WELLNESS is a site specific creation for the Palmenhaus in Vienna's Burggarten and was the first part of the The Perfect Garden Series.

Wellness describes the paradigm of a society of sensitivities. Feeling comfortable is one of the primary goals, at the same time standing for a condition from which more needs to be produced and consumed. Not surprisingly a whole market has evolved around this concept of Wellness, not only promising, but clearly selling it. This way Wellness stands for a culture of sensitivities that pay off. Bound by the conditions of Wellness we get invited to consume our own sensitivities and thereby ourselves. Depending on the perspective, we are cared for or caring, we are trained and train others, get caressed or caress others. This economics of sensitivities opens up a whole new repertoire of gestures and identities, which Liquid Loft took to their heart, in order to - while at the same time fascinated, but also puzzled by them - develop them into a production.

WELLNESS is part of The Perfect Garden, a series of live-performances and object installations in collaboration with the visual artist Michel Blazy.

Photos: Chris Haring


video: Michael Loizenbauer

The piece is embedded into the performance series “The Perfect Garden”. And this perfect garden not only stands for a patch of nature represented within the context of the Palmenhaus in Vienna’s Burggarten, but also for unstoppable growth. This garden grows and grows and grows… The corresponding set by Michel Blazy follows this logic of growth. As abstract as his creatures and plants, all made from foam, may appear, they relentlessly carve their way through time and space. The things growing and thriving here metaphorically remind of economics. Like the way the economics of sensitivities climbs and grows into the bodies, and through the bodies. And there is no stopping the comfort as it starts nesting in these bodies, feeding on them and digesting them. The dancers follow this process of digesting possible identities, as do the soundscapes provided by Andreas Berger. These growths of sound never hesitate to incorporate a wide spectrum of compositional figures and processes as well as electronic particles and noises which play the field of associations and oscillate between a machinery of sensitivities, primal screams and soundscapes from everyday ambiances. Subject to the coordinates of a policy of sensitivities, lust, pain, fear and ecstasy melt into each other. Together these elements of dance, performance, set and sound constitute a barrier where well-being becomes so intensely noticeable, that it starts to hurt. Well…

If this piece tells a story, it remains variable. It could be just as much about a game between nature and culture, as it could be about the translation of a policy of identity into a policy of the body. If there are motives, they call upon the associative realm; and the associative horizon stretches from the garden – which, this time, literally provides the background – on to Wellness. A wellness aiming at a subject that never feels well enough. This subject, considered to be deficient, may be providing the true starting-point for the piece: A subject that misses something, going on a quest to find something they haven’t been looking for. Thus the searching subject becomes a stunned character who is ultimately surprised by their self. And much the same way as this surprise becomes a new starting point for a further quest, the story evades having a beginning or an end. The piece already begun before it started and will not be over once it ended. And between those, a process emerges, a temporal membrane fishing the choreographed movements of dancers from the tragic-comical way of the world. That which gets stuck in this temporal filter is not related to any reason: neither is there a case made for a culture-critical thesis – not even about the fetish of Wellness and the economics of Wellness that build upon it, nor are there consequences to be extracted from a moral perspective.

Without reason and suspicion simple conditions are accepted in this piece: the notion of man is based on the existence of bodies and these bodies represent the same space they also occupy. The space surrounding them is structured and accompanied by music and sound. Body, music and sound provide the material for the language the piece develops in order to be able to ask the question, how body and space can be theorized in these times, which may be associated with our present. Without a reason or any recognizable goal the production aims at this present as a space in between, and without the thunder of a culture-critic conclusion, it focuses on the interim, the interlude. What comes into focus, are selective processes struggling for language and intensity, while they are surrounded by intensity. If the bodies are following a track, they are, at the same time, subjugated to the track’s pull. Intensity, which they presume to be somewhere – within the room, or themselves - attracts them and at the same time repells, throwing them off course, making them look for this intensity all over again. This dance is attraction and ejection at the same time: always within an imaginary present, which always holds the danger of falling out of time. Untimely, too early, too late the rivers of time run.

If something emerges, unpeels itself, it is not the human figure as a cocoon, but the fragment. In this piece the detail, the interlude and the moment tend towards fragmentation. The idea of the supposedly whole is not the topic, not even for a second, not even a secondary topic. The secondary topic could be the history of knowledge, which is also told here: the moment growing into a fragment embodies an experience which can not be translated into knowledge. What follows the one moment cannot build on the bygone moment, cannot be slowly assembled into knowledge; if there is knowledge emerging, it is the knowledge that we have to start from scratch again, follow a track once more, to be attracted and ejected by that track. The signum of this track is its repetition, which is mirrored in details of the dancers’ expression as well as in the structure of the piece.

If, one the one side, the detail is on being seized by and within a succesion of movements, it is the return of the fragmented on the other. It is only the simultanity of reocurrence and change that seems paradox: what is changed by its reocurrence, does not change because it reoccurs. And that which reoccurs within change, does not reocurre, because it has to change again every time in order to be able to reoccur as change at all. This membrane between reocurrance and change makes up the actual background for the bodies to dance in and be danced by the piece, even though they have no need to reference any reason or cause. Enough cause without reason… to feel wholly well.

Text: Andreas Spiegl
Translation: Oliver Stummer