Performer and emerging choreographer Luigi Vescio received a Cultural Trust grant in 2017 to take up a residency at EIRA's Teatro Da Voz in Lisbon, Portugal. During the residency Luigi had the theatre space all to himself, which provided him with a valuable period of solitude and a unique opportunity to focus his time and energy completely on his artistic development, culminating in a new work, Animal Alone.
During residencies at EIRA and Polo Cultural Gaivotas Boavista, (another organisation in Lisbon), I created a 50 minute solo work titled Animal Alone, which I presented to the Portuguese dance community at EIRA/Teatro da Voz. Animal Alone observes the artist as both animal and prisoner, held captive by the structures in which they form and are formed.
Prioritising transparency, independence and a surrendering to desire, this project continues my enquiry into the accessibility of intimacy in an increasingly individualistic world. As I found myself amid an intense research period on the other side of the world, this relatively solitary experience became about independence itself. I learnt valuable skills while dealing with fluctuating motivations. My daily improvisation practice became a frame that filtered physical languages known to me and through which I attempted to write new stories, in some way even rewriting the past. Most importantly I came to realise that independence is unattainable. We are constantly shaped and reshaped by our experiences within the politics that surround us, and influenced by the history of our land or the land we now stand on. This makes me wonder; what does it mean to be an 'independent' artist?
After returning to Australia I didn't perform Animal Alone again because it felt very connected to that place and time, also my practice had already developed beyond that.
Later in the year I was fortunate to return to Europe on a Chunky Move tour to Denmark. Thanks to the relationships I developed during my Ian Potter Cultural Trust trip I was able to organise another one month residency between EIRA and Polo Cultural Gaivotas Boavista in Lisbon. They have been continually supportive of my work and welcome me when there is space between programs. This time I was also able to secure accommodation in an artist's residency supported by the Câmara Municipal de Lisboa (Lisbon City Council).
I gladly spent that month back in Lisbon working on a new project titled ADVANCES. ADVANCES comprises two related works, a short film and live solo performance. This project is a response to my experience living and creating in the former Operative Technical Sector of the Stasi (GDR) in Berlin-Alt-Hohenschönhausen, Germany. After a few weeks living there and experiencing the palpable energy of that historic space, I decided to create this project with performance artist Olivia McGregor and sound designer Oliver Hahn.
ADVANCES observes the effect environment and history have on the body and the ability this has to warp time. The short film challenges notions of progression and ambition. The live component further develops ideas from a scene originally in Animal Alone. The performance is a response to the film that explores ways we process information, both to generate power and in seek of relief. Through a constant recycling of energy, this movement meditation proposes the question, ‘how can we slow the mind when we’ve been thinking an entire lifetime?’ In doing so, it works with the idea of processing and re-processing to work towards a letting go, moving beyond or rewriting of our story in some way. The works were presented at PACT in Sydney as part of PACT Salon: Desire Lines, curated by Sebastian Henry-Jones and Maeve Parker, February 2018.
My current creative practice is focussed on negotiating the animate and inanimate, materiality and immateriality, and intent and unknowing. I'm interested in how intuition, memory, and perceived permission interact in improvised performance. I find that I'm incorporating objects and materials in my work more and more. I'm also editing more films involving choreography and movement improvisation created in Berlin last year. I'm playing with ways to integrate these into installations and looking for spaces to exhibit in Australia.
I recently returned from an incredible professional development opportunity in Europe exchanging with 35 of the world's up and coming artistic disruptions. I received a DanceWEB scholarship to attend the ImPulsTanz festival under the mentorship of Florentina Holzinger and Meg Stuart. I am incredibly grateful for that experience made possible by the Tanje Liedtke Foundation and Eva Bernhard. It has broadened my perspective immensely.
I'll be performing next week in 'The Venusian Slip', a new dance work for the Melbourne Fringe festival created by Harrison Hall (another past Cultural Trust grantee) with his performing collaborators.
To find out more about Luigi's work you can visit his website: www.luigivescio.com/creations.html