Aestuo - Dogma Engine
Choreography: Karola Lüttringhaus with Alayna Stroud
Inventor: Alayna Stroud
Duality: Karola Lüttringhaus, Naomi Greenberg
Lighting Designer/Sculptor: Jennifer O’Kelly
Music: Joe Morgan, Robert Andrew Turner, Jennifer and Patrick O’Kelly, Karola Lüttringhaus
Karola Lüttringhaus says: "I compare "Aestuo-Dogma Engine," a new collaboration with Jennifer Wynn O'Kelly, to a surreal painting. "Aestuo" in Latin means to burn with desire, opposite from the idea of the intents of dogma. At the center of the work is a sculpture of the 'dogma engine' by Jennifer Wynn O'Kelly, a sculptor, visual artist and designer who will also perform in the work. The Dogma Engine forms the basis for the work's story which explores creativity and an inventor's passion towards her creative goals. This piece is a true collaboration, our artforms are intersecting and both of us venture intensely into each other's artistic worlds. Lighting, sculpture, set, music, costuming and dance all receive equal attention, creating a visually stunning, magical and passionately theatrical experience. The choreography is alternately meditative and athletic. The set design is rich and magical using large set elements, tall ladders and many hand crafted artistic props. With “Aestuo – Dogma Engine” we create a bizarrely fantastical work that exists on the borderline of surrealism and hallucination. This work demands that audiences open their minds, and allow for a contemporary, free definition of dance. It is an unusual work that will suprise you."
"Aestuo - Dogma Engine" is a complex piece about the passion of the inventor towards its creation and the dangers therein. ‘Aestuo’ in Latin means to burn with desire, blaze.
With “Aestuo – Dogma Engine” alban elved dance company and Jennifer O’Kelly create a bizarrely fantastical work that exists on the borderline of reality and fiction.
Describing the work with words such as “magic” and “moments of ineffable grace” The Winston-Salem Journal wrote: “Real artists reinvent themselves tirelessly, taking risks and creeping out onto those precipices where glory and failure lurk in equal measure. To her great credit, choreographer, dancer and artistic-director Karola Lüttringhaus is completely fearless and unpredictable, both in her vocabulary of movement and her concepts for performances.”
Filled with visual illusions and dream-like images, embedded in an authentic and expressive movement style, the choreography is alternately meditative and athletic. Lighting, sculpture, music, costuming and dance all receive equal attention, creating a visually stunning, magical and passionately theatrical experience. The work is choreographed like a classical painter might approach a canvas, with attention to detail and texture, to every gesture and the meaning of symbols and elements within the set and the music.
Emerging from shadow, at the center of this work is Jennifer O’Kelly’s sculpture - the Dogma Engine. A large funnel made of parachute fabric stretches above the stage and partly into the audience. Its colors are orange and green, which is reflected in the intricately hand sewn costumes of the dancers. Painted on the engine’s funnel are symbols and organic leaf-like shapes. From its center and lowest point hangs the body of a simple surreal and seemingly organic machine. The design of the Dogma Engine is inspired by the principle of the “Baghdad Battery”, which is the common name for artifacts possibly dating back to a time between 250 BC and 224 AD that were discovered in a village near Baghdad, Iraq. These artifacts came to wider attention due to speculations that they may have been galvanic cells, batteries, perhaps used for electroplating gold onto silver objects. The Dogma Engine has the body of an oversized sweet potato, made of spruce, a nd features a copper and parchment paper propeller on one and a hand-crank on the other end. Further sculptures and items are placed on the stage, sketches of machines, a small TV, a large egg in a nest descends from the upper reaches of the space, natural elements such as branches and bamboo all are pieces of a whole: the inner life of an inventor’s home and her mind. A light from within the funnel suggests activity and that the Dogma Engine has a life of its own. Lanterns illuminate areas in the inventor’s space with lush and intimate light, stark shadows against walls and screens distort beauty, dancers appear out of travel trunks and prayer flags on long lines fall from the sky and sway in the wind. “Aestuo – Dogma Engine” is a complex and multi-layered work.
It reflects on the pathways the human mind might take while creating and shaping ideas or works of art. It reflects on our nature to categorize, reduce and simplify objects and events to a smaller common denominator as opposed to leaving them raw and the way they naturally want to be. Creativity often finds its way out in instinctual ways and the danger exists to guide the object of creation in directions that help us achieve other goals. Or we lose track of the greater goal and become lost in its details. We can get into our own way easily. “Aestuo – Dogma Engine” comments on the fleetingness of time and the constant flow of life; on our desire to find a secure and carefully laid out path; on the importance and weight of our decisions and the desire that dwells within us to discover the new and untouched, the pure idea, the essence, the truth. But there being duality in everything the truth has a mind of its own. “Aestuo – Dogma Engine” reflects on the creator’s state of mind, her obsession, her isolation and her getting lost within a multitude of choices. Everything we create seems to automatically create Dogma. Our struggle against this predicament is an endless one. Whilst the search is honest and honorable, the outcome remains questionable.
“Aestuo – Dogma Engine” has been performed as a work in progress in January 2007 at Salem College in Winston-Salem, NC.
Copyright: alban elved dance company & Karola Lüttringhaus
Supported by The Winston-Salem Foundation, Salem College, Salem College Dance Department, The Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County, The Mary Duke Biddle Foundation, Margaret Scales and Graydon Pleasants,The Academy of Dance Arts and Wanda Plemmons, Bob and Florence Turner, Dawn Shropshire Webster, H.D. Lüttringhaus, Studio 'Fit & Well' (Berlin, Germany), mad duck productions Graphic Designs, O'Kelly Design Studios, The Vintage Theatre, Swiftwater Media, URBAN ARTWARE, PATINA, WILDFLOWER, and many others, private donors and business sponsors.
Premiere: Preview: Janaury 19th, 2007
Salem College, Winston-Salem, NC
Premiere: November 1st, 2007, Bricolage Arts Festival, Reynolds Auditorium, Winston-Salem, NC