IF IT'S ALL IN MY VEINS
If It’s All In My Veins disrupts and reimagines the history of contemporary dance, unmoored from time and place in the digital age. Intergenerational cast Hellen Sky, Michelle Ferris, and Georgia Bettens are accompanied by animated GIFs displaying excerpts of dance iconography from the 20th century, which they re-embody in real-time.
If It’s All In My Veins is a flamboyant and prophetic statement on how the past is produced and reproduced. It proposes that the past —which in this work appears as 20th century dance history—, is not a solid and immutable object, unavailable to change, but rather fluid, contingent, and up for grabs. It is subject to a continual process of being written and re-written according to the conditions and ecologies of power in the present. In this work, the GIFs memorializing iconic fragments from dance history are, in Hito Steyerl’s words, ‘’ghost(s) of an image, a preview, a thumbnail, an errant idea’’; a lasting remnant of a particular moment in internet culture, already gone. They become the frame through which this history might be contended, the momentary position from which we view, the algorithm spitting out results.
‘’One could of course argue that this is not the real thing, but then—please, anybody—show me this real thing’’ (Hito Steyerl)
If It’s All In My Veins reconfigures hegemonies in dance by stripping the original of its authorial value, the copy becoming the valued proletarian of a visual class system. The work is a gesture toward a playful iconoclasm that makes room for a plurality of voices, briefly imaginable within the lost promise of what the internet could have been.
How can we envision a future dance history that is no longer submissive to ‘a’ singular past? Is dance history over? Where do we direct our fiery optimism? What other histories might it give way to?
Concept: Martin Hansen | Performed by: Hellen Sky, Michelle Ferris, Georgia Bettens | Light Design: Nik Pajanti and Amelia Lever-Davidson | Costume and Design Consultant: Romanie Harper | Videographer: Cobie Orger | Photos by Gregory Lorenzutti
Supported by the Kier Foundation, Dancehouse, Carriageworks, The City of Yarra and The Australia Council for the Arts.
Presented at Dancehouse Melbourne, Carriageworks Sydney, Hong Kong Arts festival, Rencontres Chorégraphiques Internationales De Seine-Saint-Denis, Sophiensaele Berlin.
“They are becoming the ‘poor image … an illicit fifth generation of an original image’, and the effect is glorious”
—Gracia Harby for Fjord Review
"though the reality presented to us seems stifling, Hansen nurtures a slick and groovy party full of theatre magic, heartfulness, and humorous abandon"
—Louise Trueheart for Viereinhalb Sätze