coming up: grapeshade #50

photo: Zeha Schröder – november 2011. pool hall, münster.

After missing several occasions to attend a Grapeshade performance, I finally got my chance last April, in the 60_minutes instant-composition series curated by impro.per.arts. This experience made me dive into their video archive, to discover more through the eyes and camera of Carlos Bustamante. Grapeshade brings together dexterous and experimental music, dance, sound and movement; their  deep commitment and playful curiosity make up a combination which is not so easy to come by.

Drop a handful of marbles on the floor and the event will decentralize your interest with a cascading clattering chaos, single rebounding divergent-convergent rat-a-tats and lazily dying out rolling bound to draw your eyes to some corner of the room you had seen but hadn’t looked at. That’s what comes to mind.

Grapeshade is more than site-specific; the way they interact with the topography of the audience and the location, and with its soundscape and resonance is continuously bringing the background to the fore and the margins into focus. Their almost besotted attention to the inanimate seems to wake up these dormant associates into performance; it’s like both performers and site infect each other with a condition that lasts as long as the event. And this condition can pulsate, writhe, spin, tease, nuzzle, swing, soar, leak, tiptoe, escalate, and then almost vanish into silence and everyday gesture and chatter, courting the norm and social interaction to inadvertently reappear elsewhere; what seems like a lapse is only one more symptom. Grapeshade is fourfold + site, but it is one phenomenon, one event, one matrix of coordinates that each performer discovers, uncovers to the rest, recovers from the rest and keeps resetting.

Since they came together as Grapeshade in 2009, Klaus Janek, Katharina Meves, Ingo Reulecke and Biliana Voutchkova have performed regularly in a wide variety of locations and venues in Germany, Bulgaria Turkey and Italy. ImproXchange Berlin festival will host their performance #50 in a double programme with a music duet by Lucio Capese and Christian Kesten at Dock 11 on Tuesday 4th August – 20h. Reservations from

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