Dasha Golova
︎︎︎The Crystal Ladder (2020)
text courtesy by the artist

The Crystal Ladder, (2020)

installation (various materials) and cinematic production

The story comes from my personal struggle with bureaucracy and legal permission to stay where I want to, it is an ode to social structure and bureaucracy that I composed by following my desire to conceptualise the portrait of each component into a character.

I asked 20 actors to shape their understanding of the performance based on various algorithms of actions I proposed. As a temporary community we were collaboratively constructing our given roles by exploring costumes, body gestures, various assigned objects, tools and voices. For example, we were discovering how to interact without linguistic forms and rather use our voices as means of being.
I invited each participant to share and enjoy my responsibilities as a director. We attempted to show that we can as a group be a source and resources for each other; our relations can be our capital.

The costumes, as well as full body gestures and non-voices, are tools in the algorithms of choreography which shape each character in the tragicomic performance. This work is the result of the dedication and commitment of a large group. The experience of this group of people is the boundary of my work as an artist. It is a strong supportive structure, a layer of temporary community.

The Wolf
This is a protagonist of the story, a citizen that has a wild desire to change their place/reality/country. The Wolf is there as long as the story itself might exist. Her dedication is strong; the Wolf is calm and humble. She is looking for hints, ways to go around the bureaucratic system, hoping to find a way to sneak through The Gate. The Wolf holds a huge net that symbolises A Plan: her plan has hooks on it with which her hopes and dreams are kept together. The sleeves of the costume are constructed particularly to have more freedom to hold hands up, which is a very empowering and cheerful body gesture. The Wolf is almost constantly in contact with the other characters, presenting her net and telling her story, yet still remaining really lonely in her hunt.

The Crowd
The concept of the character lies in the idea that being together when it is not a decision makes individuals into a crowd. Every passerby could join the huge textile with holes for heads, and become one with its constantly moving and emerging body and voice; every performer of The Crowd had the liberty to choose when to leave or join, and other characters could decide if they wanted to be absorbed by it  at some point. It was assigned as the most vocally present role in the composition of the performance. I intended The Crowd to exist because of its relation to others - The Crowd uses non-linguistic vocal forms to react, rather than answer, on impulses surrounding it during the act. These vocal reactions stimulate the idea of the Presence, the contact with the surrounding and inner self. This character is meant to release tension between the viewer and the play.

The Gate 
This character is performed by two actors and an assigned artefact. The Gate is walking around the territory and marking the borders, it is a signification and reminder that there is another place/reality/country. The Gate closes when someone comes closer, and then opens again. The construction of the Gate is very fragile, from a certain perspective it becomes a slim and hardly visible line, indeed borders exist only for some of us. What makes The Gate strong is the people that are serving its system. The bright matching colour suits with their massive hoods and hand painted prints are uniforms, that makes their presence more vibrant. The Gate collapses over The Wolf to signify that sometimes dedication, effort, connections, talents, money, luck and other requirements one has to perform can be insufficient and not necessarily and the coincidence resolves the bureaucratic struggle.

The Lover
The costume of The Lover is a long dress covering all the front of the body and exposing his back. The floral patterns, straps and bows are there to mesmerise and seduce. The open back is to show the vulnerability of love, naivety and trust.

The Lover is a character that represents a certain state of mind: reality. A reality that is defined through  the prism of obsession and joy of receiving what is desirable; through the blurriness and disorientation, a reality that changes your priorities. The Lover is a single body character, it is a pillar that can hold above the earth. He performs only body gestures without moving through the stage, nor directly interacting with other characters. The Lover doesn’t notice anybody, he eats the fruit, he is consumed by its delicious taste.

We also presented a special feature dedicated to Dasha Golova practice in collaboration with Liminal Vision, on the occasion of their project Zhōuwéi Network. Learn more about it here

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