This video work '23° West' brings together Australian interdisciplinary artist Vanessa White, Finnish choreographer Favela Vera Ortiz, Icelandic performer Thora Solveig Bergsteinsdottir and Australian musician Michael Havir and Ania Reynolds. The work was filmed in the West region of Iceland around Snæfellsjökull (the glacier) and National Park.
In a landscape rendered treeless by generations of human land use and millennia of successive glaciations White, Vera Ortiz and Bergsteinsdottir create a work that uses location, movement, and an expanded video mise en scene to enact an inner landscape. They perform visually and bodily the process of navigating the terrain of emotion, thought and ideas creating for the viewer a rich imaginary space where it is possible to inhabit the work as a psychic theatre to reflect on a personal relationship to navigating the passing of time.
Bergsteinsdottir and Vera Ortiz devise a Butoh influenced language of movement which with the continuous repetition of falling, standing, grappling with the landscape and contemplation evokes a Beckett like stoicism. I can’t go on. I’ll go on.
White expands the timeframe of the movement and the editing so that actions occur simultaneously outside linear time. Viewers experience both the movements of Bergsteinsdottir and the landscape itself as a floating continuum of associations allowing the work to form a more abstract totality. One where both the metaphor and the physical actualities of movement and landscape combine to create the work.
Dancer: Thora Solveig Bergsteinsdottir
Choreographer: Favela Vera Ortiz
Videographer/editor: Vanessa White
Music and sound: Michael Havir and Ania Reynolds. Mixed by Michael Havir
Thora Solveig Bergsteinsdottir is an Icelandic performer and artist based in Akureyri, Iceland.
Her works involve the physical embodiment of interior images and explore body, movement, and
nature through her works. The underlying themes in her work are movement and a state of being,
investigating physical presence and relationships to the natural environment.
Growing up in the north of Iceland, nature and the elements have been a strong influence on her
work. Thora graduated from the Iceland Academy of the Arts in 2004. She has performed and
exhibited throughout Europe and China and has work represented in the Akureyri Art Museum,
Favela Vera Ortiz is a Finnish-Argentinian choreographer based in Helsinki, Finland. She creates
compositions that extend the boundaries of the body, self, and space. Favela is well known as
an inventor of Choreographer’s Appointment, in which participants find their solo movements with
the choreographer, and engage in a social form of personal choreography with a performance.
Favela has worked with multiple themes in her native Finland, in Stockholm, Buenos Aires, Paris,
and Melbourne, Australia, to name a few locations.
She studied at the University of Dance, choreographer department in Stockholm, Sweden.
Choreographed works for dance companies in Buenos Aires and in Gothenburg and!
has worked at several artist residencies including The Cité Internationale des Arts Paris, France.
Vanessa White is an Australian visual and interdisciplinary artist based in Melbourne, Australia.
Her work traverses multiple disciplines predominantly working with, painting, animation, and
performance. Vanessa navigates pathways through visceral artworks exploring longstanding
traditions of aesthetic and philosophical debate about art and identity.
Vanessa graduated with a Masters in Visual Art form Sydney College of the Arts. She has worked
as a Visual effects artist on feature film the Matrix, exhibited collaborative projects at the Ebeltoft
Glass Museum, Denmark and physical theatre performance work ‘Plasticus'. Vanessa is
represented in the Australian Artbank collection and has participated in International and Australian
residencies including Bundanon Trust.