Crack Nerve Boogie Swerve concentrates on the notions of resistance and breaking – breaking norms, breaking free from constraints, liberating oneself from the confinement of oppression. The act and meaning of breaking was explored through the use of sound, the voice, and the body in an installation made of glass and concrete.
Glass works congruently with the notion of breaking because it defies and resists a structure that tries to confine it into a unified form. It is inherently fragile and strong; a material that is constantly in an in-between state, amorphous, always changing; just like the body — individual and collective.
Crack Nerve Boogie Swerve consists an installation and a performance series in three parts: Prelude, Act One and Act Two. During the exhibition Blake used the installation space as a process and rehearsal space to create the performance. Therefore, visitors could observe a snippet of the process or follow it each day. At the end of each Act’s Sessions — the allocated time for the work process — there was a Sketch, which was an end marker of the process.
The glass installation — referencing Italian and Brazilian architect, Lina Bo Bardi’s glass easels in the The São Paulo Museum of Art — was comprised of various sizes and thicknesses of different types of glass with varying tonal qualities. The sound exciters transformed the glass into speakers, contact microphones on the glass picked-up the sound vibrations when the glass was struck, and the base-shakers vibrated the glass with lower frequencies.
Act Two was developed with a group of dancers – Kelly Bigirindavyi, Fiona Dekkers, Alesya Dobysh, Lisa Kasman, Alice de Mayo and Jomecia Oosterwolde – who’s dance backgrounds ranged from break dancing, house, hip hop, contemporary, tap, West African and ballet. Blake worked with them on how not to appropriate each other’s movement language, but rather to use the glass as a metaphorical and actual tool to communicate, break patterns and potentially create a new vocabulary of movement as a collective without losing one’s subjectivity.
As in Blake’s other works, she deconstructs and challenges associations attached to gestures - specifically gender codes. By juxtaposing these womxn’s different movement languages and subjectivities, there was the freedom and space for any emotion, thought and/or idea to arise, be supported and processed.
Blake commissioned the fashion designer, Elisa van Joolen to create a series of outfits for the performers that echoed this process-based work. The clothing was designed by upcycling ‘streetwear’ garments from secondhand stores, which Van Joolen deconstructed and played with the notion of visibility and transparency and the binary of what is ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’. Van Joolen created the clothing in collaboration with Anouk Beckers.CREDITS
Concept, direction: Alexis Blake
Choreography developed with: Kelly Bigirindavyi, Fiona Dekkers, Alesya Dobysh, Lisa Kasman, Alice de Mayo and Jomecia Oosterwolde
Sound: Aniek de Rooij
Production Assistant: Judith Roux
Garments: Elisa van Joolen with Anouk Beckers
Photography: Diana Oliveira
Re-touch: Thijme & Szafrańska
Performed at TENT., Rotterdam, NL within the context of the exhibition, No you won’t be naming no buildings after me; curated by Vincent van Velsen.
Supported by the Mondriaan Fonds