Relay RE: search
Just as the year 2020 was characterized by constant change and the need to remain creatively flexible, our production RELAY-tion is also supported by the Landesverband Freie Tanz- und Theaterschaffende Baden Württemberg eV and also with the # RELOAD scholarship from the German Federal Cultural Foundation been. (Research project: RELAY-RE-search)
We started our production with a desire to address the isolation that older people face in today's society. Then came Covid, which led us to look for other contraptions and approaches to take on the role of touch and intimacy as proximity became more and more dangerous.
In weekly sessions and additional intensive workshop periods from July to September 2020, SENSE-Box was developed in collaboration with the choreographer Emi Miyoshi, the dramaturge Monica Gillette and the audio engineer Ephraim Wegner. The focus was on a human heartbeat, which served as a source for voting and joint creation with invited guests. Through much trial and error, an e-stethoscope was connected to one person and then heard by another person through wireless headphones. Additional sensors were used to give the listener the ability to play, change, and transform the other person's heartbeat through their own movements.
As technology developed, a number of motion values were created to shape the paired encounters. At the beginning of the process it became clear that the focus of the connection was sensory rather than verbal. The original intention to involve the invited guests through interviews with the Japanese concept of Ikigai (iki = life & gai = value), which deals with one's own vitality and the values for moving through the day, turned out to be irrelevant for the encounters . For this reason, over the course of research, more emphasis has been placed on the non-verbal experience in order to strengthen the feeling of one for the other.
In several sessions from October to December, the devices activated by the user's movements were designed to be as intuitive as possible, so that everyone can participate in the research. While the technology was used to increase the user's awareness and listening skills to deepen the connection, a sensitive movement value was created to gently involve guests in the experience.
Every encounter with the invited guests began with a physical warm-up by the choreographer Emi Miyoshi, who activated spatial awareness and dynamic movements and then moved on to a deeper connection with oneself through movement with one's own heartbeat. Gradually, a shift was made to move in relation to another person's heartbeat and additional sensors were added so the user could begin to change the sounds generated from the heartbeat while being in a physical, albeit one distanced dialogue with the other person.
The guests were between 7 and 89 years old. After each aspect of the score, short interviews were conducted by dramaturge Monica Gillette to open up a conversation about connectivity and intimacy and to continue the evolution of technology and encounters. Each guest felt a transformative experience in a variety of ways. For some, strong emotions were triggered. In others, energy surges were activated because the sound and volume of another person's heartbeat could be influenced.
All sessions and processes are filmed by videographer Marc Doradzillo.