Meeting with Kris Verdonck + Dancer # 1

Belgium (2003)

A meeting with Kris Verdonck, illustrated with the installation Dancer #1 and images from other works. He will talk about the approaches and concepts that lie at the heart of his work, which explores the relationship between man and machine in our high-tech world. The Belgian artist is perched on the borderlines between visual arts and theatre, installation and performance, dance and architecture, making his work difficult to classify. In Verdonck's view, man tries by means of science to attain the realm of the ferfect, absolutely controllable, infallible - and therefore diving? - but this quest fills him with an acute sense of alienation, fear and solitude, of Umheimlichkeit. Kris Verdonck's characters are quasi-cyborgs, intermediate beings, in transition between human and robot and suffering from being neither one nor the other.
In Dancer # 1, an installation produced for the KunstenFESTIVALdesArts in Brussels, a simple metal device transfers energy to a large steel L and makes it dance. Because of the surfeit of energy it receives, the object starts to display uncontrolled - and therefore human? – behaviour, and seems to acquire a soul; it becomes a dancer who dances until he dies, or a machine that dies. Verdonck offers us an ironic, stark and effective metaphor of the dancer as a machine body.