Caesurae in Conversation with Mundaka
Adriana Drix and Diego Hauptman
Jayita: Thank you Adriana for the awesome photo-clips and the slide show in slow movement. Diego’s photography and his musical drones or after effects with Carsten’s Rudra Veena has created the ambiance of mysticism, which go so well with the concept we have been discussing for a while. What I like in the costumes and postures along with the backdrop and the music mixing is the multiplicity of cultural layers which you have been working with. Somehow, I am reminded of your flamenco beats with the Indian tala games we used to play when you were here in Kolkata some three years ago, on our dreamy boat rides across the Ganges with Diego and our other musician friend. And yes of course the memories of several conversations across time and space with you too blow back to me. We really look forward to watching the video. The visual impact is fascinating and powerful. It’s a play on one’s imagination. Here are some clarifications rather some points which have come to my mind, which would help in the better understanding of the concept for all readers I guess.
Well, Adriana, what was the inspiration for such an artistic conception of the secret dance? Is it spiritual as well as psychological? It kind of reminded me of Jung’s archetypes and his concept of the Anima in the cave.
Adriana: Absolutely. The cave represents myth and mystery. The indomitable feminine nature, the womb, and in that way, as much as potentially dangerous, and a refuge for the brave.
From time immemorial, dance has congregated societies in rites to celebrate and pray for auspicious birth, initiation, harvest, rain and fertility, love and death, as well as to pacify the rage of the elements and the wrath of the Gods. The secret dance is a form of meditation and a “place of prayer”. It's the quest through one´s inner depths through an ocean of “unknownness”. A leap of faith and a moment of silence. Away from the eyes of an audience, dancing secretly in natural grounds is a yogic experience.
This concept has always been there in my dance, what inspired and moved me most from the core, other than performing on stage even. And it is quite different than the everyday riyaz, which also is a form of yoga for me. But in this case here the focus is not on me as a dancer, my technique, or my choreographies, the sculpting of my art, but about the dance itself, that is there before me, beyond me. So, there I am silenced with a purpose that escapes my cognition, where even the concepts of sacred and divine are dissolved into “unknownness”. There I am dressed with surrender and reverence.
Remember God so much that you are forgotten.
Let the caller and the called disappear;
be lost in the Call.
Jayita: Yes, was reminded of Rumi a lot many times watching the photographs. The Sufi influence is quite apparent. Since we are yet to watch the video, and that Carsten is going to collaborate with you on his Rudra Veena, would be interested to know about the musical compositions Diego is exploring to blend with Carsten’s music.. Also, what was this choreography of the dance based on? A confluence of what genres of dance?
Adriana: We are currently researching the aesthetics we would like to follow for the video. As far as the score, so far, we are moving towards a mix of acoustic chords and electronic music. Not commercial, but experimental with a whisper of Musique Concrete. We have been listening to the fore runners of electronic music, such as Johanna Breyer (1888-1944), Eliane Radigue (1932), Delia Derbyshire (1937-2001), among others.
These women were really ahead of their times, touching the timeless with their sound experiments. In the seed state that we are, their inspiration has been quite suitable. But also, there is Wagner, and an incredible Spanish composer, Enric Granados. At the same time, Diego has a long research on Indian and oriental music in general. So, that is also at the foundation of it.
Indeed, the project is a confluence of genres.
At first there is a natural line of spontaneous movement towards modern dance and acting, an inspiration from the philosopher-dancers from the beginning of the 20th century, like Ruth Saint-Denis and Isadora Duncan, but also strong roots in flamenco and oriental dance forms. Nevertheless, I believe that there is a universal code of gestures when it comes to prayer and ritual, beyond all idiosyncrasies.
Working with an ever-welcoming attitude to experimental collaborations, it is sheer good fortune Jayita when you introduced us to Carsten Wicke. The depth of his Rudra Veena has suited our vision just right, as one of the possible main voices in this project.
Collaborating with such talented artist, a wide range of possibilities could unfold. His rendering of Raga Marwa added a unique substance to our soundtrack production for this preview, with tremendous richness of harmonics, deep bass and dissonances, which mirror the mystery and the beauty we found in The Tunnel.
Jayita: What “stories” that you mentioned to once regarding this project, are choreographed in the dance?
Adriana: Great question! We found this tunnel/cave by chance while we were actually going to another site of interest. In this region of Catalonia in northern Spain, you blink and you are surprised with the most spectacular views of fortresses and castles. There is a legend in this particular county that supposedly took place during the Spanish re-conquest. It’s called the “Legend of the Bushes that walk”.
The splendid Fortress of Mur was the center of the Moorish domination in the Tremp basin. The Christians had attempted to conquer it a number of times unsuccessfully. It was at the top of a mountain, surrounded by short bushes that anyone approaching could be seen from afar. One day, one of the heads of the Christian army, which some even say that could have been even the great Viscount of Ager, Arnau Mir de Tost, had an idea to surprise once and for all the moors at Mur. The army fully disguised with branches and leaves, very slowly and silently crawled up the mountain towards the castle. The Moorish princess sensing something unusual warned her father, asking him why did the grass moved as such. The Moorish king replied saying that there was nothing to worry, that it was because the northern winds from the Pyrenees blowing strongly. And in no time in that same day, the Christian army made it to the fortress, to finally conquer the Castle of Mur.
Jayita: Amazing! The story reminds one of Macbeth: “Till Birnam forest come to Dunsinane.” (Act V, Scene III). The attire has an appeal of its own. There is a very conscious use of colour symbolism – the black and silvery-white. Also, first the figure has a veiled face, then the figure in silvery white has open hair and unveiled face. The gestures, - it’s like an imaginative theatre of sorts enacting out a drama going on “inside”. Please could you talk on this further? Somehow the photos speak to me so much of the Sufi influence and remind me of Rumi’s lyrics, as you quoted one already.
Also, there’s a pattern in these photographs. – the movement from the caves to the green – from Black to white- veiled to unveiled – movement to the doorway of green and then back to the caves again with the face towards the audience. Please Explain.
Adriana: Yes. Rumi and Gibran are ever present in our collaboration, among others from Abhinavagupta, to Schopenhauer and Nietzsche.
The first figure is the initiated one. The one who has merged with the cave in surrender. The veiled character representing the faceless, the universal. The second one in silver is the one in search, in the quest for surrender. It is the artist who urges in the creative process for the cessation of being. That’s what Schopenhauer means when he speaks of the annihilation of Will. In a way the figures, are the souls in both Sambhoga and Vipralambha respectively.
Jayita: Somehow, I am reminded of Sri Aurobindo, when you say this: that the Psychic and the Spiritual are complementary to each other:
"Psychicisation means the change of the lower nature bringing right vision into the mind, right impulse and feeling into the vital, right movement and habit into the physical – all turned towards the Divine, all based on love, adoration, bhakti – finally, the vision and sense of the Mother everywhere in all as well as in the heart, her Force working in the being, faith, consecration, surrender.
The spiritual change is the established descent of the peace, light, knowledge, power, bliss from above, the awareness of the Self and the Divine and of a higher cosmic consciousness and the change of the whole consciousness to that." - Sri Aurobindo
Adriana: Fully identify. These writings convey more than what they mean as words. Thank you for sharing dear! Can sense the grace and prana here...
Jayita: If there’s anything you feel I haven’t grasped and you could tell me?
Adriana: We feel that you have grasped it all.
Just a few remarks on Diego´s photography:
He has been working as a photographer since he was a teenager. His father, Hugo Hauptman, is a photographer as well and they had a video and photo company, very active for many years in the National Iguassu Park, in the border of Brazil and Argentina.
Jayita: Thanks Adriana, for this important detail. I had always wondered at Diego’s photography skills. Well, a true artist needs the vision matched with expertise. We will wait for the video with bated breath!
Click Here to know about the Artists who have contributed for this video..