VOID with Irina Anufrieva

Irina Anufrieva is a choreographer, dancer and current resident in our studio. She is using the studio time for a revisit as she is taking up the work of her solo dance performance VOID, originally performed in Minsk in 2013. We asked her to tell us some more about the piece and how she has been working with the topic – torture:

photo by A. Stolyarov

– VOID is a solo dance performance based on Diamanda Galás’ work Schrei 27 (1996). It is about torture in isolation.

I got my first vision of this work in summer 2012 when I was rehearsing another performance for a project in Moscow. I heard “Hee Shock Die” from Schrei 27 by Diamanda Galás and I got a vision of a room and a body in it. I was literally possessed by it and continued hearing and seeing it.

VOID was created in autumn 2012 and winter 2013. During that time I did all the research for the piece, worked on the choreography and developed the physical vocabulary and language.
VOID was presentedin February 2013 at The First Forum of Physical and Dance Theatres PlaStfoma-2013 in Minsk, Belarus and in November 2013 within the program of The Platform for New Performative Practices ziErnie also in Minsk, Belarus.

In VOID I embody acts of torture enforced onto a human being as well as the physical and mental effects of it unfolding in time.

I place my body into the room where the act of torture takes place and/or took place at a certain point of time. This is a room where it once happened.I then place my body into that frame of time, the time when it happened and forever after. VOID is a body being exposed to torture and it is the memory of a body that went through it.

We got curious of this and asked Irina to elaborate on her methods for dealing with this very specific topic of bodily experience. Did she have a personal experience as a point of reference for this or is the mentioned time and place that she embodies fictional or inspired by something else?

– I work documentary. This is an attempt and this is where my interest lies. Personally I have not experienced the kind of torture I research in VOID. However I have been close enough to it to know it in my skin and in my bones.

Life takes many forms and uncloses itself in various ways. At times you are the character of the play, at times you happen to be the witness of a horror and you will never be the same again.

To develop movement for VOID I do the study of physical manifestations as a result of various kinds of brutal interventions on the human body and mind. VOID is a story of a body that once was a human being.

Irina has a background in Butoh, a dance form that is hard to define as it has been described to be defined by its very evasion of definition. For her the Butoh practice relates to how she is creating and working with movement.

– There are many various methods within butoh. How we approach body, mind, movement – it varies a bit within this dance form. I was learning within a method that approaches body and movement rather scientifically. One studies scrupulously a certain force of nature, for example, and uses it to create movement. This is the part of it that is very close to me and how I work with movement too.

During the residency at c.off Irina have focused primarily on the physical part of the work. Immersing herself in the material of the performance she worked with her body, building the physical strength necessary to perform this work. Later this year, on October 12-13, VOID will be presented at Fylkingen in Stockholm.

photo by A. Stolyarov

More about VOID: 


video documentation