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11:00AM - 12:00PM
ZOOM, Online, Seattle WA
This event is free

Presented by:

  • CommonForm Project, co-presented with Velocity Dance Center

  • with funding from 4Culture

  • Join us for UTOPIA: touch, an hour-long, live, durational performance with 9 dancers in isolation exploring the tendernesses of unity and rebellion.

    Team: Vladimir Kremenović

    We are exploring proximity and unity in the virtual space while grappling with the politics of surveillance and tensions between obedience and freedom. It is the second event in UTOPIA, a series of dance performances drawing inspiration from brutalist architecture, principles of socialism and democracy, and lasting questions surrounding the breakup of Yugoslavia.

    The UTOPIA series is inspired by my experiences growing up in Bosnia and Herzegovina during the Bosnian War and its aftermath. Although Bosnia has been a democracy for twenty-five years, socialist Yugoslav values continue to dominate socio-political life: conformity, uniformity, apathy, and obedience. Over the years, these cultural traits gave rise to xenophobia, homophobia, ethnic division, hate speech, and mythologized ideas of nationalism. I immigrated to America largely to escape these circumstances, only to discover similar tensions emerging here. As someone with family members displaced and killed during the Bosnian War, and as someone compelled to emigrate due to mounting social unrest, I hope to call attention to the dangers in divisionist political rhetoric.

    Brutalist buildings are characterized by their monumental, monolithic appearance constructed out of raw, unfinished, molded concrete, and are often described as cold, imposing, and even scary. Brutalism was a popular architectural style around the world in the mid-20th century. During these decades, Seattle experienced a period of consistent economic growth and development. Due to its powerful aesthetic presence, brutalism was often utilized for government and university buildings, including in Seattle, where the best examples can be found around downtown and in the UW area. These structures serve as a bridge between my Bosnian and Seattle homes because, for me, they conjure images of familiar landscapes, nostalgia for home, and joy.

    UTOPIA: touch is a virtual restaging of UTOPIA: freedom, a durational dance performance presented at NextFest 2019 by Velocity Dance Center.

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    This piece has been fully conceptualized and rehearsed via Zoom. The final work will be presented as a live-streamed meeting between the dancers quarantining in their respective homes. The performers utilize the app’s specific interface to explore what brings us together and apart in this time of cultural upheaval. How do we rebel and resist oppression during a pandemic? What does it mean to bring the watchful eye of the internet into your home while seeking artistic fulfillment and healing?

    This durational performance is intended to be experienced as a virtual installation: there is no beginning, end, or a narrative arch. Join us at any point during the performance and stay for as long or as little as you desire. Feel free to talk during the show, speak to other audience members through the chat feature, leave the room and come back, grab a drink, do some writing or drawing, and definitely check out the slideshow and reading materials provided on the page.

    Rather than attempting to eradicate potential technological difficulties the live performance embraces the lagging, glitching nature of digital communication. I see it as a way to celebrate the years of long pauses, lost connections, and garbled sentences that allowed me and countless other immigrants around the globe to remain connected to our distant families and cultures. This show will mark my first dance work that my parents and sister will be able to witness in real-time

    The events will last approximately 1 hour 20 minutes. The first hour will be the performance, followed by a 15-30 minute Q&A with Vladimir and the creative collaborators after every show. There will be additional written material on the performance webpage.