XXXX TOPOGRAPHY is a work of Imaginary Theatre that flirts with the radical otherness prowling somewhere between you and not you.


: a soft choreography/ immersive environment/ performance/ theatrical space/ social situation/ expensive bar/ assemblage/ world of objects

Each night, somewhere in this vast cosmos, Beta Pink’s Space Bar snaps into existence, formed by the telepathic world-making of an assemblage. The bar lasts only as long as the assemblage speaks it into being, closing each night as puzzlingly as it opened. For two nights in 2016, Beta Pink’s Space Bar materialized in the dismal school halls of a university in downtown Vancouver. There, a spongy yet seductive encounter between humans, things, and others oscillated, pillows told melancholy stories of loves lost, and fans orchestrated an endless hair toss.

Concept + Direction // The Party (Layla Marcelle + Kyla Gardiner)
Collaboration + Performance // Andrea Cownden, Lexi Vajda, Deanna Peters, Rianne Svelnis, Emmalena Fredriksson and Paul Paroczai
Sound // Paul Paroczai and a collection of improvising software agents
Set, Objects + Lighting Design // The Party


Performance Stills of The Assemblage (Lexi Vajda, Deanna Peters, Rianne Svelnis, Emmalena Fredriksson and Paul Paroczai)  // Studio T, Goldcorp Centre for the Arts, Vancouver, BC // Photo credits: Ashley Whitehead, Layla Marcelle / 2016

XXXX TOPOGRAPHY Assemblage Score v.L

Choose to be an object (or thing) in a predetermined room.
Enter into an assemblage with the sound and the bodies. {physical task   :   vibrate, loop, oscillate or rock} Mind meld (find a collective beginning to start speaking)   Enter into conversation with others in the room. {verbal task   :    N>2}     possibilities are finitely many
you don’t have to say yes
    follow a synesthetic logic You can be different parts of your chosen thing (eg molecules, surface, soul) or consistent You can meld (You can become another thing that you are talking to in the room). This can be a temporary switch. You can be you and other things simultaneously. You can decide to telepathically move. Discover the space through language. Nothing is fixed in space or time.

An interview with Rianne Svelnis about the process:

Tell me about your experience...
The movement felt like a generator. We were 4 pieces of one thing, in the same state. The physicality felt like a deconstructed humping. A moment could feel like a sexual action, but it existed across a spectrum of nonsexual to sexual. Like the physicality was taken out of pornography. At times it felt sexy. And most of the time it felt sensual.

How did you identify?
As a body.
And a radiowave.
The idea of ‘Rhizome’ feels very accurate. The questions that were always there for me were:  ‘who am I ? Where are they? Where are you?’

What was the sensation of mind melding like?
It felt like being in the back of my brain and having long antena out. There was a thread of telepathic connection between us. The thread kept changing, but the mind was there. It was a weird mixture of intuiting, guessing, imagining, making shit up and telepathy.

Would you call ‘making shit up’.... ‘faking’?
Yes…. but it was faking and believing.

Tell me about the Assemblage:
Paul felt like a container. There was a tension with the other women - we had to find each other, and the connection was inconstant. We’d get clues about the imagined spaces were were co-existing in: where it was, how it was, how my chosen object felt about it. It felt like traveling through a changing picture.

When Beta walked in, it felt like she took the lid off of the container we didn’t know we were in.

Spiraling out into space and moving away from one another- we became more reckless with our words. Like popcorn. Until that moment I would always feel very large. And when Beta entered I would feel really small. It changed the context.

How did you feel about the bags (that covered your face and the faces of the other dancers)?
No feeling. We never watched one another.

No association with violence.

Pleasure. Pleasure is complicated..... Delight in finding, listening and believing.

Performance Stills of Beta Pink (Andrea Cownden) and The Space Bar  // Studio T, Goldcorp Centre for the Arts, Vancouver BC // Photo credits: Ashley Whitehead, Layla Marcelle / 2016

Video // Layla Marcelle, Dave Biddle / 2016

Copyright 2021 Layla Marcelle