Start in the Middle

Start in the Middle: A performance by artist Per Huttner and choreographer Carima Neusser with specially composed music by composer Siri Jennefelt.

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Start in the Middle is a participatory event that brings together visual art, dance and music. It uses the formats of lecture and meditation into a seamless whole. The performers use texts, sounds, lights and contemplative exercises for the audience to participate in a collective journey where they spend most of the performance lying on the floor with their eyes closed, listening to music and texts, while their bodies are covered by semi transparent fabrics.

The journey starts with a meditative exercise and is followed by three parts that look at constraints in art and everyday life and allows the audience to reflect on how these can offer paths to freedom in their lives. The texts are interspersed with musical interludes where the soundscape takes centre stage. The performance challenges the audience to think about their values and life choices:

  • -What do we do on a personal level to push the boundaries to overcome ourselves and our own restrictions?
  • -Are we prisoners of our worldviews, fears, pragmatism and anthropocentrism or can imagination lead us out of our self-imposed limitations?
  • - Have our wishes to predict and control our surrounding world become a liability? Can we gain something by letting go and embrace chaos in and around us?

Start in the Middle is a reflection on the limits of our thoughts and our bodies. The human body has infinite capabilities to break new ground and to discover new experiences. So, what can be done to ensure that our bodies are not inhibited by our thought-patterns? How can human thought and human bodies interact in order to create new alliances to find new expressions? The performance can be seen as an incantation or a provocation for the audience to imagine new challenges for their thoughts and as well as their bodies. These are created through immersive meditative exercises, hypnotic music as well as the critical texts.

By provoking reflections on imagination, the performance also opens for contemplation on the artistic process as well how the outlook on human identity and the self is challenged through artistic work. Special attention is in other words given how creativity can be fostered to become a more integrated part of the artists’ and audience’s everyday through ongoing exchanges. The artists draw inspiration from filmmakers like Luis Buñuel and Liliana Cavani, photographer Nabuyoshi Araki as well as anthropological research by Eduardo Viveiros de Castro.

The climax of Start in the Middle is an immersive sequence using meditative techniques converge and gives the audience the opportunity to imagine that they inhabit another kind of body. With the help of the music and their own imagination the journey allows them to discover new aspects of their inner life.

Start in the Middle was developed during a research trip in Mexico 2016-17. Versions of the project has been shown publicly at Kunsthal Charlottenborg in Copenhagen, Albumarte in Rome, Galleri Fagerstedt in Stockholm, Vallastaden in Linköping, St Pierre in France and at Energiverket in Jakobstad.

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