The ADEBAR / KUBELKA project confronts dance with film on the basis of musical organisation. This also explains why I am relating my work to quite particular films, the metrical films of Peter Kubelka: because, owing to the difference in the media, there has to be something in common if the film is not just to lend atmosphere to the dance or the dance is not to tack itself on as a live accompaniment to the film, as often does happen with dance films or dance with video clips.
For me it is a question of the structural foundations with which these two media can be linked, so that an added value develops in various respects. Peter Kubelka’s work is already almost half a century old and has provided the impetus for several generations of experimental film-makers. With his compressed films, ADEBAR (1957), Schwechater (1958) and Arnulf Rainer (1960), Kubelka carried out a meticulous basic research that distances the film medium from too close a relationship with other art forms and thereby lends it its own independent “only film can do that” attitude.
In relation to dance, what is interesting is Kubelka’s recognition that film is not movement but the projection of 24 frames per second and the resulting precise score of 24 pictures and synchronous tones for each second of film. Or the recognition that in order to have an acoustic experience one does not necessarily have to hear something, but rather that in some circumstances a visual experience can convey things more intensely, for example visual rhythms.
I am taking Kubelka’s films and analyses in order, with their assistance, to carry out a similar basic research into contemporary dance. This area has been intensively researched for some ten years. Every dance performance is simultaneously a research laboratory defining the human body in the field of tension between old and new media. Sometimes the research leads to the result that nothing moves any more – in contrast to Kubelka’s films, where the understanding that film is not movement per se does not lead to a slide picture but to the conclusion that one must penetrate the much smaller unit of film elements and work at this level in order to create movement.
In the way they are made Kubelka’s films have an affinity to my recent choreographic work. For example, I worked out Sacre Material (2000) conceptually in such a way that, at all performative levels, analytical scores whose interaction result in an active audience experience were constructed on the basis of Le Sacre Du Printemps (1913) of Nijinsky and Stravinsky. In how to be tool (2002) a solo female dancer executes different overlaying physical rhythms simultaneously.
Apart from the choreography, the music (Max Nagl) and scenery (Philipp Harnoncourt) for ADEBAR / KUBELKA also endeavour to attempt a physical and spatial correspondence on the basis of the parameters of Kubelka’s film and also continually reflect the difference and commonality of the media. What was decisive for the choice of ADEBAR as a starting point was on the one hand the fact that the images are of people dancing, which thus is intrinsically an exhortation to dance, as well as the fact that it was Kubelka’s first metrical film, his first step on this research journey.