A special emphasis on the intersection of music and dance will be ongoing at the HAU2 during CTM 2018, via focus points on pioneering artists and art forms. The story and legacy of choreographer, electronic music composer, improviser, dance therapist, and pedagogue Ernest Berk will be explored over three consecutive nights.
Berk’s versatile, innovative career spanned decades and reflected deep involvement in leftist politics and non-Western aesthetics. The Cologne native’s pairing of modern dance with musique concrète is one of the most unusual stylistic combinations of the 20th century. In the project “The Complete Expressionist”, the celebrated Berlin choreographer Christoph Winkler will oversee the long-overdue reconstruction of Ernest Berk’s dance pieces and performances of selected musical compositions as live concerts.
To kick off the evening, theatre and dance researcher Patrick Primavesi, Professor of Theater and Dance Studies, Universität Leipzig, will give a talk and present images from the Berk archive in the HAU2 foyer. In the first performances of the event, Winkler’s dancers (Martin Hansen, Lois Alexander, Emma Daniel, Sarina Egan-Sitinjak, Julia B. Laperrière, Luke Divall, Lisa Rykena, Dana Pajarillaga, Riccardo De Simone, & Gareth Okan) will interpret various shorter pieces by the pioneer. Following this, they will reenact the improvised “trance dance sessions” Berk regularly hosted in the 1970s, and lauded Japanese avant-noise duo group A will provide the live soundtrack using samples of Berk’s original rhythmic patterns.
After an intermission, a collaboration between celebrated Berlin-based experimental musicians Rashad Becker and Pan Daijing presents new material inspired by Berk’s working methods, musical structures, and textual directions. Lastly, on this day only, the performances will be followed by a lecture and film screening by British experimental musician Ian Helliwell in which he discusses Ernest Berk's output and position within the history of early British electronic music. Helliwell will also show a 25-minute edited version of his 2011 film on British electronic experimenter FC Judd to give a sense of the cultural and musical contexts in which Berk was situated.
Throughout the three performance days, listening stations featuring Berk’s numerous compositions will also be installed in the HAU2 foyer.
Ernest Berk – The Complete Expressionist is funded by TANZFONDS ERBE – an Initiative by the German Federal Cultural Foundation.
Ernest Berk (1909-1993) was a pioneering choreographer, electronic music composer, improviser, dance therapist, and pedagogue whose versatile career spanned decades and reflected deep involvement in leftist politics and Buddhism. After establishing a career in Germany as a young man, the political climate preceding WWII led to his exile in Great Britain, where he remained until returning to Germany in the 1980s.
Japanese duo group A was formed in 2012 by Tommi Tokyo (synthesizer, vocals, percussion) and Sayaka Botanic (violin, synthesizer, cassette tapes). Their shows, with their mixture of synth heavy minimal wave, avant noise, striking visuals and performance art, consistently deliver surprises to most spectators.
Over the years, Rashad Becker has accrued credits on over 1,200 albums as a mastering and cutting engineer at Berlin’s esteemed Dubplates and Mastering, as well as at his own Studio Clunk. As a producer, he has released Traditional Music of a Notional Species Vol. 1 and 2 on PAN, in 2013 and 2016 respectively.
Patrick Primavesi will give a talk as part of the series of events programmed around the life and work of Ernest Berk. Primavesi is a professor at the Institut für Theaterwissenschaft (Theatre Institute) at the University of Leipzig.
Ian Helliwell is an audio-visual artist, composer, electronic instrument builder, filmmaker and collagist based in Brighton, UK. He has been making music in his home studio since his early teens and has created over 120 solo pieces – some with guitar, bass, drums tape loops and radio, and the bulk featuring his self built electronic tone generators and synths, the Hellitrons and Hellisizers.
Pan Daijing makes music, art, and tells stories. Born and raised in Guiyang, Southwest China, she has been based in Berlin since 2016. Rooted in noise music, her raw approach as a composer and performer takes many forms; primarily performance art, sound, dance and installation, hinging heavily on improvisation and acts of storytelling.
Christoph Winkler is one of Germany’s most versatile choreographers. His work encompasses a wide spectrum of styles as well as themes ranging from the personal to the political. He is widely regarded for his unique dancing style and minimalist, discursive, strictly composed dance dramas.