Meeting the ghost. By Antje Pfundtner

Antje Pfundtner_Nimmer for kids © Anja Beutler (2)When I first heard about modul-dance and realised that 20 European dance houses would be taking part in this project I thought I’d struck the jackpot.

However, on a personal level, modul-dance remained a ghost in my eyes. Indeed, I did have my 3 partners with all of whom I had shared unquestionably fruitful experiences.

But somehow it was still a mystery to me how this huge network could have really worked between us all and how we could communicate. Meetings with my partners were on a one-to-one basis when I visited them. I choose the word “visit” as I was not seeking a residency but instead opted to visit them and engage in a number of experiments at their destinations or their festivals that were linked to my research at the time. Hellerau was the “only” partner who was able to handle the “presentation-modul”, and I am delighted and thankful for that. I say “able” as I have realised that the people involved in the modul-dance project like to make reference to the “weak” or “strong” partners one comes to rely on. I discovered that Hellerau constituted a strong partner as they were able to back the artistic project with funds. Perhaps I have won the jackpot after all? (not to say that I, personally did not find my other partners strong as well).

Indeed, I am very pleased to be able to appoint Hellerau as my co-producer/partner for the future! And this is of course thanks to our experience with modul-dance. So, I won the jack-pot afterall!??  But is the modul-dance jackpot not more in the sense of widening your European connections and engaging in personal and artistic dialogue with many European partners!?? And shouldn’t that be the real jackpot that all of these modul-dance-partners are  already being inter-connected enabling artists to use an entire network speeding up the dissemination of artistic work because artists do not need to approach each party individually!?

And is this the reason why the network stays a ghost to me, as I have not been able to connect to new partners! ? Or is it due to the fact that Hellerau is a German partner I knew previously, and this does not feel very European to me!? However, perhaps it is because at these modul-dance conferences I met so many people who are involved with the network who then disappear again? Or is it because I had a different concept of how dissemination should operate? Maybe, therefore, I should simply let my own image go.  As images always remain a ghost.

First I thought that my personal problem was that I was not seeking a residency. Yet, I believe residencies are perchance the best way to engage in direct, personal dialogue with an institution – thus getting to know the ghost. Therefore, I decided to visit the two partners I knew were unable to present my work but were supporting the artistic research for it. And without going into detail, both visits – the festival with Goran/Kino Šiška and the modul-dance-festival in Stockholm – were highly friendly, enriching experiences. But then again, I knew Goran from before and I knew my main contributors from Dansens Hus. They seemed real to me before. But despite the advantage of such a huge network with so many houses I had formerly been unfamiliar with, they still somehow remained a ghost to me.

Even when I recently performed my latest work nimmer in Hellerau I was fortunate to meet other modul-dance artists but no modul-dance institution. But perhaps that fits in with the subject I was working on in that piece, which ist he subject of “disappearance”.

However, I state in this work that “nothing can disappear. It all comes back again, doesn’t it?”

I know one day I will meet these ghosts. I merely need to learn how to call them.

Antje Pfundtner in Gesellschaft

Picture: © Anja Beutler

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