Interview by Carla Defrancq for Kaaitheater/ Brussels, February 2011
Can you tell me something about the title ‘Black’?
The title ‘Black’ came early in the process and captured the initial questions I was busy with. It also refers to the objects that I worked with parallel to the process. Objects you find in a theatre, like a little step at the end of the stage, or a box to place a projector on, painted black so that they are not so visible, but also objects I have used in my pieces, like a bottle, a cup, a chair, painted black in order to try to make them disappear. The piece tries to work with the border of things, between half way visible, and not visible at the same time. Through speech I try to make things appear. Black is also the dark, where no light reflects or all light is absorbed.
How will speech function in the piece?
The starting point for the piece Black did not arise from a question about speech or language, but in response to my previous works and my relation to objects. This piece is a questioning of the objects: why are they here? What is my relationship with them? For ‘Black’ I wanted to work in a space where there is nothing, all the objects are gone. I was interested to try to make something with nothing, so then in an empty space there was my body moving and talking. In the first place I relate to words and not to sentences. I use speech as a transmitter and I see myself as a medium between what is there and what you can see. I can imagine seeing things you can’t, and through speaking and relating to them, these things can become visible for you.
Aspects like emptiness, absence and presence of objects are reoccurring in your work.
In one way I think that all my works belong together and reflect upon each other. Each work is another aspect, another point of view, or a new question about the same things. For me the work is more about the experience they give and what that evokes, than the story they tell. I am trying to create a language. Relating to what objects are, I work together with them, as my collaborators, they have a very specific function. In ‘Black’ I need to perform and activate objects that aren’t there, and it becomes the writing of the piece.
You often use repetition as a strategy.
I have worked with repetition before as a strategy. It was a way to work with details and a quite complex scene. By repeating it several times it was possible for the scene to unfold and for things to be seen. For me it is a way of activating things. I am not interested in the things in themselves but that we are interested in them. I am interested in how situations leave traces in the memory, and how memory becomes an active part of our reading of something. For ‘Black’ I use repetition again, but here the repetition is there to sustain the moment, or the thing, to insist on its existence.