Holding it together - Series


photo: jessica huber

Holding it together’ is a series of collaborations, performances and researches. The first research for ‘Holding it together’ took place in 2012/2013, during my studio residency in Berlin. This led to a collection of ideas, approaches to movement and formats under the thematic umbrella: ‘Holding it together’. Four thematic chapters or acts stem from this period: – The Thing; The Mass; Myself; Myself & the other(s). Each piece or ‘act’, as I call the individual parts during the work process, is formed in collaboration with one or several other artists. The acts serve in the first instance as thematic guidelines for the research and are also part of a collection of thoughts, which all the artists involved share among each other. The pieces, which are called acts here, will have different titles when they are completed. Ideally each act can exist as a complete work, as a single (short) piece or as an installation with its own, independent universe, form, format - with its independant relationship to the audience or spatial position and function. Occasionally there will be modified formats, which will be executed outside the theatre-space. 

Holding it together’ is not only a reference to the series’ overarching theme of cooperation and the question of how we perceive and create our world, but also an announcement of the working method: At the core of this serie were reflections about the aesthetics and praxis of exchange and sharing, about rituals, as well as the longing for space and time for encounter.

The future is dark, which is the best thing the future can be, I think,” Virigina Woolf, 1915

Many people are afraid of the dark: for children, the actual darkness and for many adults, the darkness of the unknown, the unseen, the obscure. The night makes differences and definitions unclear. But then again, the night brings the darkness, in which we make love, and from which objects emerge, in which things change, in which one becomes enchanted, immersed, possessed, released and renewed.

Many discussions related to our work for ‘Holding it together’ revolved around darkness and light and about how we perceive and constructe the world and how we come and remain in connection with our surroundings. We reflected upon to what extent ‘seeing’ or ‘not seeing’ influences the present context and the information we receive. Exactly how ‘hearing’ and ‘not hearing’ can also do the same. Darkness, twilight and light offer us ‘multiple futures’ and even ‘multiple here-and-nows’.

“Are we the Generation of none-“utopistes”? We, who were born in the 80s, grew up in the 90s - this applies to the west - have so much freedom. Our parents, our teachers, even society told us, we could achieve anything. How is it that with all these possibilities and freedom, we achieve so little? There are no more barriers: The bad doesn’t exist, no walls, no longer capitalism verses communism, it is only the Economy that counts; but the economy and with it the enemy becomes abstract, at the same time we know that there is no life outside of the economy. We are losing ourselves! I feel we are the lost generation. We are very egocentric and we have become a very “conservative” generation. One sees Nationalism becoming stronger, a conservative reflex on a breaking-up of the international society! …out of fear that we could lose out if we don’t hold on tightly to what we have. We don’t have any answers to what we should do with the possibilities we have.” FC Bergmann

Collaborating artists:

Géraldine Chollet, Wim De Busser, Jessica Huber, Karoline Kähler, Mathis Kleinschnittger, Laurent Kropf, Simon Lenski, Robert Steijn, Nina Willimann

Künstlerische Begleitung, Dramaturgie Karin Arnold Licht Pablo Weber Fernandez  Sound-Technik Stefan Uiting  Administration, Organisation, Produktion Yvonne Dünki, Miriam Haltiner Künstlerische Berater, Unterstützer, Recherche, Performer Vincent Bozek, Ludovic Chazaud, Cédric Djedje, Chris Durussel, Michelle Ettlin, Katy Hernan, Mariusz Jedrzejewski, Zofia Klyta-Lacombe, Jean-Christophe Lemaire, Vanessa Lopez, Ramin Mosayebi, Werner Nigg, Nelly Rodriguez, Francesca Tappa, Noël Van Kelst, Philippe Weissbrodt, Sarah Zingg 

Residenzen Théâtre Sévelin 36, Fabriktheater Rote Fabrik, Theater Zuidpool, Dansomètre Vevey

Eine Produktion von Jessica Huber in Koproduktion mit Gessnerallee Zürich und Südpol Luzern

Wir danken Fachstelle Kultur Kanton Zürich, Stadt Zürich Kultur, Schweizer Kulturstiftung Pro Helvetia, Ernst Göhner Stiftung, Stanley Thomas Johnson Stiftung, Gabrüder Bachmann/Pianos



holding it together - Solidarity (Zusammenhalt) as a creed

The Ritual of ExchangeSwiss dance- and theatre performer Jessica Huber is Gessnerallee's Young Associated Artist for two years. She has gathered collaborators from the most diverse artistic disciplines there. Their research and pieces can also be programmed individually, as Huber understands her performance-series as, in essence, an open form of work. This may sound like have-a-go amateurism, but she succeeds in conceptually combining the acts into a generous whole, into an evening dedicated to the ritual of exchange, of sharing. After ecstatic music in the darkness of the stage, during which everyone mentally paints their own trance images, German dancer Matthias Kleinschnittger hops and crashes with rhythmical finesse over the empty stage until he is breathless. Then from among the audience, a horde of collaborators, identifiable by similar leggings in the most glaring colours, takes over and drives the revue-pastiche to its climax.
Gentle intimacyThe highlight of the evening is the multi-layered duo of Geraldine Chollet and Robert Steijn. Two very different and differently old bodies nestle together, silent rituals of gentle intimacy. Two people explain, apparently quite privately, how they met at a party and worked with each other – one with, one without a plan – and what this resulted in. The Dutch performer with a penchant for Shamanism and the dancer from Lausanne offer each other a song, a dance and neither shy from really deep feelings, nor bodily nakedness (which the current performance scene can't seem to do without).
As ironically broken the comments may be and although the emotions are played with understatement, they still manage to amaze – and touch. While Steijn presents a Mexican snake dance using two daggers, Chollet’s solo -- inspired by cows and the first encounter with Robert – reaches such levels of expression that you feel you are watching Mary Wigman, Rudolf von Laban or Monte Verità, all at the same time.Der Landbote, Winterthur, 30th May 2015, Evelyn Klöti 


Enchanting Incompleteness.

Jessica Huber describes ‘Holding it together’ as a series of collaborations and performances, with the focus on exchanges between different artists and a ritual of sharing. The project is continually evolving.
 It’s not usual to be led to your seat in the theatre individually. By the actors. Holding your hands. Being welcomed. In darkness. Jessica Huber’s evening ‘holding it together’ starts exactly like this, momentarily elevating each audience member from the anonymous crowd.You sit on the stage arranged neatly like an army of milky-lit ghosts and wait until everyone has been brought to their seats. Pitch-blackness sets in, music starts. (...) Géraldine Chollet and Robert Stejin contest the final part. They recount how they met at a party, how they came to acquire their favourite clothes and why they like lying next to each other so much. At the same time they perform physical relaxation exercises, treatments and test, which parts of their bodies nestle into each other most comfortably. This loving directional pairing of stories and bodywork is the most beautiful part of the evening. Jessica Huber describes ‘Holding it together’ as a series of collaboration and performances, focusing on exchanges between different artists and sharing as a ritual. The project will continually evolve from the premiere. ‘Holding it together’ could seem slightly methodological, a bit unfinished.  But not in this case. Firstly, because the performers always know precisely what they are doing. And secondly, because the evening is bestowed with exactly the certain kind of magic that occurs only with a pinch of unpredictability. NZZ, Zürich, 28 May 2015, Isabelle Jakob  

--> Below: Trailer of the research on "holding it together / myself & the other(s)" - (Tiller Variations) in collaboration with Mathis Kleinschnittger

Also: Excerpts of the open workshop "holding it together / the mass" at Gessnerallee (we would like to continue with the idea of the workshop) - in collaboration with Zofia Klyta-Lacombe, Katy Hernan and Ludovic Chazaud