Bahar Temiz on ICE

ICE is choreographed for a body and a bunch of ropes. Bahar Temiz starts from stories about polar explorers, and their expeditions to Antarctica in the beginning of the 20th century. Driven by a desire for discovery, they expose themselves to extreme conditions and put their lives at risk, and step into an unknown world of ice.

© Danny Willems

What inspired you to create ICE?

I was inspired by storytelling and particularly by tales in which someone leaves for a journey and never comes back the same. He or she (unfortunately mostly "he") learns about himself but also gets lost and sometimes disappears. I like very much the idea of stepping into an unknown field, of not knowing if you are ever going to make out of it and how.

The explorers of the early 20th century were probably adrenaline junkies.

Many of them went back to the places where they had almost died. There was so much to know, to invent, to discover, to exploit. Where we are now is a different story. We need to discover new planets for our survival, reinvent ourselves and the space around us. On a bigger scale, it is exactly like in the tales: world in constant transformation and humanity developing new technologies to survive. I find this restless flow depressing but also exciting: construct to deconstruct, deconstruct to construct almost eternally.

What would you like people to experience or take away from ICE?

ICE is about the basic human experience of being in the world.

The relation between a human body and a bunch of ropes is an analogy to the complexity of the outside world and our potential to interact with it. Ropes become the prolongation of this internal journey.

Audience is a very complex group of people and I am very excited to hear different associations happening for different people. What is important is that they could connect with the work on their way.

How does ICE relate to the pieces that you have created before as a choreographer?

In 2014, I started working with ropes in a solo piece called IN LOVE. There were many different materials and ropes were making a quarter of the piece. It was the part that was sticking out the most and I got encouraged to follow that thread but it took me 5 years and 3 pieces to get back to it. TRAILER (2015) was a commissioned work for a gallery and my colleagues Aslanboga, Heller and I were dividing the space with thin ropes from one wall to the other and the audience was invited to move in between. ZEE (2018) was a duet with Daphne Koutsafti, inspired by Gus Van Sant’s movie. Two characters, both called Gerry, start walking and get seriously lost in the Death Valley. Situations that require endurance and survival skills are a big interest for me. M.A.R.S (2017) with Felix Mathias Ott was an essay on merging into each other and moving symmetrically. It was also a piece about survival in terms of what the piece was doing to us as performers. It required a tremendous effort of concentration and physicality. Both of these duets seek for restrictions to allow the body to find new strategies. I think ICE continues on this track of endurance but it is a step further in terms of how much more I allow myself to do on stage. There are many different elements that - I hope - all are following one thread.

What is for you the main difference when you perform in the work of another choreographer vs. when you make the work yourself?

I love working for other choreographers as I like supporting other people’s choices and feed them as much as I can. Working as a choreographer myself adds so much to my already existing isolation - in which I start to get lost. I have a tendency to get very much in my mind also due to the disproportion between the time to conceive and finance the work and the time in the studio. The involvement in terms of duration is radically different. When one decides to focus on a subject, everything that happens somehow links to that topic. So the research is ongoing from the first moment when the project starts until it is presented. Once the team gets involved, the process gets much lighter and joyful. Seeing each person getting involved in his/her time, coming to the point where we are making it together is super exciting that I have nothing else to compare to. It is as if you were dreaming by yourself and these dreams can take shapes in reality.

I am just happy when I can be a part of creative process one way or other.