THOUGHTS ON JANVIER
I understand the body to be the site and the vehicle of direct experience, its active and open form continually receiving and responding to the world around it.
by Tedi Tafel
I am interested in exploring movement as an entranceway into the deeper layers of human experience. I create performances for public spaces because I believe that performance should exist in all kinds of settings, not only in theatres. I also do so as a poetic way of looking at how we interact with and are affected by our surroundings. For me, the language of movement is the perfect means to both navigate and express this interface. Perhaps it is the very ambiguity of gesture that so suits the articulation of this fluid and indeterminate exchange. My work has been shown in various urban and natural sites including a parking lot, a forest clearing, a rooftop, a winter cabin and a storefront.
I reanimate urban sites and transform them into places of heightened attention, imagination and metaphor...
I understand the body to be the site and the vehicle of direct experience, its active and open form continually receiving and responding to the world around it. Though I live in the city, my inspiration comes from being in nature. These immersive experiences have taught me that there is a reciprocal or, better yet, porous connection between the processes of inner life and the movements and events found in nature; that different environments can shape imagination, stir deep memories and emotions and send us dreaming. The dissolving forms and themes of perpetual transformation found in my work link the shifting character of the human psyche to nature’s insistence on continual flux. My most recent interventions are intended to shift us away from a kind of dulled entrancement that comes with a mostly functional mode of moving through the city. I reanimate urban sites and transform them into places of heightened attention, imagination and metaphor as a way to remind us of our sensual involvement with the surrounding world.
This ‘beingness’ and spontaneity creates an arena in which the audience is more a witness than a watcher, participating through their own projected experiences.
The over-riding arc of my career describes a movement away from ‘spectacle’ and closer to the notion of public event, inventing new forms that narrow the separations between performer and audience, between art and life. My performances are anchored in recognizable human actions and situations. Raw and essentialised, they reveal what is beneath the surface of the familiar. Because they are improvised within specific parameters, they rely on the presence, sensitivity and listening capacity of the performers to create the works in real time. This ‘beingness’ and spontaneity creates an arena in which the audience is more a witness than a watcher, participating through their own projected experiences.
My exploration as an artist has been intricately tied to my involvement with BoréalArtNature, a centre for research and creation located in the Laurentian Mountains of Quebec. The centre provides a transdisciplinary platform for looking at nature/culture relationships by means of residencies, conferences, collaborations and on-site education. Along with other members, I have developed, organized and participated in numerous collective artistic residencies in Canada and abroad, since 1997.
ABOUT TEDI TAFEL
Tedi Tafel is currently working in the fields of performance, installation and video. Her work has been shown across Canada and in New York, Iceland, England, Wales and Germany. Over the course of her career, she has gradually moved away from studio and theatre contexts towards an immediate engagement with urban and natural sites. This evolution stems from a desire to explore the body’s response in direct relationship to place. Tedi finds her inspiration by spending extended periods of time in nature and her creations are a means of transplanting something of these experiences back into the city. Her recent performances integrate video projections of the movement of water, clouds, wind, flowers etc. and have been set in numerous urban neighborhoods. These works are intended to interrupt our routine, often unconscious, ways of moving through public space and to act as catalysts for new, more poetic experiences of the familiar. But mostly, they are meant as celebrations of the intimate connection between human beings and the natural world.
Tedi has a long-term engagement with somatic practices that access the intelligence of the body and reveal its intrinsic expressive language. These on-going studies inform her understanding of the dancing body and also form the core of a vibrant teaching practice. She lives in Montreal.