Learn more about dance in Munich! In TTmag dance creators talk about their aesthetics and approach, dance formats and Munich dance topics are put under the microscope!
Conversations about pieces
Moritz Ostruschnjak: Terminal Beach
"Terminal Beach", that sounds pretty dystopian... .”
I was actually looking for a dark, perhaps somewhat depressing title, but one that opens up a lot of associative fields, at least for me. And of course, it also has something to do with the pandemic. I have the feeling that my positive enthusiasm of the last few years has evaporated somewhat. It's more the dark side now.
I already thought that your last piece "YESTER:NOW" dealt with the fractures in our society, which the pandemic illuminates quite sharply.”
"Terminal Beach" has a lot of connections to „YESTER:NOW“ in terms of dynamics, physicality, the use of irony and also in a certain concreteness. But I would say it's not quite so "in your face", not so "Trump Time-like, here it's now more ghostly, intangible, uncanny. The social climate, which was already heated up last year, has now become even more aggressive for me, even more inscrutable. In terms of atmosphere, for me it has something of the collapse of the world as we know it. That's why, especially at the beginning of the work, "Terminal Beach" for me always has something to do with the Wild Hunt, with ghostly hosts as harbingers and bad omens.
So you're leading us straight into an even greater desaster?
Let's see... but it's never irony-free, we always work strongly with irony, which choreographically arises above all from breaks in style and genre. So hard cuts from contemporary dance to popular or performative things, or from an absolute, surprising concreteness to something contemporary and abstract. For me, it is also these breaks that always refer to the internet, in the form of a browser dramaturgy or browser logic.
I think there is sometimes a misunderstanding with your work. You don't bring the internet onto the stage - maybe you did that once with „Autoplay“ - but in principle you take up the web dramaturgically.
Exactly: Swipe - next - swipe, that's actually sometimes like a TikTok dramaturgy that we use and adapt for the stage. We appropriate this browser logic, tip it over into reality and see what happens when we do theatre like that.
You also use a copy & paste technique for your pieces, i.e. you work with snippets of movement from the internet - can you briefly explain how that works?
We work with videos, with movement material from the web that we collect on certain themes or genres. We take a few seconds out of this material, sample them and paste them together, and then my team and I watch it and surprising things always come out of it. That forms the basis into which I then intervene and build the structure of my piece.
But in "Terminal Beach" you took this principle a step further.
We worked mainly with trailers, which are already cut in themselves, and then played them backwards, and the dancers rehearsed them backwards. The result is a strange, quite odd kind of movement, something unreal. You still have a vague idea of something familiar, but you can no longer locate it, and that creates something uncanny. The interesting thing here is not to turn over material in order to get exciting movements, but the approach is to learn the dynamics backwards and what can be done with it dramaturgically.
That's where the quote by Marshall McLuhan comes into the picture, which to a certain extent represents the theme of the piece for you: "We look at the present through the rear view mirror. We march backwards into the future."
Yes, for me that not only fits the piece, but also the time. You just have to look at the development of democracy in some countries, where people were already further ahead not so long ago. Now there is actually a step backwards in many areas, such as freedom of the press, surveillance, etc., and also that authoritarian regimes are suddenly en vogue again, that a Wild West mentality is spreading. I also have the feeling that technical progress is causing social regression, in other words that they are somehow mutually dependent. I find it interesting that we are advancing so far technically, but at the same time there seems to be a longing for regression.
To what extent this is concretely visible in the piece now... - but "Terminal Beach" is certainly "back to the future" in its own way.
„Terminal Beach“ can be seen at the schwere reiter from 14. – 15. January, 8:00 pm. Tickets are available here: Tickets
More about Moritz Ostruschnjak – visite his Homepage
The interview with Moritz Ostruschnjak was conducted by Simone Lutz, January 2022
Tanztendenz Munich e.V. is sponsored
by the Munich Department of Arts and Culture