Composer, Interdisciplinary artist, Performer, Researcher, Lecturer
Photo by Michael Aust
A film and an audio album: Amaranthine
São Paulo, Brazil
P. Strahovnik: Be
Primož Sukič – Guitar
Festival Cultural Europeu
Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil, Brazil
P. Strahovnik: Be
Primož Sukič – Guitar
Universidade Federal Do Rio Grande Do Sul – UFRGS, Porto Alegre, Brazil
P. Strahovnik: Be
Primož Sukič – Guitar
Der Sommer in Stuttgart, Stuttgart, Germany
P. Strahovnik: SCREAdoM
Commissioned by Muzički Biennale Zagreb and Neue Vocalsolisten Stuttgart
Supported by Fonds Podiumkunsten
P. Strahovnik: Sense (part of The Eternal Now project)
Supported by B-Air, Fonds Podiumkunsten and Investeringsfonds Muziek
P. Strahovnik: December
Nataša Kramberger – Author and performer
P. Strahovnik: A-ROUSE
Commissioned by Swedish Radio
Opera project is inspired by the novel “Ballerina, Ballerina” by Slovenian Author Marko Sosič.
The central heroine Ballerina, who through her ‘sowing’, more surreal than sick optics before the reader’s eyes, unfolds the very everyday story of a very everyday Slovenian coastal family in a place above Trieste – is a person with neuroatypical perception or autism. Her soul is constantly dreaming of the world in its own image, staring at the high starry sky above it, where a satellite travels in its time, and in this way it longs for itself. In Ballerina’s ‘sowing’ optics, the world is at once sharp and top, lyrically fragile and ruthless. Cruel, but often, thankfully, also short-lived. It is us, here and now, always an unpredictable world.
“With her narrowed perspective, the Ballerina not only experiences the real world, but with her otherness, her distance, her madness, and her tendency to peel herself off the ground and find her way into a kind of vertical of her unconscious, she far exceeds. Maybe it was she, so different, so crazy, who opened the door for me that I became interested in human mental and emotional deviations very early on. Maybe also because I myself would have wanted to turn away from the spiritual poverty of society, but I didn’t dare, I didn’t know how.” – Marko Sosič
Opera piece is not a dramatization of the novel, but instead an ephemeral sound-space where the inspirations and inner atmospheres of Ballerina come to life. The stage is divided into imaginary chambers where everyone’s individual and intimate artistic action takes place: action slowly becomes a reaction, reaction becomes an action of its own, and soloistic awareness graduates into a collective symphonic interaction.
The complex perspective and train of Ballerina’ thought, influencing her emotions and senses, is channelled through three art disciplines. The duality of two singers as an aspect of complex emotions in the world of Ballerina is expressed through musical concept Continuum, where the beautiful mind, intense emotions, complex personality, ‘unite and divide’ are under a magnifying glass.
“I took the book ‘Ballerina, Ballerina’ in my hands, right when I was in very confused times. Torn between an inner world of ideas manifesting in audible creations and the outside world, which when I did not even get to know myself, expected from me to be a perfect Society’ resident, play multiple characters of a life, and to act (live) as my culture taught me to act (live). The inner world, along with existential questions, was taking over, while the reality demanded things from me to do on daily bases. I could envision from her eyes, I felt what she felt, I was Ballerina, I am Ballerina. The sensations overtook by body, the emotions my mind. My breathing became shallow and from very far I could see, feel, touch one sound engaging with the other.” – Petra Strahovnik
The objective theatrical point of view is supported by a live-camera on stage that focuses one detail after another, resulting in a projection of micro-moments as a subjective truth. The camera is also a performer, an instrument of a live VJ situated on the set. Every performer creates its own private story, and all together they embody the associative inner world of Ballerina’s mind. Actions happen, reactions interweave, emotions pour, and the normally closed inner world of the heroine is exhibited so that the audience can plunge into it and deeply connect with her.
In a joint project led by Radio Slovenia, nine partner organisations from eight European countries are exploring how our cognitive, emotional and personal development is influenced by auditory stimuli, and what sound means to people and the world around us. The title of the project, B-Air, can be decoded into B for baby and AIR for Art Infinity Radio, explains Tina Kozin and Saška Rakef. Renowned Slovenian and foreign composers, directors, writers will create symphonic works, sound installations and radio games for babies and toddlers; more specific professional programmes for vulnerable target groups will also be created, for example, facilitating voice contact between mother and new-born/premature baby in an incubator; the use of music in the pre-preparation for examinations and interventions, the use of music in the rehabilitation of specific developmental delays (especially in the area of speech), the development of tools to make audio content accessible to the deaf and hard of hearing, etc. The artistic process will be complemented by expert meetings with international participation, workshops and lectures, which will also be complemented by in-depth educational and journalistic production.
For almost a month I exposed myself to the public eye and let the performance influence the creativity and the composition itself. The idea was to write a piece for orchestra and two performers. I wrote by hand, with a pencil on a piece of paper, which has been my compositional practice for the last 15 years. The essence is to let go, to write, to create. The eternal moment here and now. I wanted to challenge the moment of creation and share the intimate process with the audience.
I experience, the moment of creating, very intensely. I’ve had a hard time coming to terms with who I am and what creating does to me. I don’t just hear and see the artwork, I experience it with all my senses, especially physically on my body. During the period when the artwork is finished and I am in the time/space when it should have been translated into physical reading material, the work is constantly running through my mind. Day and night, until the last beat. Very intense.
I wondered if/how exposing my body and mind while composing will affect the creative process and the composition itself. The idea for the project comes from observing and possibly experiencing the artwork during its creation. My intention is to maintain authenticity and uniqueness while capturing presence and awareness. I feel the need to translate this intensity into the composition itself. I imagine 60 musicians surrounding the audience, facing the wall, two metres apart and alone. Each one has his own part, which is not made up of any interrupting music/sound. The intensity of the movement of the hand up and down the strings is an indication of the written rhythm and therefore the colour of the sound. Mind and body, internally connected. Through movements and intensity the concept of performance art begins to emerge. Two performers on stage struggle for their own presence. They are looking for an “in between” where neither time nor space exist. Only if the balance is right and the time is perfect, the performance material of both performers opens up and gives that moment of eternity.
With Slovenian writer Nataša Kramberger we are creating a radio opera from the chapter ‘December’ of her latest novel ‘Primerljivi Hektarji’. Our Art Residency at Villa Concordia allowed us to work closely together and to conceive the initial idea of this project. The recording took place in various locations in Bamberg. The recording space played a key role in projecting the emotional colour that unfolds between the words of this novel. Sound objects, composed improvisation on the piano, violin sounds and more complex sound images of my musical language are used as musical material. Working closely with the writer allowed me to gain a deeper insight into the events, as the novel is autobiographical in nature. The first paragraph takes you to a moment of intense anxiety, which leads to a panic attack. The carefully chosen words open up an invisible link between the reader and the writer. It takes your breath away, it gives you a feeling of empathy. Sensibility is the key and the ground tool of this artistic project.
The International Performance Association is an evolving network of process-oriented artists dedicated to the physical experience of cultural identity through the professional practice of performance art. IPA aims to provide a platform for these artists from all over the world to exchange ideas and promote performance art. Since 2006, they have launched a series of workshops, performance festivals and meetings to encourage the development of the participants’ artistic endeavours. By 2019, when the “Don Quixote” took place in Frankfurt am Main, 421 artists from 43 different countries participated in IPA events. The performative concept of IPA focuses on the person of the artist, on his socio-cultural journey, so to speak. The performative image develops on and through this person. This image is radically questioned by the COVID 19 Pandemic project. It demands a changed practice of social exchange in terms of offline exchange, physical contact. All aspects of identity, triggered by gender and social codes, undergo a fundamental reversal due to the currently demanded practice of distance. The whole system of values underpinning social coexistence is fundamentally reoriented.
‘Toxic Inhale’ is a setting along with ‘Beyond the Civilised Body’ for a performative work for two or more performers. In a search for new ways to intertwine musical language with performance art, which influence one another, but live in symbiosis, we work through close collaboration and intense practice. Breath is a fundamental action for living, but also for singing. Sound I take as a mixture of frequency and colour. Adding musical parameters such as articulation, rhythm, pitch relation, tempo dynamics and putting one into the frame of repetition, gives the material an opportunity to grow and become personal. Only through practice one can start getting aware of all the parameters and properties that the sound is offering. The performance artists/musicians’ involvement is the key to empowering the suggested material and through their presence the audience is invited into the experience. Speech, beginning of vocal music, expressing our thoughts begins with a breath. Breath is a sound in the context. It can influence our perception and our emotions. The intent is to detach from the past corelations and see it for what it is. In a search of our own essence, for our own voice through sound, requires going through the process which involves personal steps like rethinking our existence, our role, our presence, our belief. Questioning our perspectives, ideas and points of view, may help free inner reservations and encourage us to step back and question social language.The focus is sound, the intention opening our sensory system and gaining awareness of the sound richness in the performance and in the world around us.
‘Beyond the Civilised Body’ traces these changes in performative images. In an initial 7-day workshop with 7-11 international performance artists (from the IPA network), the issues will be thematized and explored performatively. How to deal with the longing for touch and bodily exchange when “breath is poisonous”? Can we try out new rituals, a new form of proximity that bridges the distance of 1.5 metres? How does the social practice of physical love change, what expression does necessary physical aggression find, how do we push the boundaries of normal and abnormal behaviour, of shame and embarrassment, how do we stylise the hunger for recognition, the hunger for beauty, and what will be the new boundary between private and public? A nine-hour performance condenses these experiences into an open exchange of body images and landscapes.
a sudden strong and unreflective urge or desire to act – something that causes something to happen or happen more quickly, an impetus – a force that starts a body into motion – the motion produced by a starting force – a strong sudden desire to do something – a sudden strong wish to do something – a force acting briefly on a body and producing a finite change of momentum
synonyms – desire – inspiration – feeling – instinct – passion – wish – urge – mind – impulsion
Multiple individual impulses while living in symbioses create a Sound sculpture. Moving through the space opens options for gaining perspectives.
The International Performance Art Association (IPA) is an extended network of process-oriented artists who dedicate their professional practice to the cultural consciousness of ‘Performance Art’. In autumn 2021, this year’s festival will close with a live performance by the performance art collective ‘Black Market International’. The newly created work ‘Impuls-es’ for Tapes, Live electronics and Sound installation is fully conceptualised for this 5 hour performance. This project will combine composed music, sound and visual installation and ‘performance art’ in a long durational performance with pioneers of Performance Art. Tape is created in correlation with the performers and in line with the concept of performance art that the members have been nurturing for over 3 decades. The project triggered the continuation of my professional research in art. In December 2020, together with artistic director Jürgen Fritz, I performed a long durational performance ‘The conversation’, where we discussed further artistic approaches, ethical questions, social issues of our time, and placed performance material in the eye of the bystander. The tape contains both instrumentally composed recordings and sounds of played objects. The foreground is composed material which is pre-recorded. The composed recordings are of a ‘performance art’ nature, meaning that they are recorded, played, performed in correlated time, for several hours at a time. Live electronics will play manipulated sounds of pre-determined voiced impulses, such as the performers’ heartbeat, their breath, their movement, their touch. The live music installation will bridge the two worlds of acoustics and electronics.