London-based dancers and choreographers Pepa Ubera (a current participant in Sadler’s Wells Summer University programme) and Josefina Camus will team up to present their show Ellipsis Land at the Lilian Baylis Studio in November. We spoke to them about how the piece explores the body’s relationship with technology, and the transformative journey it has taken them on.
What inspired you to create Ellipsis Land?
Josefina Camus: The relationship between the body and technology, the real architecture and the “digital architecture”, the connections we create interacting with the different screens we use in our daily life. Those ideas mobilised our interrogations about how we pay attention to the architecture of the space and the body.
Pepa Ubera: A few years ago when we started using so much technology, I was wondering how the body will behave now that we have this ongoing relationship with the virtual world. I had a desire to look at our experience of the real world now we are confronted so often with the flatness of the screen (phone, computers). If the self was living through this flatness how was the body behaving and how was the nervous system then connecting with the technological world, creating all these invisible architectures .
Can you tell us a bit about the piece, what does it feel like to perform?
J.C: Performing Ellipsis Land makes me travel to different states, in that it concerns the organisation of the body in the space. I experience the dimensions and volume of the body, in that way my body becomes a sculpture, with different planes, angles and dimensions to be perceived.
The other important element of performing this piece is the different energies we explore. We wanted to highlight the body as container of energy, which sends and receives energy.
P.U: It feels like a transformative journey. We have been studying the body almost in a geometrical way. Looking at how it is to occupy a flat space and slowly start using more volume until we are able to energise the self as a container of energy that can connect with the audience and the architecture of the room where things take place.
How has the piece changed since its inception?
J.C: Ellipsis Land is a continuous performance project that started in 2014. It has been shown throughout its different stages of development. The first version was performed at Limen Festival, TripSpace Projects in collaboration with the Hayward Gallery, London, in October 2014. In 2016 it was shown at the Lilian Baylis Studio at Sadler’s Wells. The latest version was shown in March at BMW TATE Live Exhibition: TEN DAYS SIX NIGHTS, at Tate Modern, London.
Each performance is unique as it evolves from the last one through on-going research. This new version of Ellipsis Land is is an evolution of our concepts, choreographic material, sound and visual ideas.
One important aspect of this piece is the relationship with the architecture. So, specially the last part of the piece is an exploration of the architecture of the place where we are performing, in the Tate. We used the morphology of the tanks, at the Lilian Baylis Studio we explore the details of this theatre highlighting their particularity.
The piece features a score by Simone Salvatici, can you tell us a bit the creative process of working together?
J.C: Working with Simone added a very important aspect of the piece, the sound and the vibration that surround us are fundamental to it.
With Simone we share ideas and concepts that we can then use as choreographic tools. In this sense we share concepts and we use them differently: Simone in the creation of sound, and for us, the creation of movements.
This piece highlights the auditory perception, we can say that Ellipsis Land is a dance performance, a concert and a visual exhibition at the same time. We combine different medias to create an experience that involves the different senses.
P.U: The first time Simone came into the process we were a month away from the performance. Back then we did not have the time we would have liked to collaborate. That was in 2016 and since then the three of us have been working in two different processes. But earlier this year for the performance at Tate Modern and the last month again for the premiere of the full length performance, we have had time together to collaborate and discuss the concept and the processes each of us experience. Now it feels like a collaboration between artists from different fields, which is what we were looking for in this piece.
What’s next for you?
J.C: We will show Ellipsis Land in different venues, and we are planning a tour for South America for next year. We want to begin a new collaborative project as well.
Ellipsis Land, by Pepa Ubera and Josefina Camus, will be performed 2-4 November at the Lilian Baylis Studio. You can book tickets here.