Duplica @ Dance Base
Game of Shadows
In Plato's fable of the cave, what the prisoners think of as the world is merely the play of shadows in the firelight. In Duplica, Paula Bianchi uses her meticulous, intense study of the play of body and shadow to inhabit – but also question – this founding parable of perception and reality.
Under Bianchi's spell, how we think of reality loses its certainties. The shadow takes on a life of its own, and then, in Derridian play, displaces the norms: the shadow is freed from its status as secondary to the body. Once shadow becomes primary – once shadow becomes reality – Bianchi transforms and becomes fluid, strangely shaped, insect like, abstracted; alien. In the world of Bianchi's performance, we change our perceptions of how the body is; how images represent the physical, how sound represents motion.
These experiments in the metaphysics lab aren't simply abstract: the effects are sensual too; with surreal and unnerving sequences where Bianchi's body grows to be suffocatingly larger than the theatre containing it, or when it distorts into nightmare shapes reminiscent of Dali's Soft Construction (Civil War).
Bianchi's achievement is to take such abstract ideas and make them visceral, making us feel for a few moments the superficiality of our assumption that what we see is how things are.