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Volant: The birdwoman

‘Here to Go II’ Symposium
Meta.Morf Biennale, Trondheim, Norway
30th May 2014


Music by Z'EV
Photographs by Víðarr Schiefloe

 
Volant in the language of the blazon signifies in flight; in the language of war, capable of rapid movement; also: mercurial, or swift, as of a wind; fleeting.

Volant in the language of the blazon signifies in flight; in the language of war, capable of rapid movement; also: mercurial, or swift, as of a wind; fleeting.

Volant is the woman in flight: the ecstatic or witch whose art is to ride the breath and the winds; who catches the hidden world in her body and makes it visible. The choreography traces the path of this flight, from the earth and the mundane realm to the otherworld of memory and dream, to the realm of the dead. Volant draws on the birdwomen of myth: Anat, the black kite descending on the sacrifice; Circe the she-hawk; Kilili the owl; and Medea, in whom desire and death are fatally bound, whose name preserves her power in its Semitic root, ‘flying’ and ‘bird of prey.’

The myths reconnects us to an archaic yet enduring belief in the bird forms assumed by spirits of death and the dead, an iconography that the witch also partakes of, and that is universally attested. The dance explores this intersecting of eros and thanatos in the body of woman, and the physical process or journey by which the otherworld is attained and given form by becoming bird and taking flight.

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