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Song Sing Soil by Eglė Budvytytė and Marija Olšauskaitė kicks off Vleeshal's 2023 season from January 22 to April 2, 2023.
The venue has been divided into two halves, each with its own entrance. The front chamber will house a sound installation and serve as a kind of rehearsal space for the creation of a new performance piece that will evolve throughout the exhibition. When there is no performance booked, people are welcome to enjoy a custom-modified trampoline. The trampoline becomes a stage and a vital part of the choreography throughout the performances, not as a way for the performers to jump into the air, but as a way for them to move while sinking into the ground.
The ground and its decaying soils are key motifs for the artists as they create this new piece. In the dance, gravity exerts a strong pull; bodies glide slowly through downward horizontality and submission. The ground is where materials degrade and decompose while new vegetation forms at the same time. How do you move in the gap between form and formlessness? Also, how do you move while being moved by someone else? The trampoline is embraced here as a shared plane where everyone is touched by each other’s movements, much as the soil is a site of intense and messy relationality.
In the back space of the Vleeshal is Songs from the Compost: Mutating Bodies, Imploding Stars, a video by Budvytytė with Olšauskaitė and Julija Steponaitytė, which was displayed as part of The Milk of Dreams at the 59th Venice Biennale in 2022 and is screened here for the first time in The Netherlands.
Songs from the Compost was shot on location in the woodlands and sand dunes around the Nida Art Colony on the Curonian Spit in Lithuania, and featured a cast of teenage dancers and students from a nearby high school in what has been described as a “reflection on sylvan-cyborgian symbiosis.” The performers enact fleshy becomings and un-becomings in ritualized connections with the terrain while wearing clothes that have partially decayed after being buried in the ground for several weeks and with their bodies expanded and enlarged using a succession of mystery prosthetics.
Song Sing Soil is curated by Roos Gortzak, director of Vleeshal.
Eglė Budvytytė (b. 1981, Lithuania) is an artist based in Amsterdam and Vilnius. In her practice—which involves songs, poetry, videos and performances—she explores the permeable relationships between bodies, audiences, and environments, with a particular emphasis on the powers of vulnerability and collectivity.
Marija Olšauskaitė (b. 1989, Lithuania) is an artist based in Vilnius and New York City. She employs various modes of collaboration and explores the themes of relationships, openness, intimacy, and belonging.