On the Other Side of the Lake @ Here & Now 2016, The Light Box, Miami:
On the Other Side of the Lake @ Girls’ Club, Fort Lauderdale:
Larsson reimagines On the Other Side of the Lake for Girls’ Club
The experimental film, On the Other Side of the Lake, features a lake surrounded by a dense forest in Sweden and scenes that unfold in fast-forward or reverse. For Jenny Larsson, staging a live, site-specific performance in downtown Fort Lauderdale required imagination.
At Girls’ Club, a private foundation and gallery, Larsson didn’t have a lake, or any other natural body of water. She could not use digital tools to alter pacing and sequencing. Instead, she had a small parking lot, an unrelated mural in the background, and Girls’ Club translucent, fiberglass exterior.
So, Larsson improvised. She incorporated a large kiddie pool with scenes from the film projected onto the building to show Larsson repeatedly falling into the forest lake from a floating dock. Dancer Galen Treuer stood inside the kiddie pool, his silhouette projected onto the wall. He too created a splash by standing and then falling face forward over and over.
“We tried to retrograde falls in slow motion,” Larsson said. “He stood while I was falling, or he fell while I was standing, or we both fell. I wanted him to be a live layer of the film.”
Similar layers were presented between Larsson and her five dancers, who at various points throughout the performance, stood in shallow buckets of water.
“If I jump, someone else is falling,” Larsson said. “Or someone else is staying on the ground, while someone is rising up.”
Maria Theresa Barbist, of Miami, said the performance invited her to take in the environment. “I was really inspired by the trees around here because you don’t usually sit in the parking lot,” Barbist said.
Jenn Clay, of Fort Lauderdale, said she was moved by the show’s sweetness and optimism. “It reminded me of transitioning from seasons and being nostalgic about the season you’re coming out of and hopeful for the season you’re coming into,” Clay said.
In keeping with the theme of falls, during the latter half of the performance, Treuer stood on the edge of the pool, freeing the water to whoosh out and create a stream down the parking lot, where all the dancers eventually gathered. It was an element that came out of Larsson working closely with her dancers.
The next performance will be at Miami Light Project in May. This time, Larsson will have a black box theatre, video crew, light crew and other tools supporting her. “I really allow myself to explore different tangents on the same theme,” Larsson said. “The black box performance in May will be extremely different.”
/April Simpson, Freelance Journalist, Broward Arts Journalism Alliance
On the Other Side of the Lake @ Tigertail ScreenDance Miami 2016:
On the Other Side of the Lake takes viewers deeper and deeper
Jenny Larsson asked 20 people to write a story about a lake. Some shared childhood memories. Others submitted poems. The assignment was entirely open ended, but the lake had to feature prominently.
Larsson collected the responses to create On The Other Side of the Lake, a short, experimental film she shot in her home country, Sweden. In the film, which runs just over five minutes, Larsson is the lead performer. But the lake, both inviting and mysterious, is the main character.
“I really like to dive into a theme like that and really experiment with what you can do and go deeper and deeper,” Larsson said.
Larsson’s piece takes viewers on a journey.
It begins with Larsson standing in a large lake where heavy brush and tall trees line the perimeter. She falls back, her body stiff and straight, and we don’t see her emerge. It’s as if the dark lake engulfs her.
In another image, she runs – forward and backward – through tall trees and atop ground that appears to be covered in moss. Then, she rolls down a steep hill, a scene reminiscent of a child, except the moment is subdued and not playful. Later on, she takes another stiff-bodied fall into the water, this time from a floating dock.
The lake represents a place of memory. Memories evoke emotions and ask us to reflect on important experiences. According to program notes, “the lake becomes the catalyst for storytelling as well as a physical journey into the water.”
Five people recorded the stories and read texts, adding layers to the film. Several lines are repeated throughout, encouraging the viewer to wonder what happens next.
“I wanted to walk around the entire lake…. to know what’s out there… there is a house on the other side of the lake… There on the other side, who lives there any way?”
/April Simpson, Freelance Journalist, Broward Arts Journalism Alliance.