Research for the quadruped protagonist
“No doubt they feel empty and incomplete, the loss of their shadows being an outward sign of some loss of substance.” - Galaxy, My Little Pony, episode “Bright Lights,” written by Barbara Petty.
Research for the quadruped protagonistis the result of a period of investigation into the visual language of My Little Pony, an American cartoon series broadcast in 1986 and 1987. The signature images of My Little Pony– round forms, insistent symmetries, color symbolisms, an uncompromising preference for joy – reveal an aesthetic as excessive as it is attractive. The ponies, hybrid beings, represent at the same time a construction of animalness and a hypothesis for a vision of humanity, a utopia founded on an economy of sharing and plenty. An imaginary world that lets us see with greater clarity our own reality.
The first half of the performance takes the form of an academic lecture on the series. The text, illustrated by projected video images from My Little Pony, explores the topics most relevant to pony discourse – depictions of sex and gender, the nature of the pony economy, architecture and aesthetics, etc.
The focus of the lecture gradually shifts from visual observations of the My Little Pony universe to attempts to understand the seriesʼprotagonists through physical imitation.
These explorations eventually morph into an extended dance, which pushes the endurance of the performer with the repetition of a single gesture. We are invited to consider how the visual information has been taken into the body as we confront the transformation of a once distant relationship to the images into sweat, heavy breath, and exhaustion.
Cast and production
Conception and Performance Bryan Campbell
Dramaturgy Stéphane Bouquet
With the support of CCN de Montpellier Languedoc-Roussillon in the frame of FUSED (French US Exchange in Dance), PACT Zollverein, GogolFest, and Movement Research at the Judson Church. Donation of residency space by The Dragon's Egg.
Centre Chorégraphique National de Montpellier Languedoc-Roussillon FR, July 2, 2010
Gogol Fest, Kiev UA, September 6, 2010
Movement Research at the Judson Church, New York US, November 1, 2010
Théâtre de la Cité Internationale, Paris FR, in the frame of the Festival d’Automne, October 1, 2011
KUNSTKOMPLEX, Wupperal D, in the frame of Performancetage, December 1, 2011
Beursschouwburg, Brussels BE, February 21-22, 2013
Festival (DÉCA)danse, Théâtre de Vanves, March 24 2018
Photo : ©Ian Douglas