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by on October 21, 2012

I/II/III/IIII is a new theatrical installation by the performance artist Kris Verdonck.

Four ‘identical’ female dancers hang like marionettes in a huge ‘machine’. Performance artist Kris Verdonck has generated a passage of choreography with them, we see: a solo, a duet, a trio and I think a pas de quatre.

Verdonck states, ‘They sought the greatest possible freedom from the machine, but sooner or later it sent them in the direction it decided upon.’


The images evoked by I/II/III/IIII are admittedly confusing, many-layered and ambiguous: they remind us of the white birds in Swan Lake and also of animal carcases being dragged along, hovering angels, falling human bodies and everything in between.

If I told you these are not humans would you believe me? Also, if I said that they were how would you feel? This piece really interests me as no matter if they are human or not the performance still unnerves me!

If they are human, then I am unnerved as they are being treated like marionettes, creating unnatural images – hanging upside down and sitting at awkward angles.

If they aren’t human, then I am unnerved because they look so life like, (the ridges of muscle on their back look especially flesh-like!) and their movements create a sense of humanness.


Kris Verdonck is a very interesting performance artist and many of his performances revolve around the central theme of machine and man…and the combination of both!

Look at this!

This is ‘END’ and it shows the possible final stages of a human society in ten scenes. Melting glaciers, burning forests, cities under water, ubiquitous screens and cameras spying on us, the uncontrolled availability of weapons of mass destruction, and so on. 

END starts out from the images the media project onto our retinas all day and every day. The ten scenes are linked by a monologue spoken by a single character: the witness who sees it all happen. While this survivor – like the messenger in Greek tragedy – talks unceasingly, a series of ‘Figures’ appears on stage: machines and people or a combination of the two. They go from one side of the stage to the other, all in the same direction. Are they fleeing something? If so, what?

The interesting thing that I found was the use of scale – this could so easily be the size of a shoe-box with miniature people inside…but its actually a massive stage!



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