaborated with documentary-makers in an ongoing drive to radicalise his examination of the boundaries between dance and documentary.

Lights: Pierre Leblanc
Costume and makeup: La Bourette
Set: Sylvain Giraudeau

1 hour

A captivating poetic performance

Review by Shanon O'Sullivan 04th Mar 2011

 Fluorescent lights illuminate a square space upon a dark stage.  Rachid Ouramdane emerges from the dark shadows and glides to standing point facing in toward the square. His solitary form is still as a large screen springs to life in the black void behind. English text appears on screen and the eloquent voice of Ouramdane speaks out in his native French tongue as both voice and text unfold in unison. We are transported to another time and place as written personal testimonies reveal intensely shocking first hand experiences of torture on a prisoner of war. As the significant weight of these words sinks in, a shimmering light materializes within the square opposite Ouramdane and ripples like the slippery caress of water upon the screen surface. Ouramdane raises a torch and as he shifts the light across the contours of his face an ominous presence materializes upon the opposite screen. The image transforms and fades away.
So begins Loin… (Far…), a deeply moving and thought provoking multimedia performance that utilizes a myriad of subtle and dynamic dimensions in which to address its personal and political theme. French Algerian dancer and choreographer Rachid Ouramdane delivers an upfront insight into the traumatic ravages of war experienced by those who live through it and those who also suffer the repercussions in the aftermath. Ouramdane draws from his Algerian father’s diary entries when he served as a soldier of war during the French occupation in both Vietnam and Algeria. Ouramdane questions also the notion of identity and how the events and experiences of those who have lived before us are inbred in our upbringing, which can have an effect on who we are as individuals.
Ouramdane is dressed head to toe in black, his face slightly concealed by his hood which adds an element of mystery. His movement patterns vary as he moves across the performance space. At times they are simplistic and gentle in nature as he calmly walks, kneels, lies down and rolls across the floor or suspends his body in space. In other instances Ouramdane’s movements’ change suddenly and dramatically as his body contorts and convulses, and we see elements of break dance seep through in his limbs which transmits an additional vitality.
There are distinct sections to the performance which is evident as Ouramdane taps various switches upon the stage floor. Tempo, lights, sound and action veer in opposite directions and one is hanging on for the ride. As images change on screen we see the weathered gentle features of Ouramdane’s mother as she speaks in French and shares her own experiences. The faces of Vietnamese appear close up to the screen also; their words unravel and mingle as the various performative elements merge. The spoken word changes from French to English and text on screen starts and stops in accord. Layers of sound provide a pivotal component which enhances the atmosphere and the motion and whirring sound of speakers situated across the stage provides an additional strength to the work.
With various components merging all at once, it is sometimes difficult to take everything in. Yet as the change of pace periodically alternates and slows down the reverse effect occurs when time crawls by. Nevertheless, Ouramdane delivers a captivating poetic performance and his selective means of expressing deeply personal and universal themes stirs the mind and soul.

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A body's legacy of the past

Review by Raewyn Whyte 04th Mar 2011

French dancer-choreographer Rachid Ouramdane’s multimedia performance installation Loin … (Far … ) is a very personal meditation on the nature of identity and the ways in which it is shaped by violence, aggression, war, politics, destruction, and by the legacies of the past we carry with us, especially in our bodies.

Ouramdane has gathered other people’s stories in his quest for understanding – former soldiers, civilian survivors in Cambodia and Vietnam, a displaced Eurasian American still trying to make sense of who he is.   [More]


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