Dust Devil Residency Notes


Norwegian dancer and choreographer, Lisa Colette Bysheim is sharing her thoughts after a two-week residency at Onassis AiR in Athens.

03. oktober 2023
Av BIT Teatergarasjen

Nothing is experienced by itself, but always in relations to its surroundings.
Emergence, emergence, emergence, emergence, emergence.
Physical forces.
It is us.

In so many ways not us. 


A city with an abundance of public squares, many activated through the touristic gaze. Spectacular large open spaces, oddly empty as the sun scorches down. The public follow the architectural pathways of the squares. The paved lines create directions, acting as a suction tunnel. Different temporalities, hurried steps meeting striding legs, flooding in from the sides towards another exit, crossing, stillness, never staying too long, always passing through, direct diagonals. Chattering, rumbling traffic, birds flapping.

This two-week residency at Onassis was a profound and unique opportunity to look at mass movement and the emergent behaviour that occurs in public squares in Athens. It was composed of site visits to public squares such as; Syntagma Square, Monastiraki Square, Kotzia Square, Platia Protomsgias, Exarcheia Square, Victoria Park, and Korai Square.

Field-notes were accumulated through video and sound recordings; noticing how the public moved and interacted through the large open spaces. All while observing movement patterns that emerged based on the urban landscape and architecture.

Based on the field notes and observations, I had daily time in the studio exploring how this could be translated to the body, voice and rhythmic footwork. This practice-based research has unfolded through accumulative layering; moving between theory, movement practice and critical reflection.

The last two days of the residency included a workshop where local dancers; Despoina Sand Crezia, Polena Kolia Petersen, Xristina Papaoikonomou, Mathilde Rouiller participated in choreographic and vocal experiments based on my research. Fruitful encounters between vocal themes and rhythms were developed through successively entering voices in a continuous interweaving of parts. A space to share, discuss, and play through an open exploration of emergence in constant motion. Sculptural slowness. Orbiting. Geometry. Monumental glitching. Something about mass movement. Spectacular visual and acoustic kaleidoscopes.

Moving between theory and practice, I’ve been exploring the potential of emergent patterns as it intersects with the concept of mass ornaments. How are movement actions influenced by urban landscape? I’ve questioned how public squares are used today and what mass ornaments can tell us about the symptoms of our society. I’ve also questioned what collective body is; in society and the public space? What impact does it have? How can we belong to something larger than ourselves: not only as individuals, but existing in collective; an ecosystem? 

A research project still in its early stages of development, slowly becoming, finding it form and aesthetic through experiments, reflection, and discussions with artists/curators.

“Choreography enacts the fantasies that underpin social relations, or more radically, that it produces or shapes social relations” 
-Andrew Hewitt, 2005 


By Lisa Colette Bysheim Athens, 12. - 27. June 2023 


Reading list during the residency:
- The Mass Ornament, Siegfried Kracauer, (1995)
- Patterns in nature, emergent urbanism and the implicate order, Maria Rosália Guerrero, (2011)
- Social Choreography: ideology as performance in dance and everyday movement, Andrew Hewitt, (2005)
- Between Ornament and Monument Siegfried Kracauer and the Archttectural Implications of the Mass Ornament, Joan Ockman, (2003)
- A Live Gathering: Performance and politics in contemporary Europe, Ana Vujanovic with Livia Andrea Piazza (2019)