The film Umwelt, l'autre côte des miroir (the other side of the mirror) by David Mambouch, after the performance.
In this film, we will see the performance again, but from behind the mirrors that can be seen in the performance. This way we see how complex and precise Umwelt is structured, and how the back of the performance also has a choreography.
Umwelt by French icon Maguy Marin was described as one of the most significant creative achievements on the world dance scene. But even today, the work is still relevant. Together with nine performers, we are trapped in a chilling game called life during seemingly everyday activities.
Umwelt, a plastic world buffeted by a stormy wind, makes use of perceptive staging composed of doors and mirrors. Within this vibrating framework moving bodies go back and forth, appear, disappear, and embark on instants of everyday existence. They might brandish an object, hug, walk, eat or disappear. This uninterrupted suite of entries and exits builds up a gallery-like array of different attitudes and postures – like a random roll of film inserted into a faulty projector. The machine gradually starts to go out of control, cuts out, repeats itself and then starts up again. The different bodies in the space split apart, repeat themselves, positioned on the brink of their own existences. Like a catalogue of ephemeral beings, or a ‘user guide for life' which will continue its search until ‘the running out of all possibles', Umwelt hollows out the future of our own environment – in all its vanity and fragility.
Maguy Marin's work breaks free from all codes and formal constraints in order to invent new onstage forms in which music, text, theatre and dance confront and question each other mutually. Each of her works looks upon the body, voice, time, and stage as matter to be harmonized, twisted or interwoven. In 2003, more than 30 years after her first production, she presented Umwelt, the radical nature of which shook the very foundations of performance to the core – plunging audiences deep into a tumultuous vision with bodies grappling with time, and struggling with their self-image in the midst of an unstable and chaotic environment. Twenty years later, this choreographic force to be reckoned with has lost none of her percussive impact.
For over 40 years, French choreographer Maguy Marin (1951) has been at the top of the French dance world. She made her big breakthrough in the '80s with her sensational choreography May B. This work has been considered a milestone ever since and has stood the test of time. Compagnie Maguy Marin has been associated with several important French stages over the past decades. In 2011, more than 30 creations and several important dance awards later, Marin settled with her company in her hometown of Toulouse. She was one of the few non-American artists to receive the American Dance Festival Award. In 2008, she was awarded a Bessie Award in New York for Umwelt. In 2016, the Venice Biennale presented her with a Golden Lion for the entirety of her artistic oeuvre.
and video from 2004 year performance (sorry for quality)