Luna-graphy in printed media - Zwierciadlo '02.2011

An article about Luna-graphy and collaboration with Jean Daniel Fricker&Celine Angele

Translation of the article about Lunagraphy in ZWIERCIADLO February 2011

The Influence of the Moon

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The Butoh dance is a way of expressing emotions, presenting the relationships with our body and the universe, exploring our subconsciousness. Two French artists: Jean Daniel Fricker and Céline Angele explore the Butoh dance in their exceptional performances. Thanks to the lunagraphy, a new way of creating images by the moonlight, we now have an exceptional record of their art.

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Description above image 1&2:

Lunagraphies, or in other words images captured by the moonlight, showing Céline Angel (1, 2) and Jean Daniel Fricker (2, 3) while performing the Butoh dance in India and Cambodia. The inventor of this original method of creating images is Adam Lach (Lunaris).

They meet at the festival in Avignon. They do not come here by accident. It is a meeting place for theatre groups which seek new means of expression different from the traditional theatre. This is where Jean Daniel Fricker, a performer who works with juggling, acrobatics and dance meets Angela Celine, an actress and a judo athlete who devoted herself to the Butoh dance after cooperating with several theatrical companies in Paris. They are joined by the common interest in Butoh. They both perform in the same play directed by Japanese choreographers. And this is how it begins: for the next three years Céline participates in workshops and shows organised by Fricker. They travel around the world together visiting Italy, Croatia and Slovenia. After a while Céline starts helping organizing workshops and performances.
At the end of 2007 and the beginning of 2008 Jean Daniel Fricker decides to create a theatre group. Along with Celine and five others performers they stay for three months in the southern India, in Hampi, where they work on the performance entitled ‘The Prayer’. They invite one of their friends, a Polish photographer Adam Lach, to come and stay with them. Adam has a chance to observe how this unique project develops. The final effect is amazing as the performance continues without a break for six weeks and four additional nights. It is a form of pilgrimage from one village to another. Each day a new dance begins while the residents watch the shows with surprise. Even the local children sometimes join the performance, jumping over the balls. During one evening Adam talks about a special method of capturing images by the light of the moon which he once discovered during a night walk on the beach in Krynica Morska in Poland. The lunagraphy may come to life only by the light of a full moon during three or four days in a month and provided that there are neither clouds nor any source of light apart from the moon visible on the sky. It's not the end of difficulties. When capturing an image, the author cannot predict the final outcome. Although he chooses both the scenery and the models, he has to accept that it is his intuition and even partly coincidence which will shape the image in the end. As the exposure (the time when the shutter is open and the picture is being taken) lasts for around thirty seconds, it is virtually impossible to predict
the final result.

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Description above the images:

(1) Jean Daniel Fricker (first from the left) and Céline Angel (sitting in the middle row) during their stay in Cambodia became friends with the inhabitants of surrounding villages. They organised workshops for the locals and still keep in touch with some of them. (2) Members of the Jean Daniel Fricker’s Theatre with whom he worked in India on the performance ‘The Prayer’, 2008. (3) Céline Angele at the workshop for mine and polio victims, Cambodia, 2009

Dancing in the dark
Butoh, which is called the dance of the darkness, is the search for one’s own expression free from social or cultural masks. Nothing is for show here. There is no story to be told, it is all about emotions. The dancer tries to express the relationship with the body and the universe while exploring the darkness of his subconsciousness. That is why each Butoh dance is completely different as it is a dance to one’s inner rhythm. It is not the performer who is dancing, it is him who is being danced. Instead of choreography the Butoh offers the unity of body and mind, a kind of meditation in motion. Therefore Jean Daniel and Celine have no doubts: they want to become central figures of the lunagraphy, to express all what is hidden in the darkness of the night in their performance, to dance in the moonlight. As Lunagraphy does not allow for full control of the image, it seems an ideal medium to capture the Butoh dance. The effects of the collaboration with the photographer are so interesting that the next year they all travel to Cambodia together. Adam Lach again has the opportunity to see how the dancers work on a new performance entitled ‘Ghost Stories in Cambodia’. Jean Daniel and Céline organise workshops for the local population, especially for victims of polio and landmines. The latter are souvenirs from a 30-year civil war which finished in 1998.
Butoh is not based on any dance technique. The fact that everybody can dance allows to cross the boarders between being disabled and fully fit. Jean Daniel and Celine teach their students body awareness and how to follow the body’s natural rhythm. And at night they both dance: among the ancient trees surrounding the ruins of Angkor Wat, in a river near a small Cambodian village and in the woods among the mined fields. They work on new images together with the lunagrapher. They move in the darkness relying only on their own intuition, with no arranged choreography. In harmony with the philosophy of the Butoh dance.