For many years, and mostly during my three years of studies at the Interuniversity Center for Dance, Berlin, I didn’t create pieces for stage. It wasn’t of 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 a part of entering this 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. I became more and more sensitive to this inequality and had the urge to look deeper into the relationship between artworks on stage and artworks that use other constellations and if there is a hierarchy inside this relationship.
This question involves historical, social, behavioral and conceptual layers and could have been tackled from many different approaches. For the first step of my research "First stage, A conceptual stage" I focused on 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. For me, this possibility was a cornerstone to develop a further discourse, by creating a common ground.
As a second step, I started to conceptualize a stage performance, that will tackle precisely these issues. I knew that this piece should be "the most stage piece ever"- and that's how I made Natyadharmi.
Until today, these research questions concern me as an individual, concern my work as a performance artist and concern my ideologies as a cultural consumer.
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 an 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 outdoors location or a round shape arena. That way or the other, from the architectural perspective, the stage is a place which defines itself by the division from the ordinary. In that respect, the adjective "Extraordinary" would be a great word to the 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.