About the work /
Alongside my artistic and reflective practice, I work as a performer, teacher, and I studied philosophy. Within this scope my aim is to question human existence from a physical perspective and explore how this can be embodied in the arts. I often miss sincere experience in the performance art, because in my opinion a classic theatre setup does not allow for a work to be highly experiential. I like to look at art as an integral practice, that arouses physical empathy, and that builds on a deeper relationship between performers and their audience. With the work of Transcending Bodies I aim to facilitate collective experiences, and build on a deeper understanding of human nature by exploring it through the body. To me, philosophical, educational and choreographic research are of equal importance to build on a sustainable and ever-growing practice for Transcending Bodies.
Many answers are possible when we ask what being human means. I established that being human at least means being dynamic and unfinished. By questioning human existence, I find little pieces of answers in embodied practices. The body allows me to physically acquire knowledge about inherent human experiences. This physical knowledge transcends the knowledge gained by my ratio. This makes me wonder how we can look at bodies in dance, art, and life in general. I pose this question to my audience in performances in an immersive, experiential, and intimate setting. My work mainly embraces performance and installation. And this can be structured in time or be durational.
I always start from a certain fascination of a physical experience I had, imagined having, or saw others having. Introspective and philosophical research follows. Once I have established the phenomenon and the nature of my interest, I look for people who are capable of embodying and co-exploring this with me. The form of presentation is chosen based upon clarity, truthfulness, and the expected relationship with the audience.
Creation is secondary because the phenomena already exist. I create a relationship with them by letting them in and enabling responses. With Transcending Bodies, I create physical encounters to explore this relationship. A requisite in my work is that the body has to be as present as possible. Physical presence is a vivid and anchoring experience. The body is placed as the centre of a great ecology of connection, with the material and spiritual world. Through long improvisations, meditations and mantras, my creative processes seek meaning and integrality in the body. They create awareness and hypersensitivity by which phenomenon can be deeply explored.
The relationship to the environment, sensory experiences, and the audience are part of the work, as all of these determine the performer's state of being. My work is very experiential; it stimulates sensitive communication between the audience and the performer. As a result, the course of a performance is always situated within its context. I like to see the body as a transmitter of its environment. A performance is only a fragment from the order of an intersubjective, multidimensional and enactive ecology.
I put a lot of care in creating a safe and open environment in which every experience is tolerated, and the atmosphere is coloured by respect and intimacy.
I will be brief: my aim is for people to experience physical empathy, recognize themselves and others in the work, and to reconsider their reality.
In my master studies Philosophy of Humanities and Culture I discovered that my work rests on a combination of existentialist and metaphysical thought. Including existentialism in my work means that I believe that humans are capable of creating their own meaning and purpose in life, and that for that, collective truth about these topics does not exist. I practically include this by creating anti-normative experiences in my performances. This all to stimulate people to consider their own normative views on life. Secondly, I love metaphysics because it enables us to zoom out and relativize our daily concerns. Metaphysics deals with the first principles of things. I connect this to the first principles of the body: being, growing, experiencing, impermanence.
About the artist /
Hannah Zwaans is a choreographer, performer and philosophy student. Until the age of 15 she practiced acrobatic gymnastics on a professional level. Then she discovered dance and choreography as a means of understanding the body in relation to the mind. In 2018, she graduated from the Fontys Academy for Dance Education (BA), where she specialized as a maker. She won the Entreeprijs for young makers at Theaterfestival Boulevard for her graduation piece 'Ehm' (2018), that she created in collaboration with Nele Vandeneede and Museum de Pont. After graduation, she created a performance with her very own mother with which she won the Audience award at Café Theaterfestival. In 2020, she started her MA in Philosophy of Humanities and Culture at Tilburg University. Hannah aims to make every project the project of her dreams and, in doing so, pushes her own limits, trusting that new dreams will come again.