As all lights in the space are turned on Christian Falsnaes steps forward. With a loud forcefull voice he ask the audience to stand up and join him an a collaborative session. He ask us to shout ’yes’ if we want to join him. ’You can shout this much louder’ and we shout loader. The third shout is a huge roar YES! Then we are divided into two groups and placed in two long rows facing each other. Falsnaes is shouting at us, commanding us to do this and that, but in a positive, strong optimistc tone. This is something we can achive together. We! Together!
Group A is now asked to be active and group B to be passive. A series of small sensous acts are carried out by group A. They are looking at us, touching us, caressing us. It soft, but kind of evasive as well. Evasive for both the active and the passive participants. Step by step a stranger is getting closer to you. Its both evasive and funny at the same time. Falsnaes is both commanding , dominating and funny at the same time.
In the last part we are asked to dance, first wild and anarchic, then soft and sensual. The seesions peaks when Falsnaes in the middle ask us to get as close to him as posible, closer and closer we dance, everyone is one large group touching and dancing with each other still closer, one large collective body swaying together. Falsnaes is in the middle leaning back letting himself float on the our collective body.
This is manipulation, of course it is manipulation. But its an image. We become an image. Falsnaes’s figure is the figure of male domination; the figure of male power to manipulate. And we become the passive crowd who lets someone manipulate us. The surpricing part is that we are so easily convinced. That his voice is so strong and so soothing that we let him guide us thru this with a knowing smile. And we smile as we are manipulated. Everyone takes part, and probably everyone takes part with that ironic scepticism. Yes, I can take part , but only for the fun of it. We know its only a gesture, that its only an image.
The evasive act is nothing special. Its something we see going on around us every day. In television, at rock-concerts, in sports. Crowd control. Crowd psychology. Crowd pleasing. Crowd surfing. Crowd behavior. Here it is singled out , it is something we can observe; we are both inside the crowd and outside observing ourselves taking part in this evasive crowd act. We can observe ourselves becoming a crowd.
What is interesting here: The possibility to observe ourselves becoming a crowd. That is what Christian Falsnaes reveals: the mechanisms of crowd behavior. The mechanisms of leadership. The figure of a leader. The seductive mechanism of a leader creating a crowd. How easy it is to let ourselves slide into the submissive collective body of the crowd.
PerformanceNÅ/NU6: …när du vaknat har vi kommit fram till Köpenhamn
an evening with performance art from Copenhagen.
Landmark, Bergen 12.11. at 20.00
Olof Olsson, Lilibeth Cuenca Rasmussen, Sophie Dupont, Christian Falsnaes.
curated by Frans Jacobi for PAB, Performance Art Bergen.
photos: Bjarte Bjørkum