In the performance Record, a choir of young people sings sitting on a ledge, a window, a balcony, a place on the border between the intimate space of a home and public space. The song composition is a text resulting from the exchange, confession, declaration of a hikikomori, with whom the artist has been in touch for more than a year.
Hikikomori is the Japanese term that describes a social pathology that leads some people, especially young people from adolescence onward, to refuse contact with the outside world and thus remain, in their room, within the walls of their home. The phenomenon of social withdrawal has now spread throughout the Western world, with a worryingly growing number of young people locking themselves in their rooms. An absence of contact whose effects we have all experienced during the lockdowns of the past few years, but also a form of rebellion against centralized society.
The atmosphere constantly recalls a possible fall. Indeed, the chorus is in a physical position of disequilibrium, recalling the challenge of those who must define themselves in the world. To work on the sense of falling, of leaning into the heights, the work’s construction path confronted a stunt-woman. A woman whose body continually defies death by taking the form of someone else. In less severe cases, a hikikomori acts in the world through an avatar, an alternative body, a powerful alter ego that replaces them in “dangerous” activities. The avatar is a kind of fictional stunt double who lives adventures in their place and keeps in contact with an online community.
In a society that makes failure one of its biggest taboos, the younger generations struggle to launch themselves into life being afraid to declare themselves to the world. However, this ambiguous attraction between throwing oneself and remaining closed to the world does not only affect young people. It sums up the moment we are living in, in which we are all involved, with hardships and joys, mixed feelings and bewilderment.
For every presentation, Francesca Grilli will collaborate with a local choir of youngsters from all different backgrounds. Young people will be selected through an open call in each city where Record will take place, making the performance different and unique at each time. Record gives a voice to young people, including those in remote towns, who are not often enough represented in performing arts.
Touring the piece isn’t about repeating a rehearsed work but about transmission: passing on a score-practice to youngsters from different contexts and locations and letting it spread, transform and affect through time and space.
Creation: Francesca Grilli Words: Azzurra D’Agostino, Piffi Stuntwoman training: Lisa Patoor Movements: Benno Steinegger Choir director and vocal trainer: Jean-Baptiste Veyret-Logerias/Ine Claes Sound designer: Christophe Albertijn Video maker: Gianluca Mattei Studio assistant/communication: Elena Regazzoni Rigger: Esteban Vin Production: Hiros Coproduction: VIERNULVIER, workspacebrussels, Indisciplinarte Terni, Snaporazverein, Høstscena Partners: KAAP, Kaaitheater, BASE Milano, Høstscena, Bunker / Mladi Levi festival With the support of: Corpoceleste, WpZimmer, Vlaamse Gemeenschap, VGC Special thanks to: Arturo Zanaica, Mira De Schepper, Loïs Heirman, Manon Joannoteguy, Néphéle De Bie, Marie Maloux, Joanne de Broux, Arnold Tamchom, Morgane Wadbled, Alma Rosado