in collaboration with Janneke Raaphorst 2016–2018

“These component souls are of many and very different natures, living in territories which are to them vast continents, and rivers, and seas, but which are yet only the bodies of our other component souls; coral reefs and sponge-beds within us; the animal itself being a kind of mean proportional between its house and its soul, and none being able to say where house ends and animal begins, more than they can say where animal ends and soul begins.”
Samuel Butler, Life and Habit

Elastic Habitat explores the imaginary, invisible and speculative body. It is an invitation to explore and stretch the usual habitat of one’s physical and virtual identity.

The public is invited into an immersive installation, a sort of playground, where they can explore and animate textile sculptures. The sculptures are based on descriptions of the multi-layered metaphysical perceptions of one’s body, emerging out of prior one-to-one sessions. In these individual explorations participants are guided into an auto-contemplation which results in a reconfiguration of the habitual perception of one’s presence. The descriptions of these perceptions are then formed into textile sculptures, or better textile bodies, each the material result of a momentary reconfiguration of a participant’s habitat.

The textile bodies are explored by the public entering the playground in small groups, through touching, wearing and thereby activating them. By donning these textile bodies, one is inspired or challenged to explore one’s habitual perceptions. It is a metaphorical invitation to get under the skin and elude the clear distinction between self and other, inside and outside. Like a mise-en-abyme, these relational objects open a perpetual cycle of translation between self and other, inside and outside, looping from feeling to movement, to language, to form and material, and back to sensation. The invitation to play with and through these textile bodies offers a space of childlike pleasure and intuitive exploration within oneself and others, to think and perceive oneself through the senses.

READ MORE — A playground for the encounter of one's body as an-other

Elastic Habitat premiered in November 2017 in Stuk, Leuven, Playground festival.

Tour 2018
February, Buda, Kortrijk, end of winter festival
March, Kaai Theater, Brussels, WOWmen festival
March, Brakkegrond, Amsterdam, Something Raw festival
May, Eau&Gaz, Eppan, italy

concept Helena Dietrich in collaboration with Janneke Raaphorst | hosts/performers Julien Bruneau, Esta Matkovic, Irina Lavrinovic, Janneke Raaphorst, Helena Dietrich | research and one-to-one sessions with guests Helena Dietrich with David Liver, Isabel Burr-Raty, Julien Bruneau, Katharina Smets, Lili M. Rampre, Lynn Suemitsu, Miriam Rohde, Veridiana Zurita | textile bodies Janneke Raaphorst with Carly Rose Bedford, Dieneke Hol, Marija Sujica, Nevin Uzun, ruralurban | set creation Leila Boukhalfa | sound design Lynn Suemitsu | voices Julien Bruneau, Justine Maxelon, Irina Lavrinovic, Thomas Proksch, Varinia Canto Vila, Freek Willems | sound technics Kenny Martens | light design Michaël Janssens | printed matter, text and design Helena Dietrich | redaction Elke van Campenhout | Proof reading Patrick Lennon | dramaturgical advice Heike Langsdorf, Marialena Marouda, Julien Bruneau | scenographic and artistic advice Miriam Rohde, Veridiana Zurita | co-production Buda, Eau&Gaz, Kunstenwerkplaats Pianofabriek, nadine vzw, WP Zimmer | with the support of Kaaitheater, Campo | supported by the Flemish Government and the Flemish Community Commission