Lauren Mackler tracks Annamaria Ajmone’s latest moves


IN THE UNDERLIT BASEMENT Area of the Palais de Tokyo, Italian dancer and choreographer Annamaria Ajmone’s La notte è il mio giorno preferito (Evening is My Most loved Day) began with the sound of a deep animal howl, the reverberations of which lent dimension to the darkness and outlined the area of the effectiveness, delineating its edges and corners. In the infrared glow of the overhanging environmentally friendly lights, a minimum representation of a forest emerged a several sparse lianas developed the habitat for the efficiency. Suddenly, a stealthy, human-animal hybrid determine appeared and commenced an evasive dance, sliding in and out of look at behind columns, into darkish corners, and preserving low to the floor. Finally, this figure found alone experiencing the audience with a cruel, almost combative gaze. As she stood there, she coated her tongue with a clay-like substance. Unnaturally extensive and sharp, it appeared to lunge out of her mouth, seem around cautiously right before becoming laboriously swallowed—performing what Ajmone afterwards explained as a “tongue dance.” In the course of this dance, it appeared to have its host’s system from inside of, slithering like tentacles inside of her arms, her legs, out of her ass, only to reemerge forcefully out of her mouth once more moments later. When the 40-moment overall performance was done, the audience emerged, dazed, in the now-lit concrete bowels of the museum surrounded by a couple hanging vines built of uncovered plastics, synthetic plants, and wigs. In the silence before the viewers dared to clap, the amplified seem of Annamaria’s accelerated breath is all we could hear—and for a whilst, we listened.

To create this function, Ajmone and her collaborator Stella Succi tracked wolves. They embarked on two residencies—one in Val d’Illiez in Switzerland, the other in the Jura Mountains—to chart the path of the big canines, understanding to identify their strides, feces, and kills. As a result of the assist of video clips manufactured with a night time-eyesight digicam (the radioactive inexperienced gel light of which is quoted in the to start with part of the general performance), Ajmone and Succi researched during the day what they could only listen to in the pitch darkness of night time, and the sound of the forest—deconstructed into fragments, blended with instruments—became the main sonic component in a track created for the functionality by composer Flora Yin-Wong. La notte è il mio giorno preferito is also rooted in an essay by French philosopher and naturalist Baptiste Morizot, who, motivated by Brazilian anthropologist Eduardo Viveiros de Castro’s investigate, writes on the techniques in which animal monitoring can be used to a philosophical approach. Tracking, Ajmone informed me, is like a dance: “You are tracking an animal, but they are also monitoring you. The viewers is monitoring me on phase, but I am also tracking them.” The power structure of this type of exchange is egalitarian: Hers is a dance that seeks no climax, a dance in which no 1 dominates—or perhaps in which everyone is dominated equally. It is a sensual, philosophical meandering.

Performance view of Annamaria Ajmone's La  notte è il mio giorno preferito (Night is my favorite day), Palais de Tokyo, Paris, June 9, 2022. Anamaria Ajmone. Photo: Antoine Aphesbero.

The frontality of Ajmone’s gaze is a signature component of her design. In earlier pieces of hersthese as De La, 2016, or her contribution to Virgilio Sieni’s L’Atlante del Gesto, 2015,—she is confrontational, knowledgeable, responsive. When in gallery spaces in which the viewers can circulate freely, she moves towards them, compelling them to follow her. She carves an audience like a sculpture, suddenly capturing an particular person with her hyper-targeted awareness and then, just as quickly, releasing them back again into the anonymity of the group by turning absent.  Her actions are visceral and spontaneous, current and receptive. Her dances are not particularly improvisations—she presents herself “tasks” to accomplish—but her gestures are never ever fixed or sequenced. She leaves herself a large berth to answer intuitively to the viewers, the context, and the architecture of a effectiveness in La notte, her tasks are the preliminary “call” in the seem of the forest, the act of monitoring in the darkness, and the tongue dance. And, when I have recommended that her movement is animal in its rawness, there is one thing very unnatural about it as very well: It’s inefficient, monstrous, as however from a mirror-environment in which bodies are tangled and their reasons unclear. As she dances, she contorts herself considerably, disfiguring and mangling her form, her joints seeming to pop out of their sockets. And nevertheless, her eye contact—locked and intense—is unnerving and individual. When we chat about embodiment, she tells me, “I am Annamaria I am a human,” detailing that she is not trying to be an animal, but alternatively that she underscores her clear failure to be an animal. She considers certain moments of La notte a sort of disguise through which she (from time to time proverbially) “wears” functions of the wolves (e.g., a wig to offer a furry layer or motion). Her drive is not to be the “Other” (capitalization hers), but relatively to understand from the Other’s vantage position, their standpoint.

The new piece feels different than her past types, arguably since it was made for the theater of the Triennale in Milan (in which it was executed two times prior to the night time I saw it at the Palais de Tokyo), and therefore possesses Ajmone’s ambivalent partnership to the two-dimensionality of the phase, with its restrictive obtain to her public. To counterbalance this, she recruited artist Natália Trejbalová and lighting director Giulia Pastore to design and mild a “techno-natural” landscape, a set that could adequately host and contextualize their collective meditations on nature and society. La notte was in switch recontextualized by the Palais de Tokyo, which presented her concurrently with the exhibition “Réclamer la Terre (Reclaim the Earth),” showcasing the do the job of fourteen artists shepherded by two scientific consultants. Billed as a “wake-up get in touch with as substantially as a rallying cry,” the exhibition asserts that the show’s artists and their strategies to products are catalysts for a heightened ecological awareness and a decolonized approach to the globe, a person that prioritizes indigenous and ancestral knowledge. Whilst not involved in the exhibition, the effectiveness was truly linked to its ethos. Intuition is at the crux of the ecofeminist argument, and it is the guiding principle of Ajmone’s tactic. Her overall performance felt like a putting and actually guttural response from within just to the ambitious and hard guarantee of the exhibition, whose objects in the long run continue to be artfully positioned in the gallery place. Her performance stood on its own as an embodiment of research, and a penetrating sensorial working experience for artist and viewer alike.

Annamaria Ajmone done La notte è il mio giorno preferito (Evening is My Favored Working day) at the Palais de Tokyo, Paris, on June 9. She will current the piece all over again on July 8, 9 and 10 as component of the Santarcangelo Festival in Italy.


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