The mechanics of the flesh

Les mécaniques de chair

Photo: David Wong
Flirting with the stereotype, the gesture is even more complex in the course of interaction, giving rise to very beautiful litters, group work, and movements, combined, synchronous and then subtly in the gap, relay and support each other.

Inspired by the thoughts of transhumanism, Phenomena of Ismaël Mouaraki opens a window on the body of the future fantasy without bothering to technological tools. Embodying the scene of the humanoid robots, five dancers pass through several stages of evolution through contact with the human viewer. From the environment of urban dances, the choreographer draws from a vocabulary that lends itself well to the theme, using with finesse of robotics, popping , taking care to dig deep of body states. Finely built as a result of a rigorous choreographic research, the model wears more a utopian vision that she does truly ethical issues related to the fact replicate the human through technology.

In semi-darkness, the five performers appear as showers of light, prototypes for costumes flesh-colored, motionless and lying on the ground. The crackling sound, and under the effects of strobe lighting, first of all, their nerve endings waking up, in reflex electric in the feet and hands. Then, adopting the gestures, stereotypical robots — travel-dip, decortication marked the movement, and pivotements side, the dancers have turned the corner, engaging with flexibility of the spine until the vertebrae, to launch out individually in large crossings of the plateau. From one end to the other of the room, the demanding physicality is brought with aplomb and virtuosity. By the simple magic of sound and lights (tandem Chabot-Chambers), the image of a laboratory where artificial intelligences embodied are delivered to themselves in their learning process comes to mind.

Sensitivities collective

Ismaël Mouaraki has a fine mastery of the deployment of the energy on the duration and fluctuations in rhythm that is calibrated perfectly to the soundtrack signed Antoine Berthiaume. Flirting with the stereotype — and it is assumed —, the gesture becomes more complex through the interaction of increasingly intense between the performers. This gives rise to very beautiful litters, group work, and movements, combined, synchronous and then subtly in the gap, relay and support each other. In duet and solo, it continues dramatically in rotations acrobatic with inflections of b-boying. Welcome here the impressive performance solo and the force, velocity, and fluidity of Geneviève Boulet.

At various times, these human beings that are replicated come groping to break the fourth wall. Standing lined up just inches away from us, so that we can see the sweat of a body enduring beading on the knees of our neighbor —, we observe in detail the work of the dancers are inhabited by their characters. The incarnation of the jaw that fits into their eyes, studying our movements, seem to capture an emotion and a catalyst to impregnate. The touch of the performer to the audience, dare to forward, remains cautious — perhaps too cautious — and would be more honest to install a real interaction, a sharing more felt.

Although there is attendît to more confusion in our sensations, and a treatment of the theme unless agreed upon — which would have led to paradoxes, futuristic universe in which we live Ismaël Mouaraki in Phenonema, however, captivates and seduces. It is ultimately up to the utopian vision of these sentient beings, closely interconnected, and building a caring community that outweighs the ethical questions and social transhumanism.


Choreography of Ismaël Mouaraki with Audrey Bergeron, Geneviève Boulet, Felix Cossette Levasseur, José Flores and Geneviève Gagné. Presented by Agora de la danse Building in Wilder – Dance Space until 16 march.