Cosmic Body: a trance-inducing dance experience, sans the purple haze

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Ingri Fiksdal's Cosmic Body, at the MCA Saturday and Sunday - ANTERO HEIN
  • Antero Hein
  • Ingri Fiksdal's Cosmic Body, at the MCA Saturday and Sunday

Like your neighborhood shaman, the Norwegian choreographer Ingri Fiksdal is prepared to inspire some trippy illusions here in Chicago.

Rife with sleek, reflective costumes and floating black orbs, her work Cosmic Body is nothing if not experimental, skewing toward psychedelic. Fiksdal collaborates with four dancers and the electronica/EDM artist Ingvild Langgård and employs visuals from artist Signe Becker to create a “disorientation of the sensorium,” inspired by Brion Gysin’s Dreamachine, the stroboscopic device he designed in the late 60s to create artificial hallucinations. Those hallucinations figure prominently in the writing of novelist William S. Burroughs, who in his books refers to the Dreamachine as a weapon of “unearthly brilliance and color.”

“So a drug-free alternative to LSD,” Fiksdal explains. Likewise, Cosmic Body leads audience members on a journey that in some ways seems more like a collective acid trip than a dance performance. “People feel like they enter a trance state, that it becomes hard to look away from what goes on,” Fiksdal says.

As with most of her work, Cosmic Body is meant to be a participatory experience. Fiksdal considers the audience critical to her performances; one of her overarching concerns is the notion of shared customs and activities. This one proves no different, she says. Expect a transcendental ride, sans the purple haze.

“I’m concerned with creating work that, ideally, produces the potential for new thoughts with the spectators,” she says. “I think for this to be possible, there is the need for the spectator to enter some sort of liminal stage—the stage of transformation within the ritual.” 
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Cosmic Body Through 2/7: Thu 7:30 PM, Sat 7:30 and 10 PM, Sun 3 and 7 PM, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, 220 E. Chicago, 312-280-2660, mcachicago.org, $30, $10 students.

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