Hotel Modern [Rotterdam]



26.09 – 27.09.2008

An ode to wonder

Since 1997 Hotel Modern has been creating visual performances that are striking for their inventiveness, use of materials and rich details. For example, WWI is fought on a miniature battle field with toy soldiers and parsley trees. Or else the hectic life of the metropolis is reduced to a city where bread rolls drive like cars past houses made of cardboard boxes.

Last year this Dutch company was our guest with the impressive Kamp, in which life in Auschwitz was portrayed on a large scale-model with thousands of dolls. The subject was horrifying but the interaction between the actors and the dolls had something of the concentration and awkwardness of children at play.

This element of children’s play also has a central role in Rococo, a more light-hearted performance that focuses on life itself. The stage is a large attic full of junk, with plastic skulls, boxes and old clothes. Two actors wearing bears’ masks have apparently landed up in this world and start to explore it and use it to their own purpose with an unbridled curiosity that turns into perversion. They construct little men from plungers and insulating material. With no sense of shame they make the plastic skulls French kiss, make live, miniature pornographic films with dolls and for a long time play with a fresh turd one of them has just produced.  These two creatures, half child, half animal, wander through a Freudian world before the father’s forbidding. It is a world free of social convention which loses its innocence in a powerful final image.

This time, however, finger cameras and scale-models do not play the main role. Rococo is an ode to curiosity and wonder. To that one look which transforms a rubbish dump into art.

constructed and performed by Pauline Kalker, Arlène Hoornweg, Herman Helle | music & sound Arthur Sauer | design masks Kirsten Hutschemakers | interior design masks Wim Groen | foam objects Barbara Witteveen | production assistant Heleen Wiemer | set assistant Stefan Gross | lighting design thanks to Maatschappij Discordia | technique Joris van Oosterhout, Saskia de Vries | subsidies Ministerie van OC en W, gemeente Rotterdam