24.09.2019 | Words by: Emma van Meyeren
Amelia Emma Forrest is a performance artist currently working out of the studios of Tatwerk in Berlin. She started her career as a performer in the Baltic Dance Theater. After being promoted to a soloist position she realized her journey was to be continued outside of the theater. In search of more collaborative ways of working she moved to Berlin and began throwing the party Radiant Love. At Radiant Love the queer community is invited to gather and dance, to love and rave to music as well as performances—a conscious choice to mix different art forms because “having different mediums within the rave gives artists a platform where they can engage, confront and express directly with their community in a safe space.”
Next Thursday Amelia performs her MOTHER Trilogy in our basement. For this piece she worked together with Cuban-American sound artist VASE
. Ahead of this upcoming performance, we asked her a few questions. Q: Your piece is called MOTHER Trilogy: why did you want to work with the figure of the mother?
A: I wanted to share the journey of a nurturer. My intention with creating this is to invite you to remember, acknowledge and sit with that part of yourself that longs to connect. The fundamental thought that drives this piece is the moment your cord is cut. From this momentyou will forever be searching for connection. If there were a major moment in all our stories it is the moment we would first experience what it is to be alone. Q: Was the piece informed by your own relationship to your mother and/or your bodies' ability to become a mother?
A: There is so much of the piece that is directly inspired by my mother, her resilience and power inspires me on a daily basis. And I feel that I can see her for very much what she is, imperfect but trying everyday. Everyone has the ability to become a mother, I don’t believe the role is subject to our bodies. The piece does not touch on childbirth. It touches on the growth of the embryo through the nurturer’s own prenatal adventure. The perspective is from the embryo, not from the body the embryo is growing in. In embryology they say you knit your own biological suit, and the female body facilitated the safe space for you to do so. Q: The mother as a reproductive symbol has different meanings in straight and queer contexts, could you tell me something about the way you relate to her as a queer woman?
A: The mother for me is not binary to one body. Just as the female body is not binary to the constructs inflicted on them. Q: Why is the piece divided in three parts? Is it chronological?
A: The piece is constructed on a backwards timeline, as a narrative I was inspired by what I experience as three universal moments in the life of a mother. First, finding oneself alone again. Second, the individual becoming a carer. And third, the individuals own prenatal adventure. Q: Could you tell me something about your journey as a performer, how did you develop into a professional performer?
A: I began free movement classes and ballet when I was five in Canada. I chose the life of a dancer when I was nine in L.A., so it became my main focus and path from that age on. I finished my formal dance education at eighteen at The Bejart Ballet School. From there I was taken into The Baltic Dance Theatre, that was my first job as a dancer. The year after I was promoted to soloist, but shortly after I left the company to find a more collaborative, playful and diverse lifestyle. Then I knew being in a company or doing what I was told was never going to work out because I wanted to create. I quickly realized I had to start completely from zero to achieve the kind of qualities as a performer I desired, but also I had no methodology or tools for creation. So I moved to Berlin to study Butoh (a form of Japanese dance theater). I’d like to be clear: I do not label myself a Butoh dancer, but as an emerging performance artist, I just wish to study and practice it. Along with studying Butoh the last three years I have begun an exploration into bodywork, touch and embryology. Now I’m trying to put the knowledge and tools so generously shared with me into practice by collaborating and sharing. Q: Next to performing you also throw a party Radiant Love in Berlin, why and how did you start that party?
A: Radiant Love is a rave, label and performance and art collective. I organise it together with Byron Yeates and Jochem Van Bruggen. The rave has had a natural progression, we started it for our friends and are slowly building a beautiful community of like minded individuals. Personally I do it because I believe in the ritual of coming together and sharing. I believe healing can be done and discussion can be had about the social climate of today, and the standards we would like to have as a community within our spaces. Q: Why did you want to do this performance in a club space?
A: Club spaces are charged with dense social energy and history. I think that there is a lot of room for performance art in clubs and I’m grateful to have the opportunity to be downstairs in the basement of De School. I hope that it will be a positive experience for everyone so that it may continue to happen more often. So more performers may have that experience and share their work in such a space. In theaters I can feel a divide between the public and the performer because of all the class and etiquette involved around them. I also have no interest in speaking to a room where the majority are rich, white and afraid of confrontation. The history of theatre is to entertain, and I have no desire to entertain you. In a club space the wall is less visible and hopefully destroyed completely so that we may actually start to feel each other and live together. Tickets for MOTHER Trilogy are available here.