friday 28 april – 10pm


Alexandra Bachzetsis (CH)

Massacre: Variations on a Theme 

performance, italian première

Massacre: Variations on a Theme pushes the uncanny exchanges within the dichotomy between expression and control, to a feverish interchange between excessive mechanical repetition and physical convulsion. Alexandra Bachzetsis’s choreographies have consistently addressed representations of the female body and the gestures and rituals through which gender stereotypes have been enacted, reinforced, and deconstructed. Within a cultural climate dominated by looping, flickering GIFs and avatars, physical violence, and a compulsive addiction to machines, her new work positions the female body as a technological form caught between animism and automatism. Bachzetsis’s fascination with automatism and extreme, pounding repetition parallels a critical curiosity with the eroticism produced within such a system. The images, gestures, and sounds that form Massacre (literally a ‘ballet méchanique’) draw on many precedents from Dada and Surrealism like Hans Bellmer’s dolls, as well as a fascination with the formation of gender and sexuality in a mechanized world increasingly impacted by the pharmaceutical and pornography industries. Massacre presents the individual as an ‘exquisite corpse’, a composite of organic and technological processes formed equally by eroticism, industry, and violence. Each performer is a conduit for systems that take possession of her body within a matrix of hyperbolic production.

concept and choreography Alexandra Bachzetsis
performance Simon Bucher, Mischa Cheung, Yumiko Funaya, Lenio Kaklea, Alma Toaspern
collaboration movement Nuno Bizarro
music and composition Tobias Koch
costume design Cosima Gadient
costume assistant Yonatan Zohar
costume painting Margarita Bofiliou
assistance costume painting Sofia Simaki
lightdesign and technique Patrik Rimann
communication design Julia Born
production management Clara Becker
production Association All Exclusive
association management Anna Geering
supported by Kooperative Fördervereinbarung between: Stadt Zürich, Fachausschuss Tanz und Theater BS/BL, Pro Helvetia-Schweizer Kulturstiftung, GGG Basel, Jubiläumsstiftung Basellandschaftliche Kantonalbank
comissioned by The Museum of Modern Art, New York
coproduced with Kaserne Basel and Theaterhaus Gessnerallee, Zürich
with special thanks to Andreas Melas and Stuart Comer
presented with the support of Istituto Svizzero di Roma and Pro Helvetia

Alexandra Bachzetsis is a choreographer and visual artist, based in Basel and Zurich. Her practice unfolds at the intersection of dance, performance, the visual arts and theater, generating a conflation of the spaces in which the body, as an artistic and critical apparatus, can manifest. This interdisciplinary approach is reflected in her background. During the years of training, Bachzetsis worked as a dancer in the contemporary dance and performance context, collaborating with Sasha Waltz & Guests (Berlin) and Les Ballets C. de la B. (Gent), among others. Much of Bachzetsis’s work involves choreographies of the body and, in particular, the way that popular culture provides source material for gesture, expression, identification, and fantasy as we continually create and re-create our bodies and the way we identify. Within this, she scrutinizes the mutual influence between the use of gesture and movement in the ‘popular’ or ‘commercial’ genres on the one hand (online media, video-clip and television as a resource) and in the ‘arts’ on the other hand (ballet, modern and contemporary dance and performance). Ultimately, the way we all perform and stage our bodies and ourselves – through stereotypes and archetypes, through choice and cliché, through labor and spectacle – is a question that continues to shape her work. Since Bachzetsis started working independently in 2001, she has created over 24 pieces, often working collaboratively, which have been shown in theaters, festivals and public space venues worldwide. In addition to this, her work has been exhibited in a variety of contemporary art spaces and museums, including Kunsthalle Basel (2008), the Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam, 2013 and 2015), Tate Modern (London, 2014) and the Jumex Museum (Mexico City, 2014), as well as a number of international biennials, such as the 5th Berlin Biennial (Berlin, 2008), (d)OCUMENTA 13 (Kassel, 2012) and the Biennial of Moving Images (Geneva, 2014).