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Breakdance

(color video, 1.45 min. Jesper Nordahl, 2004)

Jesper Nordahl’s video Breakdance (2004) documents the spontaneous
performance of a dance-come-gymnastic routine by a youth, keen
to impress the ‘tourist’ with a camera. The work was developed while
on residency at the abandoned military port of Karosta, in Western
Latvia. The site’s history is paramount to the work’s ultimate reading
and is visually implied by the dilapidated state of the social housing
blocks captured in the background and the subtly outmoded clothing
of the performer.

Jesper Nordahl’s video Breakdance (2004) uses the embodiment of
breakdancing in his subject and it’s latent history, to puncture a bleak
cityscape with notions of resistance and self-expression that draw
from groups in the Bonx NYC in the 1970s and the broader countercultural
movement which began out of a disillusionment of social constructs
and demanded greater individual freedoms and determinacy.

In Breakdance optimism and change ultimately fail as the divide between
context and body dissolves in the character of the performance itself.
The embodiment of a socially progressive dance becomes a parody due
to the graceless and clumsy physical movement of the actor which
ultimately binds him to the very apparatus (both physical and ideological)
that he is trying to depart.

text: Amy Croft, excerpts from an exhibition review of 'Provisorisches Yoga’
curated by Mari Laanemets and Søren Grammel, Grazer Kunstverein, 2009,
http://www.amycroft.co.uk/


Still from the video
Breakdance (color video, 1.45 min. Jesper Nordahl, 2004)