For many years, and mostly during my three years of studies at the Interuniversity Center for Dance, Berlin, I didn’t create pieces for the stage. It wasn’t for any ideological reasons, I was just busy with concepts that required other forms of presentation. My interest was lying in forms like happenings, durational performances, installations, video and performance art. But as I began working in that realm, I started to realize the differences in conditions, visibility and resources that performance art and installation works receive when they are placed in the same event next to stage performances. It seemed that the situation was mostly in favor of the latter. Thus, I became more and more aware of this power relation and had the urge to look deeper into the relationship between artworks on stage and artworks that use other constellations.
This research question involved historical, social, behavioral and conceptual layers. For my research "First stage, A conceptual stage" I focused on the conceptual questions that relate to the topic: what does the notion of "stage" mean? How is it manifested? What are the attributes of performances which don't use the stage, etc. As a second step, I wrote and produced a stage piece that draws upon those issues ("Natyadharmi, Berlin 2016)
Until today, these research questions concern me and my work as a performance artist as well as my ideologies as a cultural consumer.
Excerpt from the text "First stage, A conceptual stage":
"Entering the conceptual question of "what is a stage?" might be a complicated task, and arouses many fundamental questions: While speaking about 'stage', do we speak about 'theatre'? And in case we speak about the stage as a concept, do we include abstract possibilities of what the stage can be (for example: a state of mind)? How is the stage defined? By performance actions or by an actual site? Or putting it more precisely: if a performance piece is shown in a museum, for example, does the fact that it is a performance transform the location into a stage? Or is the stage a predefined location? And then… do we come back to the theatres?
I would like to approach the notion of 'stage' as an architectural site, which implies a concrete space, nonetheless, it doesn't have to be necessarily within a theatre. I see a defined space, located on the floor level or heightened from it as a platform. Quadrangular, mostly; indoors, mostly; lit by artificial lights, mostly; and divided in a defined way from the audience. These are obviously banal archetypes of a stage, and of course it has countless potential forms and possibilities: a studio room with natural lights, an outdoor location or a round shape arena. That way or the other, from the architectural perspective, the stage is a place that defines itself by the division from the ordinary. In that respect, the adjective "Extraordinary" would be a great word to describe its features: this "out-of-ordinary" place produces a set of expectations for something "out-of-ordinary" to happen. It is a place beyond ordinary locations, and thus heightens itself above the everyday and produces this "extra" element: the stage is an extra space to the ordinary spaces. It's a location where a spectacle (no matter on which scale) is about to happen, and therefore, it is also a declaration of division between the ones who are on it and the ones who are not. It groups the people who are in the overall space- separates them and divides them, produces specific identities to each part of the equation.