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Norwegian choreographer Ingri Fiksdal is creating a scene with her metallic clad dancers

Norwegian choreographer Ingri Fiksdal is back in London with Diorama this February. As part of Fest en Fest, a programme of UK and Nordic artists working across dance and performance, she will present this metallic and meditative masterpiece. We at Run-Riot caught up with her to delve into her work a little deeper.

Richard Pye: First of all what is Diorama and when can we see it?

Ingri Fiksdal: Diorama is a site-specific performance, which is always performed in some sort of landscape, often by water. In London, we'll perform in Greenwich by Cutty Sark, as part of Fest en Fest festival on the 7th-9th of February. On the 7th we will perform at 1pm, on the 8th at 3pm and on the 9th at 12.30pm.  

Richard: I know the term “diorama” to mean sculptures of landscapes, is this a hint of what we are going to see?

Ingri: Yes, the word “diorama” often refers to a three-dimensional model of a landscape, such as displayed in museums of natural history. Another use of the word is for the pre-cinematic French diorama theatre, invented by Louis Daguerre in 1822. Here, the audience were sat watching big landscape paintings transform through skilfully manipulated light, sound effects and live performers. In our performance, 15 performers as well as a large number of moveable sculptures or blobs slowly slide through the space and both become part of and change the landscape.

Richard: The piece was premiered in Britain and toured to Norway, Paris and Canada and now it’s coming to The Thames by the Cutty sark. What is the significance of the changing contexts to the work?

Ingri: We adapt the performance to the specificities of each new location. The composition in space changes each time to cater for the architecture and/or nature of the place. We also work with different paces of movement and different durations depending on how the piece will be watched at the given site.
 
Richard: How do you feel the reception of the work differed between destinations?

Ingri: If we have a quiet site with a wide panorama, the audience will be seated in a long row of chairs, watching the performers becoming part of the horizon. The choreography is slow and meditative and elements such as the wind, birds or planes coming past, movement in surrounding nature all become part of the piece.

The version at Cutty Sark has more of a dual quality in the sense that it will be experienced also by a lot of by-passers who are not there to see the piece in itself, as well as audiences who are there to catch it. So whilst the panoramic version often produces a mellow, meditative state amongst people, the London version might be more puzzling or surprising. Also, due to how the performers are costumed where they are hidden in large, sequin capes, the question of human and non-human comes up quite a lot with this version.    
 
Richard: You will be working with students at London Contemporary Dance School for this restaging of Diorama. What is your connection to the school?

Ingri: I collaborated with a group of students at LCDS when presenting Shadows of Tomorrow at Fest en Fest in 2018, and I'm really looking forward to working with them again on Diorama.

Richard: The costumes are striking in their own right, what inspired them and or the collaboration with costume designer Fredrik Floen?

Ingri: Fredrik and I were thinking of something which, on the one side could blend in with and reflect the surroundings, whilst at the same time screaming for attention, although somewhat an impossible combo. Sequin seemed to be the way to go though. Also, each of the performers has a large sequin blob attached to their costume, which together with the choreography blurs the human shape, making the performers become extended parts of the landscape.  

Richard: How did you get involved with Fest en fest?

Ingri: I have known Heidi and Hanna for a while now, and I came to the festival in 2018 with another piece, Shadows of Tomorrow. I think Fest en Fest is a great initiative to bring Nordic choreography together with the experimental UK-scene. There is not a lot of exchange between the two, and I believe the festival helps to enhance this. I studied at Northern School of Contemporary Dance (a long time ago), and have been watching how there is a tendency that both the UK-scene as well as the Nordic stay a bit on the outside in regard to continental European discourses on dance and choreography. I don't think that we all should be making similar types of work. However, there is something to be said for learning from each other and not staying secluded.

I'm very happy to be here again with Diorama!
 
Richard: Heidi and Hanna have curated some incredible pieces and projects for Fest and Fest. Which other works are you intrigued to see?

Ingri: Really looking forward to catching Marikiiscrycrycry and Project X!!

Richard: It seems like after completing your PHD in artistic practice at the Oslo National Academy of the Arts, you have some new projects on the way for 2020. What can we look out for?

Ingri: This year, I'm working on a new piece Spectral with Fredrik Floen, which will be a performance that builds on Diorama, takng some of the concepts regarding the human and non-human further. We will premiere at Dansens Hus in Oslo in September and then go on tour. Also, I'm collaborating with choreographer Solveig Styve Holte on the performance HORDE, a piece featuring 15 teenage girls, which addresses art and privileges. It will premiere at the Munch Museum/CODA festival in Oslo in October.  

Ingri Fiksdal | Fest en Fest

Ingri Fiksdal
Diorama
Fri 7 - Sun 9 Feb
outside the Cutty Sark, Greenwich
Tickets and info: festenfest.info