Mette Ingvartsen
evaporated landscapes

Evaporated Landscapes is an artificial world that behaves according to rules of evaporation, dissolution and transformation. Departing from ephemeral materials and matters like light, sound, bubbles and foam the performance constructs landscapes of various kinds. Some of the artificial landscapes resemble nature, as we know it from the past, others look more like futuristic inventions. In either case they produce sensations of calmness and rest but also fascination and surprise, impressions we normally attribute to the world of natural wonders.

Evaporated landscapes is a science fictional fabulation. It is about trying to create fiction through mechanical extensions, not of the body but of nature. It is a reflection on how nature could look in the future when we no longer have access to the resources that are in decay today. But more than that it is a fiction existing inside the theater space, almost like an artificial garden that offers you a moment to slow down and enjoy a series of “un-natural wonders”, at the same time as being aware that these little magical tricks are produced by machines.

The performance has a lot to do with what kind of relationship people have to nature today or maybe rather to the fact that idea of nature no longer exists. You have to travel very far to reach un-spoiled, un-touch nature areas. Mountains that are not made into ski-stations and beaches that have not been overgrown with hotels are hard to find, but of course much more importantly air and water that has not been polluted by CO2 and other emissions that today make it, that the idea of pure nature no longer “exists”.

Evaporated Landscapes is an experiment with what a performance can be. In the performance choreography no longer belongs to the organization of bodies and their movements in space, rather it is understood to be the relationships that operate between ephemeral elements, as they magically float and dissolve. The movements that appear do not only show up in space but also within the bodies of the spectators due to the sensations and perceptions they encounter throughout the performance.

Evaporated Landscapes departs from the idea of immaterial set-design, from how to create a space that would be elusive, changeable and transformative but at the same time have real properties like temperature, color, density and locality. The ephemeral elements, light and sound are used as a way of achieving a transformable topological space. The performance follows a score based on the idea of making the bodies of the spectators “the place” of the performance.

“I wanted to find out how spectators would react if they would walk into an entirely dark space that would only be lit by sparse flashes of light, offering a glimpse of the seating areas. I was curious about to which extend people would be able to use their memory of what they had seen in the light glimpse to navigate towards their seats. I also thought a lot about how the spectators would be sitting inside this transforming space. So, not watching the materials from a distance but be emerged in them, sitting with their feet in the dry ice, or being able to reach out and touch the bubbles or the smoke. In that sense it really became a work on scale, proportion, proximity and how to produce intimacy towards materials as if they would be animate objects.”

Mette Ingvartsen  (2011)