Luca Curci talks with Marija Krtolica, Despina Sophia Stamos and Flow Flo during ANIMA MUNDI FESTIVAL 2019 – VISIONS at Palazzo Ca’ Zanardi
Marija Krtolica is a movement/dance artist and scholar (MFA in choreography UC Davis, MA in performance studies NYU, PhD in dance Temple University). She has been making and showing work since early 1990s. Currently, she is a part-time faculty at Bloomsburg University. In fall 2019 article, “Expression and Symptom” was published by Documenta (University of Ghent, Belgium). Florence Benichou‘s expansive includes site-specific performance –both as dancer and choreographer voice over as well as acting work. She sees dance as a language and aims to use movement within various media to express individual and social relationships, limitations, conflicts and connections. She has worked with a variety of underground New York art and dance companies including Modern Dance Awareness Society, Human Kinetics Movement Art, and the Sanctuary of Hope before creating her own projects which were featured at Gallery 138 in New York, and France. Despina Stamos is a dancer/choreographer in NYC since 1989. Her work has been presented throughout New York City at such venues as Dance Theater Workshop, PS122, PS1, as well internationally in Greece, Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Puerto Rico. In 2006, Despina initiated and collaborated on the community project, passTRESpass, a multimedia performance installation in a former community market place addressing immigration, in Athens, with the United African Women’s Organization of Greece. Stamos is founding member of the Modern Dance Awareness Society.
Luca Curci – What’s your background? What is the experience that has influenced your work the most?
Flow Flo: My background in classical, contemporary dance, contortion, and exploration of various ways to express my body with no boundaries.
Marija Krtolica: I am a dance artist, who has spent last 7 years engaging in historical and theoretical research in libraries and archives, and finding ways of joining philosophical and intellectual understanding of movement with a studio practice. My PhD. dissertation “The Embodiment of the Unconscious: Hysteria, Surrealism and Tanztheater” centered on dance modernism’s contested relationship with psychiatric power. The most important recent influence was a visit to Salpetrière hospital in Paris – where Jean-Martin Charcot developed his influential theory of hysteria.
LC – Which subject are you working on?
FF: Subject matter is hysteria studied on women in the 19th century.
MK: Directly – hysteria, indirectly – relationship between spectatorship, embodied expression, and symptom in psychoanalysis.
LC – What is your creative process like?
FF: My creative process is to find as much fluidity as possible in my body and create space in my mind letting go as much as possible to get into the character or expression I want to share in performances. To do that I train my body a lot in various ways, and try to create as much space in my mind as possible. This piece has also led me to explore my voice and how to use it for this I started to take theatre classes.
MK: My process combines theoretical research and reading before rehearsal, instant creation of movement material in which kinetic surprise and shape production play equally important roles, and analysis of meanings that emerge.
LC – Are your artworks focused on a specific theme?
FF: In my work I am inspired to express human relationships, internal struggle, absurd situations. And search to question the public in various ways.
MK: Ruptures in smooth functioning of ideological and esthetic apparatuses; explosions, and dissonances leading to restructuring of the known forms, and renewed ethics in human relationships.
LC – How is being an artist nowadays?
FF: Being an artist nowadays I feel demands more and more dedication and passion in order not to give up. Living in NY life is very expensive and the arts not well founded, requires from all of us a constant juggling with other jobs so to be able to pay the bill.
MK: Difficult, even desperate at times (mainly for reasons given by Flo), but rewarding if the work is seen and thought about even by one spectator in a theater.
DSS: Difficult as there is little production support.
LC – We were attracted by your last artistic production, has the artwork presented been created for the festival or as a part of preexisting works?
FF: I would love to explore and travel with presenting in specially in Paris and Austria where hysteria was explored.
MK: In total agreement with Flo: we are looking for ways of joining historical travel through sites of “hysterical contagion”, and deepening our explorations of forms and meanings of symptoms… Aspects of this project were already presented at Marxist Education Project (NYC) before I started working with Despina and Flo. In December 2019, Flo, Despina and I will show the work with an introductory talk.
LC – Do you agree with our vision of art and what do you think about the theme of the festival?
FF: I really loved the way the festival presented various talented artist from everywhere.
MK: The festival was inspiring and well thought out. The organizers and selected artists were committed to non-conformist aesthetics, which was refreshing. The theme created a bridge between variety of artistic approaches, and media.
LC – Would you suggest a collaboration with us? What do you think about our services?
FF: A collaboration with Itsliquid in its various locations would be nice.
MK: Yes, collaboration with Itsliquid is a pleasure for artists: atmosphere, environment, and “magical” flow of events invite reflection, and experimentation.
LC – Did you enjoy cooperating with us?
MK: Yes, it was exciting, beautiful, and unforgettable.