My relation to dance is not very romantic. Although I have to admit, I do have my romantic moments sometimes. Not only these moments, but also dance itself can be very exclusive. Which bodies are meant to be able to dance? Who gets access to education and what is taught or who is then actually represented on stage? Being a part of all that is conflicting, and therefor for me it is an ongoing process of redefining.
Still I would consider the work that I do to be dance since a big part of my practice is physical and body-based, moreover my educational background was clearly focused on dance and technique. In the first place the aspect of body control and drill has been fascinating to me.I am definitely attracted by desire for exhaustion and pain. Productivity as well as destructiveness and of course not to forget the beauty, whatever it may be, is confusingly close to softness, haziness and void.
In my opinion the body as a medium is very relatable for other bodies and can always be an identification point. It is the ephemerality, the immediacy, the political dimension of a body that intrigues me very much.
What is your personal (and maybe daily) practice?
My daily practice varies a wide range and depends on the conditions: whether I have access to a studio or whether I work alone or collaborate. I collect a lot. I gather whatever seems interesting and useful during the process; can be texts, objects, emotions, movement ideas… So, my practice is consisting of different aspects that feed each other.
Physically, I am searching for diverse bodily experiences to touch different states and sensations: exhaustion, pleasure, calm and so on. I like the drill, but also somatic works, although I have problems with the potential ideology implied in both: the pure body in somatic work and the harsh rigidity of body control.
What is an audience for you?
The audience is part of the performance and also of the process. My way of working is often very personal and should be transferable to the viewer and audience. What I am interested in is the creation of a space and focus, so I’m sharing an experience of mine which then through this moment of performance becomes another experience, which we might share. It derives from the idea of someone witnessing and perceiving. The responsibility that lies in sharing a space is inevitably shaping my creation process.
How do you generate material?
The material itself often develops from my practice. All kinds of inspirations and physicalities inform it. How it feels, how it moves, how it transforms?
In the end, all the material forms a network or landscape that I can shape or that can be shaped, Material is not a finished product in my eyes, it is intensely linked to my process and therefore differs every time doing or creating it.
Can you remember the first piece of art that really mattered to you?
Now I am thinking of Lou Reed’s »Walk on the Wild Side«. My mother had it on a self-made tape that we often listened to while driving in the car when I was a kid.
The incorporation of memory and sound plays an important role in your work. Be it an old dress of your grandmother or a post-internet dance. Asked in this context: How to maximize all the pleasure, a sentence you once posted on Instagram, by exposing yourself to these things that are familiar but also a little uncanny?
I have to say I never thought this sentence is going to be cited from my Instagram. »Maximize all the pleasure« … of course there is this layer of irony thinking of a capitalist society in which pleasure is sold so much and yet never fulfilled. At the same time nobody never does not work, never not self-optimizing, still self-exploiting. Depending on how you interpret pleasure, it can be quite subversive and punky.
Pleasure is also a very fine and vulnerable state, fragile even. I am thinking of the feeling when you are a kid and you are listening to crazy frog for the first time and you give into this euphoria. It is such an easy, hardly failing transmission of music to the urge to move.
I’ve been working with sound, memory and the notion of heritage. As triggers they can be so brutal and enjoyable at the same time. Like pleasure. The body as an archive and how memory, especially body memory can be transformed and reintegrated interests me in addition to the cultural concept of the house with its different connotations - as a home, as a place of yearning, as a shelter, as a memory, very connected to family as well, private and at the same time a highly political space.
For me those aspects of the house also refer to the body and it’s corporealities, so it’s a very intriguing place to open this Pandora’s box, and of course a bit uncanny, as you said it. So, it can be dangerous to maximize all that pleasure, but it can also be super rewarding.
Your personal utopia would look like…?
At this point I’m not sure if I even have one, everything is so fluid, interdependent and never in a finished state. Even utopia in a completed situation may be boring. But I am longing for equal opportunities, an end of patriarchy, social welfare and unconditional basic income, so people can start focusing more on community than on survival. The possibility of being whoever you want to be, as long as you don’t restrict someone else’s pursuit of being.
Camilla Schielin lives and works as a performer and choreographer in Vienna. She studied Contemporary Dance/Movement Studies & performance at the Hochschule für Musik und Tanz in Cologne and at the Anton Bruckner Privatuniversität in Linz, where she is currently graduating. As a performer and dancer, Schielin has worked with Nick Mauss for the Museum Ludwig in Cologne, with Özlem Alkis and with Doris Uhlich.