as I collapse

(and algae emerge) Staging bodies in microscopic scale

as I collapse - installation 2019 New version of the original as I collapse - Performance 2017, developed and presented during the Ou\/ert Festival in Bourges, FR, november 2019

as I collapse – installation 2019

as I collapse is a choreographic work that involves the meeting with a very tiny being a micro algae by the name Pyrocystis Fusiformis.
It is a bio luminescent algae – it is capable of producing light with its body. This happens when the algae is exposed to sudden movement or a sudden impact. Even if we can hardly see the algae with our naked eye – we can see the light it produces when it gets agitated.

This choreographic work is about the encounter and inter-connectivity between the human body and the microscopic body of the algae. The meeting between bodies of very different size. So we have been dealing a lot with scale. The microscopic meeting the messoscopic and actually even the macroscopic. Because this microscopic algae is the only being on earth that can be seen by our naked human eye from outer space. This is because they live in the surface of the ocean – so when billions of them gets swirled around in the big streams – they actually produce so much light that it is visible – even from outer space.

In as I collapse we invite our audiences to engage in a collective speculation on being adopted by this fascinating yet very small being. A speculation on what the idea of family is – and the thought of imagining adoption as an expansion of families beyond species.

The algae lives in water – so the element of water is very present in this work. Not only as the habitat for the algae – but also as the connecting element between beings. Water is in all of us – water is a fundamental premise for life – there is no ‘us and them’ in the logic of water – no dichotomies.

In the work we present different bodies of water contained in plastic bags. Plastic is a very troublesome element in the natural habitat of the algae, it is a human specific element and it is by now in and around all of us. In this performance the plastic serves as the container for water volumes resembling the water that is contained in the body of e.g. a small  human child, a dog, a pumpkin or a young tree. The audience is invited to interact with the water bodies and to encounter the constant shifting center of the fluid element.

The audience is also invited to listen to the movement in the water. Not to move the water but rather to listen to the movement that is already there. In darkness we get more aware of our senses. It is also in darkness that we encounter the light of the algae that is on the stage with us at this moment. Eventually 49 people signed the paper for being adopted by the algae at this first presentation of as I collapse – installation

The installation as I collapse from 2019 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. More info.


Choreographer: Tina Tarpgaard

Dancer: Nelly Zagora

Sound Design: Mikkel Larsen

Researching artist/ Consultant: Pei-Ying Lin

Scenography based on idea As I Collapse stage version (2017) by Sille Dons Heltoft

Lighting inspired by original design for As I Collapse stage version (2017) by Minna Tiikkainen

Producer: Carlos Calvo

PR: Ida Fredericia

Graphics, photos and video: Søren Meisner



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.