CATALYSTS — Somatic Resonance

Somatic Resonance is an installation exhibition of somatic states from the work of Icelandic choreographer Margrét Sara Guðjónsdóttir. The exhibition is a choreography of mixed reality technologies, kinaesthetic algorithms, affects, archival material, and live bodies. Visitors are invited to download the CATALYSTS app to immerse themselves in the resonant states of the dancers informed by Guðjónsdóttir’s deep tissue de-conditioning practice ‘FULL DROP into the Body’. States of affective potential arise from awakening latent energies over time, across media and flesh, expanding what dance can be and how bodies can remember.

This work is created by an interdisciplinary team of artists and researchers and is an intervention in the tensions and potential of current digital cultures. It participates in ongoing discussions around the expanded choreographies of interconnectivity of mediated bodies, healing, feminism, notions of energetic citizenship, AI and the pathology of the wider social-political body within our bodies. Visitors to the exhibition carry the states from this choreographic exhibition outwards, like ripples in a collective somatic field.

  • Margrét Sara Guðjónsdóttir
    Concept, Choreography & author of performance works and somatic practice
  • Project Type:
    Augmented Reality
  • Genres:
  • Completion Date:
    February 24, 2022
  • Country of Origin:
  • Language:
  • Student Project:
  • Institute for Cultural Inquiry - Performing Embodiment Practices of Reduction
    February 24, 2023
Director Biography

Icelandic choreographer and dancer Margrét Sara Guðjónsdóttir was born in Reykjavík in 1978. She studied at the dance department of the Art Academy ARTEZ in Arnheim and Amsterdam in the Netherlands and graduated in 2002. She lives and works in Berlin since 2014.

Electronic music maker Peter Rehberg (PITA) director and owner of the music label Edition MEGO has created the soundtracks to all the performances. The performers Laura Siegmund, Suet-Wan Tsang, Johanna Chemnitz, Angela Schubot, Catherine Jodoin, Louise Dahl, Marie Ursin have been long term collaborators, amongst other female dancers that deeply engaged in the work.

Along side the creation of the performance works a research into what became the FULL DROP into the Body practice catapulted a process of mapping out a new category of performative body language, ways of developing it and transferring the knowledge both practically and theoretically to the wider international dance scene and academia. By creating the circumstances to be undone, FULL DROP into the Body practice questions older concepts of how we relate to our “professional” body and methods of disciplining and dominating that body in order to gain control over it and have it perform for us. Once the plasticity of the human matter is recognized, de-conditioning our formerly imprinted body memory, can be seen as a political act.

The performance works engage in the ongoing discussion of healing, feminism, interconnectedness, notions of energetic citizenship, and the pathology of the social political body within the choreographic context. Since 2010 displaying the politics of intimacy is a core theme within the work and the aim is to create an environment where both performer and onlooker are able to question their inner and outer realities through it. The works function as safer spaces for collective exploration of the maze of connections and dead ends that constitute the interface of the pathological body with our achievement-oriented society and outer and inner realities beyond it. This fact reinforces the theme in the practice of allowing the performer and viewer access to states that are usually extremely private or even unconscious, thereby opening up the way for a profound experience that is disarmingly radical in its manifestation and politics. These body states are celebrated as visceral denials of the externally and internally imposed imperatives to achieve, and draw a contrast with the logic of hyperactivity by presenting an alternative kind of energy and strength. A body that opposes influences that are unhealthy to it exerts a subversive power over its environment. It transfers itself, as a kind of physical-energetic contagion, onto the bodies of the audience. From a starting point of letting the body fall and surrender, this body continues its emptying and disintegration to an extreme state during the course of the performances. This disintegration of the bodies of the performers is taken into the inner reality of the audience through the steady, slow, and hypnotic transformation taking place in front of their eyes. The result is a cohort of radically de-bordered bodies that portray the anonymous multitude. The dancers surrender to and are moved by inner forces, both political and energetic in nature, both ancient and current, and of a magnitude and power far greater than all of us. Forming a corporeal language that serves as a doorway into the subconscious. This language is marked by an infinite presence that reveals and provokes in the same moment. It breaches the divide between performer and audience in a meeting that is of high intensity. Together, exploring and confronting the inner landscape of the de-bordered body, offering up an alternative HYPER reality by surrendering to our shared reality.

During 2015 Margrét Sara became the first artist in residence at the Cullberg Ballet in Stockholm. Creating her second commissioned work for the Cullberg Ballet in 2017. Since 2017 she has had an on going collaboration with philosophy Professor Susan Kozel at Malmö University in Sweden. This research opened into philosophical dimensions, integrating the deep fascial release practice of FULL DROP into the Body with philosophical thought and language in collaboration they intend to work on a book together on this topic. Margrét Sara was one of 10 artists in residence at Flutgraben in Berlin during the period 2019 -2020. Curating collaboratively four events titled ”Flutgraben Performance Series”. Since 2017 she has an on going research with Phenomenologists Prof. Susan Kozel into the somatic states that make up her choreography and how they help to construct an understanding of Somatic Materialism in the world of philosophy. Incorporating the FULL DROP into the Body practice into philosophical thought and language. Other currently on going interdisciplinary collaborations include a full length film project with visual artist and filmmaker Hulda Rós Guðnadóttir. As well as research and creative work with choreographer and dancers Karolin Ginman and dancer Marlon Moilanen. Together exploring the intersections of various sciences of psychology and performative states.

Margrét Sara keeps on an open dialog with Professor Lucilla Guidi who did a postdoctoral at Hildesheim University on the research project “Performance and language games as transformative events”. Which focuses on the systematic relationship between aesthetic and philosophical exercises based on Guðjónsdóttir’s somatic choreography and Wittgenstein’s philosophy of language. The research project aims to establish a systematic connection between aesthetic and philosophical practice.

Margrét Sara co-founded with Sveinbjörg Þórhallsdóttir the production house Panic productions in Reykjavík Iceland. A production house which was active from 2004-2009 and produced and initiated collaborative performance works with foreign artists to be brought to the Icelandic stage.

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