#ResidencyInsights
Alma Toaspern


by Fabio Neis

Category
Artists in residence

3 questions // Alma Toaspern

1 In your current work you deal with the dramaturgy of dreams. Is there a certain nexus between the structure of dreams and dance? 

Yes, we think there is. We assume to find it somewhere between what we know and the subconscious. If dreaming is considered a subconscious thinking process in images in a state of physical lowered activity, dance improvisation could be seen as a similar subconscious thinking process in heightened physical activity. Often the dreamer processes familiar situations from the recent past which then get stirred into a sometimes wild stream of subconscious chatter and imagery. In this very early phase of the research we are approaching our body knowledge as a departing point to let it get stirred up with other realities. 

 

2 Do you have specific routines or sequences of work processes during a residence?

This is a very early stage of the research and therefore a very delicate one. As a group of people with backgrounds in dance, visual art and music we want to keep the space open for spontaneous inspirations which for us often means to let go of too structured procedures or too intentional material collection. Sometimes seemingly random excursions on topics happen to be a crucial and decisive entry point for the project. That also means to drop the truthfulness to the initial concept for a while and re-define it from the newly gained perspectives which is a revealing process. In our case we have been looking into scientific sleep research as well as taking journeys into shamanic practices to possibly enter altered states of consciousness. 

The abstraction process and the defining of composing procedures will happen in later stages and they will derive from this research.

As a base for this project we have started to trace our dreams by writing dream journals since many months, some of us can date back their dream journals several years. This helps us to point out recurring elements in the dramaturgy of a dream. 

Spending a lot of time together (also besides studio time) is one of the highly appreciated routines.

 

3 Is there an exhibition or film that has recently been following you into your dreams?

Sometimes dreaming is similar to watching a movie. Dreams can be made of scenes, have the aesthetics of the use of the camera and the rhythm of the cuts, shifts of perspectives and specific forms of suspense. Marc dreams up exhibitions, art pieces and artist personae. Even entire museums. Projects soon to come in waking life..

We don’t recall the title of the movie, but it's this movie about a film production. The main actor wears a green gorilla suit without head. They take a break between shooting scenes, and he spots an art gallery on the other side of the street. It’s an installation, a boutique with black gorilla suits in steel frames, and carpets on the floor like giant dollar bills with the word MENSCH written on them. The artist himself is in a yellow gorilla suit, also without a head, and has liquor bottles in his hand. He gets drunk from just one sip. But he had to return to the movie production across the street, the crew is waiting for him.

Inside view // Trafohaus, PACT Zollverein

In her new piece The dreams in which I’m dying choreographer and dancer Alma Toaspern deals with the often abstruse and illogical dramaturgy of dreams. In collaboration with Susanne Grau, Rocio Marano and Marc Behrens she works around the often illogical and absurd dramaturgy of dreams and the continuum of failure and interruption. With a strong focus on physical exploration they especially look into the experiencing of final scenarios and liminal states in dreams.