Insight: inklingroom x Futur.Shock, performative approaches to the Lusus Naturae
inklingroom, a London-based art platform and record label specialising in combining contemporary dance with underground electronic music, are the curators for the next Futur.Shock’s event on 23rd February. The monthly series, this season under the umbrella of the ‘Strange Attractor’ theme, continues with volume 2 after the winter break to explore and dissect the recent confrontation with futurity whilst helping us to understand more effectively and collectively the creative adaptability rate.
Inkilingroom, founded by choreographer and dancer Keity Pook and Michał Sobkiewicz, a curator, event promoter and DJ, will present Lusus naturae (‘freak of nature’). This concept shapes the idea of a monstrous yet opulent nature’s body and its potential of force. The event will explore the body and its entities’ dark sides, manipulating time and space while establishing new spiritual mythologies; a night is devoted to celebrating and moulding ‘the other’ through dance and sound, a delusion in the collective consciousness that might exist only in the future.
Inklingroom tell us that in terms of the form, this event is similar to their previous projects, yet, thanks to the support from Arts Council England or PRS, this time, they could make it more immersive and choose the artists that fit precisely in the theme. It is exciting to curate an event that adapts and responds to the existing theme of the Strange Attractor, something that we have been admiring as an audience. Programming and format of events by Futur.Shock are very similar to ours. Still, they can make it regularly at one of the city’s best nightclubs, our favourite dancefloor. This collaboration, they continue, is extra special because the idea of embedding art into the club spaces aligns really close with their vision of transforming clubs into hubs for innovation and creativity.
Going into more detail about inklingroom’s practice and what unique possibilities sound and performance offer them as artists, for them, it’s clear: sound and performance belong together; they intertwine, support and signify each other. Sound alone has this magical capability to change space and elevate bodily experiences; at the same time, it gives a frame to both – the performer to have their world to be in and the audience to feel supported for trusting their bodies to let go and dance. For both of them, they continue, being able to dance in a safe space is a vital life-basic necessity and curating a unique space for everyone to do so is their favourite artistic practice in collaboration. Our events focus on bringing these two disciplines together with the hope of creating a dialogue between them and two different types of audiences.
Intrigued by the theme the event revolves around, this concept of the dark forces of nature, exploring the body and its entities’ dark sides, we asked the two artists what would be their personal ‘Lusus natures’. Taking direct translation from Latin, ‘lusus’ means ‘game’ or ‘play’, and ‘natures’ means ‘essences’.
They see it as a freedom to play with your essence of the Self and character: To not be perfect and stiff in your identity but curious and constantly in flux, prepared to discover new truths about it, which, sometimes, can be shadowy. Freak of Nature is also about celebrating our oddities, mutations, and differences to bring appreciation toward our own weirdnesses. Controversially, Pook also shares, my own Lusus naturae is the idea of letting go! I can’t let go of things. Also, I have a strange tendency to send people to the wrong places, so if you ask me for directions, you better don’t!
Planning for this event, they knew they would work with a theme, and therefore they e already had some artists in mind. At the same time, they wanted all the performances to be different from each another. Having Futur.Shock as co-curator made this process much easier as we both had a similar curational approach, and that gave each other quite a lot of creative freedom, they say.
The night will include some original pieces, Rubby Garage Geist// Blend for club by Eve Stainton and Hollie Miller’s Stiletto Silhouette. The Ukrainian trance-punk duo Alien Body will present their eerily ecstatic electronic live set, while Damien Roach, also known as patten has created a bespoke immersive set design and installation.
Keity Pook will also perform with a piece with the same name as the event, Freak of Nature (Lusus nature), and iklingroom’s new commission, developed in collaboration with musician Yraki. Her exploration for the performance started when she listened to a podcast which described the life approach of the prehistoric people residing geographical area of today’s Estonia: I began to be more interested in their animalistic philosophy of life, where humans equally coexisted together with physical matter and various souls, which were categorised into two main groups – ‘bodysouls’ and ‘freesouls’. I am focusing on the ‘freesouls’ type – ‘soulanimal’. I was also inspired by Estonian folklorist Matthias Johann Eisen’s (b.1857) book ‘Estonian Old Faith: Estonian Mythology’, published in 1926. From there, I picked a story of the creation of air, which, presented through my personal ‘soulanimal’ character responding to the synesthetic landscape of sound created by Yraki, comes together as an abstract performance.
As someone whose creative approach is influenced by surrendering to an ‘other’, it’s fitting for Yraki to soundtrack the show. His best tracks are often made when allowing his response to being automatic and instinctive, perhaps led by an unknown entity. His visualisation of sound, seeing bodies move as asymmetrical shapes or liquid, means his process will lead to breathtaking results alongside the performance by Keity Pook.
With both musician and choreographer exploring the kinetic capabilities of this mystical entity, expect to dive into a visceral experience that borders on the surreal. About his debut live show, Yraki said, I see this live show as an extension of my ‘visualisation’ of sound, where the body moves, creating asymmetrical shapes and fluid movements, and my synaesthesia kicks in. When I make music, I find myself surrendering to something I can’t define.
Talking about mystical entities, spirituality and the forces of nature, in the last few years, there has been a renewed interest in a new type of technology-informed spirituality and mysticism, a return to old mythology, and even a turn into magic and psychic powers, which many artists are exploring with their practices. When asked about it, both Keity and Michal hope that this movement sustains and helps human beings to connect more with the past and our roots while moving forward and navigating through what the new world has to offer.
Technology and arts are more and more interconnected and linked to esoteric practices. This is exciting, but we also hope equal attention is paid to our heritage and planet. Arts are specifically important as this is where many important changes begin. We hope that today’s art will be capable of uniting technology with the natural/spiritual world, and through this, it will help us survive. This role can be huge, and today’s sympathy towards mysticism and magic can be turned into significant movements to abolish patriarchy, avoid environmental disasters or help us imagine a different version of power structures away from toxic capitalism.
And what’s coming next for inklingroom? Working more with the community and providing access to uncompromising art. The reflections from last year’s activities made us think that we’ve been part of the ‘overproduction’ scheme – something that affected the art world overall, that’s why the plans are to make less but something that sustains for longer. Specifically, we’re planning projects in the South-West of England and some exciting international collaborations.
Find tickets here.