Frozen song - Zero Visibility 10/25 2017

The piece Frozen songs is inspired by the Svalbard seed vault, choreographed by Ina Christel Johannesen for Zero Visibility corp.

On my way to the performance, I crossed the grey concrete surrounding Dansens hus, Oslo, and re-emerged after one hour 45 minutes of new impressions, with mixed feelings and a bag of seeds. The seeds made me even more aware of how sterile and free of vegetation the concrete streets in the Vulkan area are..

The first thing that struck me when the performance started, was that I'm somewhat tired of the "contemporary dance gaze", when the performers try to pretend they are not communicating while doing a duet. In the piece there was lots of great work on flow and teamwork and responses, but a lot of it was presented with that detatched gaze.. Maybe I noticed now since I haven't watched contemporary for a while, maybe it's habitual - but tonight it seemed artificial.

I also noticed another of my old hobby horses, regarding tasks men and women get on stage. Can't women lift men a bit too? We saw a long quartet sequence for Pia Elton Hammer and three men, where they were constantly accomodating her. Great flow and precision, but..

Seeds are great symbols of hope, and the seed bank itself is renowned for international collaboration. With that starting point in mind, I found the performance's atmosphere unexpectedly dark. Eco-pessimism? But then again, it can be seen as a rather pessimistic thing to do to build a seed vault.. I can think of some paradoxes the choreographer didn't appear to explore: does it really make sense to lock these seeds in an a place where they can't possibly grow? Isn't it a bit selfish to save mostly species humans need? And why Svalbard - is it for geopolitical reasons, the Kingdom of Norway simply needs to sustain enough activity there to ensure the Russians don't claim the islands?

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