Interview: Theo Emil
Luca Curci talks with Theo Emil during FRAGMENTED IDENTITIES, the second appointment of BORDERS ART FAIR 2021, at Palazzo Albrizzi-Capello.
Theo was born in Vienna. Even before school he already started a contemporary dance educational program, filled with lots of creativity. Later on he participated, besides school/high school, various theater productions in Vienna including Die Physiker by Dürrenmatt and Die Summe der einzelnen Teile both at the Viennese Volkstheater. After school he went abroad to do his memorial service at the Jewish museum of Vilnius, LT. Back at Vienna, Theo started his BA in contemporary dance & education at the MUK (Musik and Arts university of the city of Vienna) and currently is living and working there. Appearances is his first solo choreography work to be published.
Luca Curci – What’s your background? What is the experience that has influenced your work the most?
Theo Emil – I was born and raised in Vienna, into a big, creative family. With the unconditional acceptance and support of my family and friends I was always able to be myself & express myself the way I wanted to, even though I bounced on some resistance in our society quite early already. But this support and acceptance as well as the hate and incomprehensibility of our society made me stronger.So the biggest influence forming my art work, definitely developed trough discriminatory moments that happened to me in daily life situations.In the moment of being attacked for the way who you are, I got into this condition of being paralyzed/confused/hurt(emotionally, physically)/angry/…, but afterwards I became somehow inure to these situations and almost started to hide my true self.At some point I realized how much I have been hiding my true self and my identity. Especially Dance helped me to keep my true self and everything connected to it,”alive”. So in the end it was my personal daily live that become the biggest influence of this Work.
LC – What is art for you?
TE – The freedom of Expression. The right to be. The possibility to exist.
LC – Do you use art to express something in particular? Is it your medium of expression?
TE – Well Yes, for me art is a way of communicating with everybody, so I definitely express myself through art. But I think there is nothing specific I could name right now. With dance it’s always connected to time and space, so its changing all the time and it is different everywhere I go. For me and again for everybody else. So it is in a constant development and change.
LC – Which is the role the artist plays in society? And contemporary art?
TE – So, I work in the field of contemporary dance and as I said before there is no special theme or subject I could name or I would name to be something that I prefer, but definitely there is an importance to me in queer art. To be visible as a queer Artist in our society because too many people still do not understand that it is not a choice but just a fact that people are queer, that gender is just a construct of our society. I think contemporary art has the possibility and responsibility to spread awareness, to be honest and direct and to achieve change in our societies behavior and ways of thinking.
LC – Can you explain something about the artworks you have in our exhibition?
TE – Appearances reflects on the many layers of one identity can have, of the fear to show all of them and at the same time the power because they are being presented anyways. It also questions why it is such a big deal if one shows different external appearances and tries to give a thought-provoking impulse about the deconstruction of gender stereotypes and gender construct and it’s mechanisms in our society. What difference does it make to you if I wear high heels or sneakers, and why does it make a difference? It crosses devised borders and demands response by the society, may it be positive or negative, as long as there is a debate. So definitely there is the questioning of a personality, how a personality is treated in our society and how borders are built and thereby forming or even holding back an identity.
LC – What do you think about ITSLIQUID Platform?
TE – I think it is a great opportunity, especially for artists to connect, get internationally networking and the possibility to show their works. I am very happy and thankful to be part of it.
LC – Do you think ITSLIQUID GROUP can represent an opportunity for artists?
TE – Yes, definitely. It also depends what the artist does out of it. Maybe it’s just being used as the possibility to exhibit (already that can give you some opportunities) or also one can explicit uses the platform for networking and connecting.