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Anatomia publica

Anatomia Publica - ©Lili Bel

The son of a butcher, and a doctor myself, I have often been in contact with meat and flesh. The memory of my father skinning a rabbit, or of anatomy lessons on a dead body at med school, continues to elicit a mixture of disgust and fascination, repulsion and attraction.

Anatomia publica isn’t about looking for what goes on inside the body, but rather what is brewing beneath the visible surface of our actions. Just as the scalpel cuts opens flesh to reveal the innards, deconstructing and decomposing body movement uncovers the layers that compose action.
Inspired by autobiographical details and by filmmaker Martin Arnold’s work on mechanical breakdowns, jolts and short-circuits, Anatomia publica is a piece that breaks down movement into its constituent parts. Dancers’ bodies enter into a state of jerky movement, a continuous flow of nervous spasms. They seem to be hysterical or obsessive-compulsive. They stutter and fidget, then suddenly freeze like statues.
The dancers become virtual prisoners of a space in which real time, ticked off by a clock, contrasts with the dilated, diffracted time caused by their rhythm.
Anatomia publica is set up like a choreographic installation, a moving tableau in which speech, song, dance, sound and image clash, contrast, reinforce and contradict each other.
The piece takes us on a journey through the memory of bodies to discover what intimacy lies within, what unspoken truths movement may reveal.
Something between clockwork and a hysterical fable, Anatomia publica questions the mechanisms that impact us, revealing an unconscious world where the strange, absurd, funny, cruel, sensitive and grotesque coexist.