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MASS – bloom explorations

A dancer and a scenography in the process of biological mouldering in a durational performance installation. Here, audiences get firmly in touch with decay, decomposition and the death.

Incredible. It's amazing to see how much there is at stake in the minimalistic simple installation, coolly handled by Tina Tarpgaard, who, as one of the few performing artists in Denmark, has started working with bio art.

- Monna Dithmer, Politiken

In a transparent dome of plastic, the human Hilde I. Sandvold and thousands of mealworms live side by side. The micro-universe is created solely out of white foam plastic. Apart from being a huge part of our human throw-away mentality, this kind of plastic also happens to be a source of nourishment that pleases the ever-hungry mealworms. The potential is born for a new form of symbiosis between species. An organism capable of living from plastic could be the beginning of a new blooming of species on earth.

Together, the mealworms and Hilde co-create a new space. They conduct a durational choreography – an installation in which the space is slowly but visibly being altered by the worms’ digestion and the human body in motion. The crackling sound of the eating worms blends with the voice of the author Ida Marie Hede as she reads aloud from her text on the peculiarities of life in the plastic habitat.

During opening hours, visitors are welcome to explore and interact with the installation, and to come and go as they please. They are also invited into the dome for a close, one-on-one encounter with Hilde and the worms.

The vulnerable relationship between worms, foam plastic and the human and its slowly dissolution is the central point of the work, offering a speculative point of view on our relationship with ourselves and others. It is an invitation to a personal, visually poignant experience of a woman transforming her body, skin and voice in an attempt to co-evolve with a species that potentially has better prospects than herself.

Choreographer: Tina Tarpgaard
Performer: Hilde I. Sandvold
Performer at ODD residency: Ellen Furey
Science-art researcher and installation design: Pei-Ying Lin
Writer: Ida Marie Hede
Technical and engineering design: Minshu Huang
Sound design: Søren Knud
Dramaturge: Inge Agnete Tarpgaard
Production managers: Rasmus Sylvest & Viktor K. Magnusson
Producer: Carlos Calvo
PR: Betina Rex
Workshops development: Micaela Kühn Jara and Emilie Gregersen

Collaborators: Ottawa Dance Directive, Windsor University and Westboro Village
Supported by: The Danish Arts foundation, Wilhem Hansen Fonden, Augustinus Fonden, Københavns Kommunes Scenekunstudvalg, Louis Hansen Fonden

First public presentation at Ottawa Dance Directive (ODD), Ottawa 28 March 2018 in collaboration with ODD. Danish premiere at Overgaden. Institute of Contemporary Art, Copenhagen 1 May 2018. In collaboration with Dansehallerne.

Touring History:

CLICK Festival. Elsinore, Denmark. May 2018

SPACE10. Copenhagen, Denmark. Part of the CPH Stage festival. June 2018

{UN}SPLIT Festival. Muffatwerk. Munich, Germany. August 2018

SCENKONSTBIENNALE. Härnösand, Sweden. May 2019

WELCOME TO THE VILLAGE. Netherlands. July 2019

UR-NAT Festival, Denmark. August 2019

KIASMA Theater. Helsinki, Finland. September 2019

PLARTFORMA Festival. Kláipeda, Lithuania. September 2019

THE NORDIC HOUSE IN THE FAROE ISLANDS. Feb. 2020