Installation performance at Vandaler Forening (Oslo), in May 2017:
Photos by Jenny Marie Hviding and Mark-r
How much are we willing to compromise in order to fit into society? How can we meet our own needs and wishes in ways that can serve or contribute to something valuable? These are some of the questions that the project started with and that we will continue developing throughout our work.
We want to bring the audience into a space created to give the sensation of the pressure we feel from the world around us. Both performers and audience will meet in a way that is beyond just roles or social personas, while looking for ways to open up our minds and understanding the maze we all
have in us, between us and around us.
History & Theme:
“Maze of My Skull” was made by Kyuja Bae & Sarah F. Jahn, with consultation of BBB Johannes Deimling in 2010 for their second year independent project at Norwegian Theatre Academy in Fredrikstad Norway. They established a group called Shinbal Company in 2016 together with Katarina Henriksen and Sophie Barth to cultivate the project exploring more in between the genres of theatre and installation, and also interactive performance and ritual performance.
Our original starting point, and inspiration for this project came from the two sentences “Yesterday I stopped killing myself” and “Tomorrow has been cancelled”, from “Hamlet machine” by Heiner Müller. The space in between these sentences is what triggered our project, emphasising the point when we stop changing who we are in order to fit in and facing the unknown consequence of tomorrow.
There are many questions related to these sentences from Heiner Müller’s work. For instance, if we stop putting on a mask to please the society, who will we be tomorrow? We have all faced different situations where we have to make a decision that will affect how we are perceived, and how we
perceive others and ourselves. Often most choices we make are based on a set of norms from the culture we are raised in, and most of them are not even recognised as compromises. We want to question what people define as a compromise and what they see as a habit:
How big should a compromise be for us to stop and think what we actually want?
What are we willing to give up?
These are some examples of the boundaries that we want to explore further and map out in our project. Prior to our performance at Vandaler Forening we plan to gather as much information as we can regarding what people do to “fit in” by doing interviews and research.
We will ask people questions such as what part of your personality changes when you leave the safety of your own house? Or what do you define a safe territory for truly being yourself?
We will approach the questions from an individual angle into a collective understanding, to find out how people make sacrifices to be a part of a group or environment. We hope that it will make people to reflect upon how our choices affect our identity, and how society affects our choices.
We would like to explore how an interactive and ritual performance works together in the context of an installation. There will be a live performance that has certain improvisational elements while also reflecting our central ideas. The installation thereby merges with the performance in a timebased piece. We are inviting the audience into our research space, and in this way also collecting information and inspiring material for the further development of the project. Thereby we consciously seek out spaces such as Vandaler Forening where we can communicate with the audience in a more natural setting than in the traditional theatre. The site-specificity of the performance installation is thus key, as we want to bring it into different locations and settings to
discover the effect of new sites and environments. How will it fit in?
The project is highly dependent on the interaction with the audience to function, and we want to create a space where one can see our performance installation from different angles.
Kyuja Bae (Original creator/Artistic director/Performer)
is an interdisciplinary artist based on Norway working in the field of dance, theatre performance art and writing, originally from South Korea. She studied Theatre and creative writing at Norwegian Theatre Academy (Akademi for scenekunst in Fredrikstad) and Korean National University of Arts.
Sarah F. Jahn (Original creator/ scenographer)
is a scenographer who studied at The Norwegian Theatre Academy (Akademi for scenekunst in Fredrikstad) 2009-2012. She has been involved as a costume scenographer and costume designer while also being the techincal manager for the tour of ”When the Frogs Sing” by Kyuja Bae
Company. She is interested in offering the audience an experience that is different from a traditional theatre setting.
Katarina Skår Henriksen (co-creator/performer)
is a professional dancer, moving artist and an explorer of life, interested in the relationship between poetry, art and nature. She often explores her works with the awareness of nature, where both outside/ cityscape/ landscape is used as locations to research and to perform through dance and performance art. She studied at the University of Stavanger, Artness home and Prosjektskolen in Oslo.
Sophie Charlotte Barth (Co-creator/producer)
is a director, performer and producer based in Oslo. She graduated from East 15 Acting School (London) with an MA in Theatre Directing, and specialises in site-specific performance. She is exploring interdisciplinary practices and she finds her material by merging art installation,literature, and theatre in public spaces. As she also works in a library, she experiments with different ways of using live performance in this setting.
Video projection stills by Jan Hajdelak Husták: