March 16, 2007

Carina and Guido live in an interesting, artisan area of Amsterdam with lots of small scale art shops, modern furniture stores and book-lined cafes. It feels less touristy here, away from the main centre. They talk to us about the process of developing a new piece of work. They don’t spend ages developing a philosophical angle to this process, but use a strong visual image as a staring point. For one show, it was an igloo/shelter, and for their next one, the image of a water tower in France as provided a starting point. They talk about using a sense of playfulness, and a set of possibilities for developing a performance, rather than a narrative line. We discuss animation in its broadest sense. Animating objects, spaces, bits of the human body. I think we share with them the belief in exploring new ways of looking at ordinary life in an extraordinary way.
Their piece, Iglo, explores issues such as reaction to a stranger, communication across cultural borders, and their next piece explores climatic change. This work therefore is very contemporary, political but not ‘in your face’ in an issue-based way. The work comes across as surreal, playful and full of irony.
There is much discussion about how to engage audiences in unusual ways. Babok often perform away from the main area of street festivals, and in community spaces.
Within their Iglo show, they invite the audience into the shelter they have created and give them the choice of a drink. If they choose a strong, clear liquor, the audience member gets a spoon that also turns out to be a key to the igloo. What a wonderful image of trust! And friendship. I am blown away.
Later in the day, we catch a ferry with Babok to the Northern, industrial part of the city to visit their workshop space. It exists in a warehouse/docklands area alongside other theatre makers. The area is just about to become developed, but at the moment there is a rusty ship, half a boat, a statue feeling her tits, and an indoor skateboard park within their complex. It’s fantastic. ndsm.JPG

babok-works-2.jpg Guido and Carina are building a miniature world inside a water tower, that will explore features of climate and weather conditions.I am now very cold as I have only bought a linen coat with me and it’s getting dark. We catch a ferry back over to the centre of Amsterdam watching the lights come on all over the city. After a takeaway we’re off back to the hotel. Heads buzzing with new ideas.


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