Featured Farmer: Laurie Young
is a Canadian choreographer living in Berlin
An interview with Laurie Young in Nov, 2015...
Laurie's new show Korinna und Jörg opens Thursday 26th November at Sophiensaele in Berlin.
Where are you right now?
In Berlin on my sofa, sitting next to you.
Can you upload a photo for us?
This is the other end of the sofa. The two books on it are kind of like a big and little version of the same thing, like the men who are reading them. If you want to read Naomi Klein’s new book, but insist on rhymes and pictures, then I would suggest The Lorax. Whilst it doesn’t have as much detailed research, it does have phrases like “I’m figgering on biggering”
When and how did you first meet other members of The Farm?
I guess I met them before there was “The Farm”, I first met Grayson Millwood in 1999 when he came to work with Sasha Waltz in Berlin, and through him I quickly met his good mate Gavin Webber.
I worked with them on a piece about the effects of PTSD on families called “Good little soldier”, and a children’s show called “Freckles”. Ha ha, a perfect pairing.
But The Farm is community of artists, and I’m not sure where it ends, there are some Farmers I haven’t met yet.
Your new piece “Korinna und Jörg” will premiere very shortly, can you tell us a bit about it?
Korinna and Jörg are the most prolific dance audience members of Berlin. Since the fall of the wall, they have seen over 4,000 dance performances, (collecting all of the evening programmes) and are a unique living archive to the ever evolving dance community of this city, and yet neither of them have ever worked in any field related to the arts. I would consider dance to be quite an insular art form, it’s usually other dancers or professionals at shows, and so Korrina and Jörg’s enduring interest fascinates me.
I’ve asked them for their strongest memories of dance from the last 25 years, and from these memories alone we are attempting to recreate these pieces. We never look at any video documentation so this is not about accuracy or being “correct”. I’m curious to see how dance is transmitted to and perceived by audience members. How we can think about documentation and archive through the memories of audiences, and who we consider “experts” in the field.
We speak a lot about economic and body accessibility to theaters as well. They live in the former East Berlin, far from any city centre. It takes a minimum of an hour and a half to get to any theatre by public transport, which can be made even more challenging as Korinna has mobility issues.
So what keeps Korinna and Jörg coming back?
Korinna and Jörg have seen more shows than any curator or programmer. I want to know what they think.
The project will premiere on the 26th of November in Sophiensaele, Berlin. It will then be turned into a documentary film.
When did you first meet them?
They came to see a show I was dancing in called “Allee der Kosmonauten” by Sasha Waltz in 1996. I had seen them around at so many performances and decided I needed to introduce myself.
In the last years the landscape of dance in Berlin has changed substantially, a few years ago, I bumped into Jörg in the foyer of a performance and we realized that we neither of us knew anybody else in the audience.
Almost 20 years after I first saw them in Berlin, they are still seeing as much dance as ever. I can’t keep up with them.
What is your biggest challenge that you need to overcome in the next few weeks?
First I need to get rid of this impending cold. Then I need to get this show together, which has turned into quite a rich and complex terrain, dealing with hours of video footage to be edited for the show, working with a larger team than I’m used to (I usually make solo works and now I have a team of 13), trying to find a new place to live 'cause we are getting kicked out of our beloved home (sign of the times in Berlin), buy my ticket to Australia and try to raise a kid. Hmmmm… that’s more than one challenge.
What is up next for you?
Well, you never really know in this business… But hopefully a few meaningful things will surface for me.
I hope to turn all the video material (shot by camerawoman extraordinaire Andrea Keiz) of Korinna and Jörg into a documentary. I will also keep busy with the subject of unauthorized archiving and their story for a while to come.
I’m looking forward to starting a two year research fellowship grant which will allow me to work with different scientists in Europe. My first project will be working with ethnographer Dr.Susanne Schmitt. I will pick up on some research I started a few years ago, working in natural history museums and looking at the way bodies interact with taxidermy specimens, questioning how life and death are represented in museum settings. Part of our research will be creating choreographed audio guides for natural history museums in different field sites.
Where can we learn more about you?
You can check out this recent interview
I’m not big on self promotion, but I do have a vimeo page