Treatment of Remembering
Sabina Bočková, Johana Pocková, Inga Zotova-Mikshina / POCKETART collective
Like sleeping animals nestled in a cosy warren, Sabina Bočková, Johana Pocková and Barbora Rokoszová slowly come to life. As confidence grows, reticent fetal positions give way to wide stretches, their curious limbs luxuriating in the space afforded.
Quite who or where these creatures are remains a mystery, but given the piece calls upon us to remember a time before humans rode roughshod over the natural world, we can hazard a guess. Each shifting position evokes a new image – sealions basking on a rock, mermaids flicking their tales in unison, and as they slide off the bespoke 90° platform it’s like watching children tumble at the bottom of a helter skelter.
That innocent joy soon morphs into wide-mouthed agony and this engaging piece starts to lose its way a little. A lipsynched voiceover talks about feeling the breeze on our back and meeting a dead deer – a missed opportunity to say something truly impactful about our ill-treatment of this world.
For their movement reflection-come-guided meditation, POCKETART collective offers a glimpse of a future where we’ve paved paradise and are looking back with longing at the present.
Reclining on a giant white deckchair, three dancers conjure up images of the natural world to the sound of a very unnatural cacophony. Bodies clumped together but faces seeking the sun, they caress plastic makeshift corals (sea urchins?) like precious objects. Eventually the dancers fall away like petals of an opening lotus flower; arms wave about like sea anemones, toes explore the space like tiny turtles scuttling towards the sea.
When the action shifts, so does the mood – the dancers gurn on their first encounter with grass at our outdoor venue, then grotesque grins turn to silent screams. A voiced meditation takes a turn for the chilling and the dancers contort and convulse – exorcising themselves before returning to their surreal sunbathing. If this is our future, it really will be paradise lost.
It all starts with a dream, one shared by three women huddled together, resting peacefully in the sun on a gigantic white platform shaped like a deckchair. While they sleep, their limbs start growing a sea foam-like moss they can’t seem to control. In unison, their bodies begin to shake and jerk, moved by archaic, cellular memories. Gradually, the serene grins on their faces turn into exhilarated laughter before morphing into horror, with no apparent reason. They’ve fallen off the sunbed.
Let’s rewind: it’s a nightmare and we’re the ones who need to wake up. Treatment of Remembering uses its simple scenography and ASMR-reminiscent soundtrack to lead us into a cathartic group therapy session hosted by three muse-like protagonists urging us to connect to our senses, to nature and the present. The amphitheatre of Elefsina, bordering the seafront, where industrial relics meet historical ruins, was the ideal location for this séance to be performed.
Three performers lie, semifolded with their eyes closed, on a white platform in the shape of a blown-up lounger. They appear to be waking up — or have they been sunbathing? As if their hardware is wired inaccurately, all of their subtle, sluggish yet refined limb and head movements look distorted and leave you guessing; laughter becomes yawning becomes a timeless void in one fluid movement, like a statue’s grimace.
We can project any interpretation of what it is they’re doing onto their ambiguous probing poses. It makes you wonder how we actually come to read a composite of bodily expressions as one singular meaningful posture. Where does one action end and the next begin? But such meditations quickly get lost in the dreamlike ambiance that is all too often staged. The pleasant vibes leave little leeway to really address in earnestness topics that deserve our attention.