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Alex Baczyński-Jenkins: «Untitled (Holding Horizon)⁠»


I keep asking myself how our brains were able to adapt to the whirlwind of images and sounds of digital reality in such a short evolutionary time. How did our taste buds get used to a fusion cuisine of parsley, turmeric and wasabi? It is a common joke that you could probably make a peasant from the Middle Ages collapse with one sip of an energy drink. But what would happen in his head after an hour of Instagram? When it comes to pictures, he's only used to the three old paintings of the local village church illuminated by the flickering light of candles.

If you had put a person from the Middle Ages in Alex Baczyński-Jenkins' performance at Kaserne in Basel, he would surely have fainted with his eyes rolled in the belief that he had fallen into an excessively potent ritual. After a youth on, not much really shocks me anymore, but what the dancers in Holding Horizon achieved with just two lights and a crazy soundtrack almost made my brain melt. The room almost seemed to dissolve due to the rhythmic, sacred jumping in circles. Gravity was certainly out of balance for a few moments. There is no other way to explain what happened at the beginning of April in the riding stables of the Basel Kaserne.

In the beginning it was just a simple boxstep. There are five people - admittedly almost indecently beautiful people - moving hypnotically as a mass in the middle of the dance floor. The audience is positioned around the dancers. Front and back, audience and stage, as well as almost all other common dualisms of the theatrical experience are dissolved. In the end, even up and down, when I no longer knew where or what was happening. When the driving rhythms met croaking frogs and everything merged into a vortex. Every witches' Sabbath wished it could achieve these effects. Most of the audience simply sat spellbound in the dark for three hours, following the movements with their eyes in disbelief. The "long durational" format suggested that you could go and come as you pleased. But then I would have missed something - and that was out of the question.

"If you are not living a life that the church would have killed you for, 400 years ago, are you even living?" people like to ask. But Alex Baczyński-Jenkins also asks us: "if you're not dancing in a way that would have melted a medieval peasants brain, are you even dancing?"


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