Out of all of the performances I have seen these days, Elastic Habitat was for me, more of an experience than a performance.
The room was gloomy and resembled most with what nature, beyond our reach, would be under the deepest waters, between the branches of a willow tree, inside the planets and among the starts. These spaces were provided to help one reach another form of its body, exceeding reality’s materiality and customary enclosure. I had to lay down, in a bed of pillows shaped in cosmic elements, and listen to the female performer. I understood that the encounter set up by the performers was meant to work similarly as meditation would, creating a common safe-space for all worries and material groundings. Nevertheless, in our meditations, we never truly get to pick the form that we are going to take after coming back or even during our spiritual exploration.
“You are not you, but the form you have chosen for yourself”
This is the part that I most enjoyed: the choice. I found myself staring at some pieces of materials, wondering if the first one that I spotted would be right. But there should be no right or wrong in this context. The material, a copper net, was gathered in a tiny clew, somewhere among some other bigger pieces.
From that point on, the roles switched and it felt as if we were observed by them: the original performers, and everything that we did was nothing more than a jumble. For someone to understand the experience, one should imagine themselves in a space with foreign living bodies that seem to abide by no rules or language. You are not you, but the form you have chosen for yourself, thus not even your own body feels safe and familiar.
At one point the thrill turns dull as you remember you’re just in a limited experience machine and there is nothing more to be discovered than other people entering this dimension. As it was almost expected, a notebook was handed to each of us and we had to write down our thoughts. There was an excerpt that we also had to read: Elizabeth Grosz in Volatile Bodies, that I would recommend.
In contrast to the other theatrical productions, this experience left me with a peculiar interior stillness and calm. Before leaving the room, I picked up a random card that said: “whenever you’re falling apart, reassemble.”