Smoke, marching, the glint of flares refected on helmets. Shields locktogether, crowds scatter and re-form. Escalate, synchronise.CALL TO ARMS is an... Read More
Smoke, marching, the glint of flares refected on helmets. Shields locktogether, crowds scatter and re-form. Escalate, synchronise.
CALL TO ARMS is an immersive artwork by PentHouss that uses dance, sound, light, and optical illusion to explore themes of governmental power, control, and social unrest. Informed by the oppressive military dominance that they felt in their native Israel, along with the growing ubiquity of violence against civilians by police forces around the world – at Paris’ gilets jaunes protests, global BLM marches, SARS protests in Nigeria, the Hong Kong democracy rallies, and Pro-Palestine solidarity marches - PentHouss’ Anna Lann and Yonathan Trichter, in collaboration with curator Helen Neven and choreographer Ekin Bernay, use performance to convey a direct experience of political mobilisation, appropriating the tools, movements and uniforms used by systems of power them- selves.
Six dancers dressed in real riot police uniforms move through a series of crowd control tactics lifted directly from police training in a choreography that also draws from krumping - a dance style informed by street fighting. The action takes place in a mirrored hexagon, creating an infinite army before the viewer in its refections. The piece sought to confront viewers who may never have experienced a riot first-hand or questioned their own privilege in this regard, probing the feelings that these figures and situations evoke. Viewers left very moved and feeling more politically mobilised. One visitor noted: ‘It really challenged my perception of how it would feel to be threatened by those who are supposed to protect you. I’ve never felt like that.’
An exposé of the theatrics of order enforcement, CALL TO ARMS reflects on the complex relationship between agents of power and the civilians they supposedly protect; on the instrumentalisation of fear; on the duality of “them” and “us” at street level. Movement is dance; movement is assembly; movement is a call to arms.
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