trans corporal formations

a 5 channel video installation, 2021

In dance, bodies appear less in their being than in their becoming, in a perpetual transformation and in mutual exchange with their environment. The dancing body can appear virtuous and powerful – as an expression of overcoming human limits as in the western tradition of classical dance. But the dancing body can also show itself precisely human and vulnerable, as a body that is always confronted with its own dissolution. 

Berlin-based artist Tobias Staab has collaborated with five dancers from Richard Siegal / Ballet of Difference to create choreographies that invoke the transformative potential of the body.  In the 5-channel video installation TRANS CORPORAL FORMATIONS, different movement traditions meet, which take up and quote valid codes, but at the same time also subvert and break through them. Alongside the Western tradition of classical ballet, non-European references also appear. For example to Butoh, the "dance of darkness", which for the first time gave a stage to outcast and marginalized bodies in post-war Japan. Ecstatic whirling bodies also bring to mind the trance dances of the Sufi. At other moments, the dance movements and the almost hologram-like bodies are reminiscent of an underground club culture in the process of disappearing.

Eventually, the potential for transforming the bodies is found in the medium itself: the filmed material was processed with a specially developed algorithm that confuses the chronology of the movements. Under the "false" use of an Open Artificial Intelligence, which was actually developed to produce slow motion, digital images are produced that were never filmed. In this way, human bodies morph into inhuman surreal forms, creating their own choreography of the digital. In passing through different forms, the dancing body thus appears as a site of utopia, where the difference of a binary-structured gender dissolves just as the boundaries between the human and the non-human, between analog and virtual reality.

Weakened LONG.00_05_09_31.Standbild006
PEARL Epilepticus III Caravaggio SHORT Cut.00_05_53_09.Standbild001
ANDREA Epilepticus III Caravaggio SHORT Cut .00_06_17_20.Standbild002
LONG Animal Short.00_02_24_56.Standbild007
ANDREA Animal Short.00_03_34_48.Standbild001
ANDREA Animal Short.00_04_42_10.Standbild003


Dancers: Black Pearl De Almeida Lima, Livia Gil, Andrea Mocciardini, Evan Supple, Long Zou

Choreography: Tobias Staab in collaboration with the dancers of Richard Siegal / Ballet of Difference

Direction, editing and concept: Tobias Staab

Scenography and concept: Nadja Sofie Eller

Costumes: Annika Lu Hermann

Music: Benedikt Brachtel

Timewarp Choreography: Michael Saup

Camera: Florian Schaumberger

Lighting: Jan Steinfatt 

In co-production with DANCE Festival Munich, Richard Siegal / Ballet of Difference, Muffatwerk Munich and Schauspiel Cologne. Supported by the Kulturreferat München.