Jefta van Dinther is a choreographer and dancer working between Stockholm and Berlin. His work is characterised by a rigorous physical approach and always implies the staged research of movement itself. The moving body is the core of his practice but belongs to and interacts with a body of light, sound and materials. Central in his work is the question of what it means to be human, examined through its relation to society, community and environment, but also to other forms of life, such as the animal and other non-human entities. Van Dinther’s performances reach out into metaphysical or otherworldly realms and deal with notions of illusion, the visible and the invisible, synaesthesia, darkness, labour, sex, the uncanny, affect, voice and image.
As a guest-in-residence of TEMPORARS SUSCH in April 2021, he will work on his A History of Walking project. In this project, Jefta van Dinther wants to embark on a study of an archaic activity: walking – the bipedal evolution of human anatomy. At some point in evolution, an ancestor ape got up on its hind legs and walked so long that its body became our upright, two-legged, striding body. This created possibilities: a spare pair of limbs, seeking something to hold or make or destroy – hands that became manipulators of the world. Walking, in many respects, equals our existence and is the hallmark of the human animal.
Walking, as a way of transporting our body, has essentially been unimproved since that ancient ancestor first stood up. But it is only more recently that the act of walking, as a wilful act in and of itself, taken out of the context of labour or getting to the site of labour, has become increasingly infused with meaning, both socially and politically. In recent years, walking together en masse has become a right, a tool and reinforcement of a civil society that can stand up to violence, fear and repression. The best evidence of the potency of unarmed people walking together in the streets is the aggressive measures taken to control or stop these crowds in marches and protests around the world. Just as walking is everyone’s act, the history of walking is everyone’s history. Therein lies its power.
This potency is being investigated in the A History of Walking project, exploring what walking can mean and represent.
The residency is realised with the support and in co-operation with the performance research programme ACZIUN SUSCH.