Goda Žukauskaitė dances across centuries and cultures in our upcoming event
Goda Žukauskaitė dances across centuries and cultures in our upcoming event

Goda Žukauskaitė dances across centuries and cultures in our upcoming event

Friday, May 10
By Staff

The first thought that comes to mind when thinking of bones, might not necessarily be ‘vitality’, or ‘life’. Some might find them macabre – a physical reminder of the end of a cycle, the finish line. They are relics of something that once was, but no longer is.

Not to performance artist and dancer Goda Žukauskaitė, however, who will be performing her piece Bones as part of the upcoming event Bare Bones & Digital Extracts with We Are Public. To her, bones are vignettes of life on earth, like ancient objects harbouring the collective memory of our ancestors. In the performance, she dances across centuries and cultures, focusing on the symbolic significance of bones.

With a background in theatre, dance and performance art, Žukauskaitė moves somewhere along the cutting edge of all three. To her, these disciplines are not mutually exclusive, but rather feed off each other. “Dance is mainly a tool that I use. I feel that I cannot label myself as a dancer when creating performances that, while rooted in physicality, do not prioritise dance steps per se. For me, dance is much more than just steps – it's an ongoing physical transformation that occurs on stage.

Take the performance st.One she did at the Modern Art Museum in Vilnius, Lithuania, for example, in which for three consecutive days – twelve hours a day – she carried rocks up its stairs, channelling the myth of Sisyphus, who was sentenced to spend eternity wrestling a giant boulder up a steep hill. Each time, just as the boulder was to crest the top of the hill, ending his labour, it would slip from his grasp, crashing and rolling back to the bottom. “Doing this endurance piece made me connect with my body in an almost primal way,” she explains. “It was like reaching the limitations of your body, and then surpassing them.”

Bones by Donata Kukyte

Photography Donata Kukyte

What moves or excites her, are not necessarily grand gestures or art icons. To her, it is seeing an old lady dance free of inhibitions, a corpulent person carrying themselves proudly, a kid running without fear of tripping. It is the wonder of carrying a child, being in between two cultures, building a fire from scratch. It’s the beauty of the mundane, and the surprises it comes with.

“I was doing an art residency in India, when I stumbled across these bones, scattered across an arid area.” Rather than being repelled by them, she picked them up, taken by their beauty and wicked shapes. “I started to put them on, as if they were an extension of my body. I found them so strangely alive. Similarly to the rocks, that have this ancient quality to them because they were here before us, and will be long after us. Organic materials like rocks and bones are like vessels that carry stories that can be told, albeit in an abstract way.”

A new performance piece was born that has been presented in different ways in different locations. For this event, she will be performing the piece together with multi-instrumentalist Dizzi Geetha, creating a soundscape that envelops the performance. The piece will furthermore be in dialogue with two short films: Our Ark (Deniz Tortum, Kathryn Hamilton) and Forest On Location (Persijn Broersen, Margit Lukács), respectively exploring virtual replicas and back-ups of our natural worlds. “I am excited to see how my work and theirs correspond, and how these films set the stage and open up the mind of the visitors before going into my performance. I love breaking down the boundaries between different art forms and exploring how they can feed off each other.”

Read more about the program and get your tickets here.