Souvenirs explores how our concept of personal identity is shaped by our often fumbling attempts at intimacy, the near-mythical influence of childhood memories upon our adult lives, and the cultural constraints that are imposed upon us by society.
The three works of Souvenirs appear below in their entirety.
Two Yous plays out the inner dilemma of an aging woman—portrayed by two dancers mirroring one another—as she struggles against the pressure to perform and the desire to honestly embody her own emotions.
The performance is inspired, in part, by Smile Mask Syndrome, a psychological disorder resulting from prolonged, unnatural smiling in the workplace. The syndrome is particularly prevalent in Asian countries, where many service sector jobs require workers to wear perpetual smiles. Having spent so much time faking their smiles, syndrome sufferers become emotionally detached from their own physical responses, often smiling at inappropriate times.
"Cold combustion suggests the slowing down of the unfolding of geometry that previously was either held in exquisite or frozen suspense or was subject to the instantaneous and uncontrolled unfolding that we know as explosion. Anyone who discovers a middle ground, a rhythm of unfolding that delivers the geometries of matter to the senses in real time...endows the world with novelty... It is the duty of architecture to deliver sensation." - from Sanford Kwinter's "The Judo of Cold Combustion" featured in Reiser + Umemoto's "The Atlas of Novel Tectonics"
Atlas Kid builds on this principle of unfolding geometry and novelty to conjure up a dreamlike world sculpted from the temperatures, textures, shapes, and feelings of childhood memory. Using the playful habits of shadow making, mimicry, and exaggeration, the dancers reimagine traumatic and triumphant experiences that formed their perceptions of the adult world around them, a place where they are, in their reimagining, at once natives and foreigners.
At times the dancers break from "performing" and engage in a vocal and gestural meta-dialogue about their performance, as though the work is not yet finished and they are creating the latter half as they perform it.
The duet concludes as the lights fade to black and LJOVA's multi-channeled composition swells to an empassioned frenzy before subduing into a consistent, lingering pulse.