Laboral Ciudad de la Cultura
Publication Type:
En Residencia
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FOREST was a site-specific installation for En Residencia commissioned by Laboral, Ciudad de la Cultura, Gijon, Asturias in Spain and the Welsh Arts Council. The installation and dance piece for FOREST ran from 28 February to 8 March 2009. Set in one of Europe’s largest elliptical domes rising over six storeys, this de-consecrated church was designed in the renaissance style and materialised in marble, stone and brick on a scale that was both imposing and oppressive. The discovery of the church’s pews caked in dust and stacked in rows in the vast underground maze of corridors created the opportunity for developing the concept of a type of ‘Nietzschian’ debunking of religious belief systems. The use of these large (up to 6 metres in length), heavy, disused and forgotten seating objects came through metaphorical improvisational compositions by standing them on end, creating a type of congregational ‘falling out’ of the once sitters. Later it was revealed that these pews were cut from a single tree from forests of a former Spanish colonial East African country and transported to Laboral. The original religious debunking meshed with the concept of reconstructing the desecrated forest. The setting up of the pews on end to create a sense of a false ceiling challenged the dome’s architectural dominance. Designed and spaced in a series of triangulations of 3, 5 and 7, they were supported by various dimensions of wood lengths taken from a demolished house. These massively heavy and imposing forms were finally clasped together by red clamps; blood stains of the fallen ‘Nietzschian’ Christ. Audiences moved through the forest of pews and could climb mid-way to the top of the dome and look at the forest in plan. A solo dance piece in response to the installation, that Anderson collaborated on as dramaturge, was conceived as a durational work over three hours.
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