Through “If You Could See Me Now”, Arno Schuitemaker creates a physical weave made of alternations and innovations, of slow changes that gradually embrace complexity, incorporating the energy underlying the intrinsic dimension of movement. An apparent randomness that acts, if anything, provoking, contracting and alternating with the precision of the performers’ bodies, by revealing the fatigue of a physical work that, from barely perceptible, becomes explicitly declared and compelling. In “If You Could See Me Now” club dance changes into a choreographic encounter amid dancing bodies, interplaying with the concepts of time and duration, opening up to a combination of imperceptibly surfaced meanings. Between dance and performance, signification becomes a process nestled in the folds of a fluid and powerful time, directing perception within an essential and minimalist space. A shared experience based on the reinvention of movement that allows the emotions acting in the depth of being to resurface, liberating them.
The performance by the Dutch artist and choreographer was presented to the audience at the Teatro Kismet in Bari on November 30th, closing the ninth edition of BIG | Bari International Gender Festival. The transfeminist cinema and performative arts event, which explores themes of identity, body, and relationships since 2015, with the artistic direction by Tita Tummillo and Miki Gorizia, activated a dense program of reflections and heterogeneous practices that contaminated the city of Bari throughout all the month of November.
The choice to conclude this edition of the festival with the show “If You Could See Me Now” is linked to its resonating power and the ritualistic dimension intrinsic to aggregative situations and the club music that it depicts. More precisely, as stated by Miki Gorizia, it is thanks to this concrete aspect that «the show manages to trigger a hypnotic effect through repetition, in which the spectator cannot help but be involved in the perpetual motion of the dancers, intensifying and slowing down, only to regain strength. In this choice, there is the intention for the effects of BIG to remain resonant in the audience, like an echo, even after the festival». The artist’s choreography opens up to a dynamic gestural progression played out in submersions and resurgences, continuously acting from a precise articulation. The presence of the audience thus becomes an integral part of the complexity of the movement, intertwining with the performance on an emotional and subtle level. “If You Could See Me Now” is not just a performance but a hyperphysical and immersive experience linked to original and emancipated inventiveness, played on the intersections between intimate and universal dimensions. A dance entrusted to the motion of bodies that tells the attempt to connect to the intimacy of time.
The performance hypnotically transforms the primitive gestural trace, reaching a full connection with being through the discovery of one’s limit that, opening up to the outside and dialoguing with the contiguous spaces of corporeality, becomes insignificant and inconsistent. And what does remain of this bodily wandering within the performative/narrative act? Nothing but illusory distances among bodies in an empty – therefore expandable – spatial dimension that, in contact with the audience, finds its raison d’être. The urgency of sharing guided the just-concluded edition of BIG, gathering desires and dreams within the expression “Big Dream”. As Tita Tummillo recounted: «It has been a month of shared dreams, which were experienced through common visions. We experienced the time of being a collective body, proposing radical artistic practices that opened unprecedented and necessary horizons for reflection. The BIG 2023 has seen a growth in recognition from an increasingly diverse audience that followed us in over fifteen venues scattered throughout the city of Bari. The choice to blend the local contemporary scene with the national and international one is a determining element that continues to characterize our festival, by making it a unique example in Southern Italy. It will be missed by all the citizens». And for us, all that remains is to wait for next year. To Dream a Big Dream. Again.
Arno Schuitemaker, If You Could See Me Now
in BIG | Bari International Gender Festival 2023
curated by Tita Tummillo and Miki Gorizia
promoted and organized by Cooperativa sociale AL.I.C.E., (Area Arti Espressive)
03/11/2023 – 30/11/2023
Giuliana Schiavone. Art critic and curator based in Italy and Mexico dedicated to the communication and teaching of visual arts. Active contributor to national and international art and fashion magazines as well as promotion of contemporary art. Actively working for cultural and exhibition projects. Graduated as Art Historian and Jazz Musician with a Master in Art Curatorship following an interdisciplinary vision of artistic and aesthetic phenomenons.