Drift I

performed by Thomas Bîrzan and Mario Barrantes Espinoza

Two hoodies. One is black, the other pale pink. It could be a sculpture. Or they could be hiding living bodies, seated on a large, grass-coloured carpet, their backs turned to the audience. With sustained softness, the pair stretch time, carefully. Like overgrown teenagers trying out a new seduction technique, they move their hands slowly towards each other behind their backs, almost touching yet giving the illusion of stillness. The light transitions from green to fuchsia. Muffled techno music starts to rumble. At that point, we don’t know anything about these anonymous figures. When they finally show their faces, lying on top of one another, the two hoodies turn into men’s bodies. Drift I tricks us into realising that we associate pink with femininity without questioning it. Thomas Bîrzan and Mario Barrantes Espinoza guide us into a post-apocalyptic daydream: they are, in effect, shadows of tomorrow.

The day’s schedule. The exact shade of the carpet (grey? Mint green? Celadon?). The previous day’s schedule. The subtle pattern created by brushed fibres on the carpet. The following day’s schedule. The soles of the dancers’ feet, all improbably clean.

The list of things Thomas Bîrzan and Mario Barrantes Espinoza’s Drift I gave this writer space to contemplate stretches on. Then again, taking half an hour to go from sitting to lying on the ground to standing will wear down the most generous of audiences.

The opening tableau, with its two huddled silhouettes in contrasting hoodies facing the back of the stage, held some promise. Were they men? Women? As their hands inched towards each other with all the energy of a rheumatic snail, however, this slight sense of mystery soon lost any appeal. It takes undeniable skill to move in such extreme slow motion. If only there were any point to it.

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Spring Forward
5-7 April 2019
Val de Marne, France

Watch on demand: aerowaves.org/springforward

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