(color video, 1.45 min. Jesper Nordahl, 2004)
Jesper Nordahl’s video Breakdance (2004) documents the spontaneous performance of a dance-come-gymnastic routine by a youth, keen to impress the ‘tourist’ with a camera. The work was developed while on residency at the abandoned military port of Karosta, in Western Latvia. The site’s history is paramount to the work’s ultimate readi and is visually implied by the dilapidated state of the social housing blocks captured in the background and the subtly outmoded clothing of the performer.
Jesper Nordahl’s video Breakdance (2004) uses the embodiment of breakdancing in his subject and it’s latent history, to puncture a bleak cityscape with notions of resistance and self-expression that draw from groups in the Bonx NYC in the 1970s and the broader countercultural movement which began out of a disillusionment of social constructs and demanded greater individual freedoms and determinacy.
In Breakdance optimism and change ultimately fail as the divide between context and body dissolves in the character of the performance itself. The embodiment of a socially progressive dance becomes a parody due to the graceless and clumsy physical movement of the actor which ultimately binds him to the very apparatus (both physical and ideological) that he is trying to depart.
text: Amy Croft, excerpts from an exhibition review of 'Provisorisches Yoga’ curated by Mari Laanemets and Søren Grammel, Grazer Kunstverein, 2009, amycroft.co.uk/
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