Konstnärsnämnden motivation post on warding the Birgit Cullberg Stipendium 2020
This year's Birgit Cullberg stipendium was awarded by Konstnärsnämnden - the Swedish Arts Grants Committee - to choreographer Dinis Machado. The stipendium is awarded annually to a young choreographer.
Konstnärsnämnden's work group for dance has made the decision and the motivation is:
Dinis Machado’s remarkable work anchors the moving body to an idiosyncratic form of contemporary expression. In Machado’s embodied exploration of a politics of belonging, identity and materiality, they open a space in which each singular staged event transforms into a novel reality, a commons, a concentrated space of co-inquiry.
At the intersection between dance and the visual arts they articulate a practice in which a simultaneous multiplicity of voices engenders a fundamental but oft forgotten truth of our collective humanity - that we are a locus of becoming rather than a fixed thing. In doing so, Machado and their dancers continue to question and expand the notion of what choreography is and how it can be utilized. Like Birgit Cullberg before them, Machado boldy crosses the boundaries of artistic media, mining the most relevant material combination, the deepest physical parameters, or specific aesthetic paradigm for a given work.
Crafting within and through the concepts and practices of queer theory and politics, they provide a fundamentally altered iteration of what our bodies can be, the mechanisms of identification that they can bear witness to, let fall, or unfold. With tenacity, grace, grit and fortitude, Machado carves out an uncompromising practice within a multitude of contexts both local and international. They weave a web that merges art and socio-political practices, creating a world that is both a radical departure from the norm, and at the same time a new place to call home.
// Maina Arvas in DN (SE)about Normcore
Five dancers play together in a safe room
In Dinis Machado's "Normcore", the audience gets to see sexuality and identity as play and metamorphosis. Fun, nice and thoughtful, writes DN's Maina Arvas.
Normcore is used as a term for a fashion trend that involves dressing normally (Jerry Seinfeld is often highlighted as an example of this anti-style). But also in a wider sociological sense about hipsters who long for group affiliation, suddenly want to blend into the collective instead of striving to define themselves as individuals with narrow interests and unique markers. There is probably a circular movement around subculture, conventionality and avant-garde to ponder.
It is probably the second of the two meanings to which the title of Dinis Machado's work alludes. Possibly it is most about blowing up or at least changing the core of the norm. In "Normcore" from 2019, now with the Swedish premiere in Stockholm, there is a hopeful theme of transformation and development, to define about oneself, one's body and one's relationship to others, to be able to both stand out and be part of a community.
Five dancers play together in a safe room, the basement at Weld, illuminated with joint loops that draw volatile light lines above them. They are wearing a body-close basic outfit of black workout clothes, beige underwear, latex tops, brown socks and nude skin, which they change with the help of attributes such as leg protection, toe tips, dildos, ropes and mc helmets.
We view sexuality and identity as play and metamorphosis. There is an improvised air with plastic expressions, laughter, screams, noises, and a clear protocol or agreement to adhere to. The group suddenly becomes horses. Perform an unexpected ballet with the toe tips on your hands like animal paws.
Or flow into an act of group sex without sex, an exploration of gestures reminiscent of choreographer Mette Ingvartsen. Humorous but in all seriousness. An artistic instant interpretation of the mood is beautifully depicted in the middle of the stage: a large drawing by Edith Hammar with three figures covered by the artist's characteristic drops (sweat, saliva, tears or something that melts).
Margareta Sörenson in Expressen about PARADIGM
"Space, light, materials and objects - modernism, clean or "post" or even post-post, sets the style. Dinis Machado is in fact dancing, moving in and around a construction of super-thin plastic in a hanging frame, decorated with lights, so that both the audience and the performer are enclosed in one room. Initially, the entire frame is hanging in red and clear ropes from the ceiling, tied to the dancer's leg. When he moves, the thin plastic walls around us go up or down, eventually completely laying on the floor where the plastic slowly fills with air. But then, Dinis Machado already engaged in another and rhythmic dance of clear Asian influences.
Machado is Portuguese, and has done his Choreography Masters at the Swedish University of Dance and Circus. A team, Hanna Kangassalo, Robert Tenevall and Erik Sjölin, has composed the music for Paradigm. The Music, like the movement, moves from one thing to another, with voices and texts that grows into a musical and rhythmical interweaving. By now Dinis Machado has moved on to a homemade temple dance and the intention of creating a made up or privately constructed folklore becomes clear.
Here, Dinis Machado dances and embodies an hour long statement, about everyone's part in it all, about that a rite can be invented as well as transmitted, and about that a dancer/choreographer alone can do everything as in a time "before the split between the architect and the bricklayer". Also coming from modernism: the interest in folklore and "original sources" and the will to reshape them for their own use. It can be done again and again, and this time one curiously follows a persistently dancing body in a place of shimmering thin plastic."
Andrea Grapengisser in Kristianstadsbladet about PARADIGM
"The choreographer and dancer Dinis Machado was in artistic residency at MARC in Kivik. His latest performance "Paradigm" has been shown for two nights (22-23/1) at Tjörnedala Konsthall and at MARC in Kivik.
"Paradigm is a dance of an exoticism from nowhere. A ritual claim for difference and citizenship" (from the program text of "Paradigm")
A luminous frame with walls of fluttering and rustling plastic and a dancer with ropes tied around his foot meet us. The audience moves around freely in the room, sitting, standing, lying down and is clearly part of everything that is happening. The environment changes with the dancer's movements, the walls go down and the room becomes bigger. The music is strong, composed by the trio Hanna Kangassalo, Robert Tenevall and Erik Sjölin.
Sensations are conveyed through music, words, space, and body - a mix of folklore and science fiction were all the elements are interlinked and reborn. "The spider in the forest smashed into a unicorn that morphed into a table." The movements are rhythmical, small but intense, lips and hands move in spasms and walls fall, stretch, raise and are breached.
The Portuguese dancer and choreographer Dinis Machado (b. 1987), based in Stockholm, has a background in dance as well as in visual arts. In his work this art forms are being blend and in "Paradigm" concrete materials such as plastic are a clear part of the choreography.
Don't miss "Paradigm", by and with Dinis Machado, shown again this summer at Wanås, as a part of the collaboration between MARC and Wanås Konst."
Iva Nerina Sibila in TANZ about Black Cats Can See in The Dark But Are Not Seen
Originally from Portugal, Dinis Machado is currently based in Stockholm. Educated in dance, acting and visual art, he creates on the intersection of these fields. His poetics might be named “dramaturgy of labour”, since strategies of body-based visual art (installation, performance, happening) are put together with a combination of utilitarian gestures (like fixing the bike or painting the wall) and dance gestures. In Black Cats Can See in The Dark But Are Not Seen those actions are placed in a carefully built structure that is continually re-negotiated throughout the 75 min duration of the work, following Machado’s “fascination to provisory structures and nomad ways of life“. (...)
Three performers are operating this space, as one. The performing mode is introverted; no visible contact with the audience or one another. The dynamic comes from the progress of the performance material itself. (...)
The text is present during the entire performance; a stream of elegantly written letters and diary entries, covering a variety of ideas and concerns. Read by Cabechina, it is occasionally transferred into dialogue with Machado who keeps his physical actions going while developing the text. Signed “Yours, Dinis“, the text gives a level of intimacy and includes the audience directly in Machado’s somewhat introspective world. (…) He enters into reduced choreography, modulation of one phrase only. His skills and movement expertise, however, are captivating.
Black Cats… asks for patient attention, but is enormously rewarding. Using the epistolary format, Machado takes the audience on a voyage that is intimate and personal, yet possible to connect to. It is a multilayered articulation of acute questions in choreography and performance such as conceptualization, fiction, nomadism, art-product, interdisciplinarity. “Let’s start in the middle….” says Machado closing Black Cats…“And we will stay there… to finish is a simulacrum.” and the audience follows this idea by keeping the discussion on offered themes long after the performers are gone. “
Tiago Bartolomeu Costa in Publico
Cyborg Sunday, the strange surprise that is the new creation by Dinis Machado.
Cyborg Sunday, by Dinis Machado, is a surprising revelation in between theater and dance where the idea of community appears as a possibility of reconstruction of the intimate gesture.
(…) [Cyborg Sunday,] was developed through more than six months with performers from several countries that answered to the proposal of thinking about the emphatic limits of their own bodies.
It's that intentional strangeness effect that allows Cyborg Sunday to emerge as a possible place for the existence of a community that learns to leave intimacy from the sharing of contradictions and setbacks (…) in an object as delicate as fragile by performers who are asked to be brave and affirmative, and to answer to stimulus through a narrative structured by the relation created in between words and movement. This is a movement - and a structure - full of details about what the body can do in space in a lonely dialogue with other bodies in the same space sharing a common vision.
This is a choreography of space and time, what they say gains an importance that needs reactive bodies. The five bodies build a future memory that imposes a mode of acting over this utopic space departing from a present where they live with closed eyes. They search and need bodies that can be, in the end, able to think and exist besides the physical memory. Bodies that can be, finally, vehicles of transmission and sharing of a memory in process of construction. Effectively, what is more relevant in Cyborg Sunday is this deep desire of questioning form, recognizing that in the tension between movement and discourse, which means, between body and message, the potential for dialogue, is unreconcilable but utopic.
(…) Time and action, exist from the differences they provoke in the body, understanding, though, that these differences can't justify collective alienation. The strength and elegance of Cyborg Sunday comes from the intelligence of knowing how to manipulate the tension created between body and text at the point of transferring it to the physical memory of the own spectator.
The text exists from the mnemonic effort that transforms what is narrative into evocation, and what is intuition into emphatic condition. What is suggested is a mode of making reality exist through a choreographic process of evoking which anticipates the own action. And it's because the action is evoked, that the movement loses its condition of support of the discourse, to be seen - and felt - as a rescue mechanism of the present. Cyborg Sunday, in its hybrid condition in between a present body and an absent discourse, is a work about a deterritorialization of the image and it's meaning, from an emphatization of another reality, constructed from a very well crafted net between utopia and quotidian.
The tasks of remembering that are given to the performers, that travel from the non personal - in a certain way, from the other - to their own discourse - which is like being inhabited by the other - reveals that, in the end, the modes of self fictional narrative construction, that are the core discourse of Dinis Machado, knows how to exist besides an inconsequent rhetoric, in a movement that knows how to be more than a point in space.