as I collapse
– installation 2020

connecting humans and microscopic beings in a virtual and physical space

"...piece, that without compromises, insists on the connection between all living beings, in a way to self-absorbed and smug world"

Casper Koeller -

The installation is about the cognition and sensitivity between living beings explored through the element of water. The online format offers a social distancing safe bridge between the physical space you inhabit as receiver and the physical space we inhabit as art makers, embracing the shared virtual space where we meet.

Our tiny co-creator  in as I collapse is the luminous micro algae by the name Pyrocystis Fusiformis. Pyrocystis Fusiformis can produce light with its body when exposed to sudden movement, making this invisibly small algae, visible – even from space. Casting their glowing blue light across the surface of the ocean, and swirling in big streams and numbers, they make enough light to make them visible from outer space.
Embracing these different aspects of scale, and the very special ability of this microscopic being,  the installation elaborate on the encounter between the human body and the microscopic algae.

An experience with multiple layers
Water is the natural habitat of the algae. Water is in all of us – there is no center in the logic of water and there is no ‘us and them’– no binaries. Throughout the performance you will be guided on an exploration on different interactions with water. We invite you to be curious, open and to use all of your senses.

The piece consists of a numbers of layers you can dive into, and explore as you like.

In the intro video above, you can hear the thoughts behind the installation, explained by choreographer Tina Tarpgaard.

One of the layers is fully analogue: a meeting with Pyrocystis. Participants in the experience will receive in their homes or collect from our presenting partners a sealed bag of media containing a colony of these algae and care-taking instructions for long term maintenance (short term is actually easy but we´d love if you would consider developing a longer bond). From then on,  you will be able to admire their magical ability in your own home and use this physical encounter to start reflecting on some of the questions the piece proposes.

The top layer consists of a performance-experience online and via streaming. Here the performer Nelly Zagora will guide you through different explorations of water and life in a stream of words and images using different scales. The performance runs in cycles of 25 min. It is executed live and for a limited amount of audiences each time. A sort of digital intimacy across physical borders.

And to go deeper, you can experience a guided meditation with a sound file designed with immersive sound of water and a text written by author Ida Marie Hede for us.

You can explore each layer separately or consecutively in your own timing, and you will always have the possibility to re-live those which are not happening live with us.


The reviewers wrote about as I collapse:

“As I Collapse by Recoil Performance Group was successfully adapted to the live streaming format of the corona situation and showed simple and scientifically poetic organic contexts that can connect us and that may seem particularly important in the coronoa isolation era. The very close body images became a world and the whole world became the body.”

Mette Garfield art critic “Bastard”

“piece, that without compromises, insists on the connection between all living beings, in a way to self-absorbed and smug world”

Casper Koeller, art critic

Concept and choreography: Tina Tarpgaard

Performer: Nelly Zagora

Text: Ida Marie Hede and Nelly Zagora

Sound and video design: Mikkel Larsen

Researching artist/ Consultant: Pei-Ying Lin

Producer: Carlos Calvo

PR: Ida Fredericia

Graphics, photos and video: Søren Meisner

Duration: app. 25 min. slots troughout a 2 hours performance

Language: English (for other languages, please contact us)

The piece is supported by CPH Stage and The Danish Arts Counsil.

The online installation as I collapse from 2020 is a based on the performance as I collapse from 2017. The performance is a speculative dance performance taking its point of origin in a collapse of our general perception of the world as divided into two: nature and culture.

as I collapse presents a speculative fictional universe that presents the bodies on very different scales, from a microscopic format to the human sized. In an attentive and energetic performance focus is turned to our culturally inherited understanding as being superior to other organisms. Here, boundaries are blurred between visible and invisible, between man and microbe, while the individual disappears into darkness and is replaced by a single luminous, united organism.

The Performance as I collapse from 2017 is the first part of the trilogy The Membrane Project

The piece one of the 6 works curated CPH Stage Festival for its International Days which had a virtual edition in  May 2020.  

It was also presented at FESTIVAL CENA EM PORTO ALEGRE october 2020 as well as Den Frie Felts Festival,  Januar 2021, which was streamed to Denmark Sweden, Australa and Malaysia.

Rethinking the culture/nature dualism

Created by a strong team of artists and scientists, as I collapse offers a renewed discourse on matters of sustainability – by calling attention to the precondition for a more sustainable future: our relationship to ourselves and our surroundings, and by extension our inherited understanding of ourselves as superior to other life forms. as I collapse wants to challenge our understanding of our own biological substance, and our interaction with otherness. The performance poses critical questions, challenging the human assumption of coppying the top spot of evolution, and deals with what a redefinition of this role means – including its impact on the creation of choreography. Presently, new scientific studies are trying to rethink and re-conceptualise the anthropocentric view on the culture / nature dualism. In line with this movement, as I collapse seeks to dissolve this dualism by de-centring the human body in order to enter a balanced and respectful relationship with other living matter.