“Timing is of utmost importance as it carries a lot of power when it comes to delivering content.” On Inga Huld Hákonardóttir and Yann Leguay’s dynamic and interdisciplinary dialogue

In anticipation of this year’s BOUGE B, an innovative dance and music festival held annually in deSingel, we speak to some of the talented dancers and performers showcasing at the event. BOUGE B was originally founded in 2008, and has since developed from a contemporary dance event to fully-fledged dance and music festival and continues to grow and evolve every year. Combining music and dance to explore new means of presenting differing art forms and thus creating a platform for the audience to fully engage with the experience, this year’s Club Edition is sure to palpitate the senses.

For the final instalment of this mini-series, The Word Magazine chats with the Brussels-based artists Inga Huld Hákonardóttir and Yann Leguay. The Icelandic dancer and French sound artist are teaming up to bring a brand new performance to BOUGE B, Again the Sunset, and break down their respective corporal and sonic approaches to interpreting time constructions and materiality for the occasion.

Can you describe your practices as a performer; a musician?

Inga: As a performer I always try to integrate the act of listening into my practice. By listening I mean being open and attentive to what is being produced in the moment, and attempting to grasp an understanding of each moment in response to prior events. Timing is of utmost importance to me as I feel it carries a lot of power when it comes to delivering content – it can can alter and shift content and create contradictions. That’s also what I like about music: every note or beat has such an inherent relationship to time.

In my performances I try to find tension between representation or signification; action and sensation. I like to juggle with the ways the audience perceives, and consider that events can be experienced on multiple levels – physically, sensorially, intellectually, subconsiously, personally and more.

Yann: Music is one side of a larger practice of experimenting with different material. I’m very interested in looking into the materiality of things and thoughts, and then trying to shape it into sounds and music.

How would you describe your respective works and where do you draw inspiration from?

Inga: I did some research last year where I was busy with the idea of the body as an instrument, or more concretely the voice as an extension of the body, and became very interested in the tonality and musical potentials of daily speech. In other words, with extracting or framing the music in speech. Later on in the research process I met Yann, and together we discovered our mutual interest in extracting sound or music from existing materials, and were able to do quite a bit of sound research together with various objects and materials. I think that as a performance-maker I seek meaning through actions; it allows you to determine content, which is very exciting to me.

Yann: It’s difficult to define what I do into a single definition. My work contains many different layers: conceptual, formal, ethical. I allow the audience to enter my work any way they wish; I try to not limit my approach to sound and give myself the space to think. Inspiration comes from many different inputs: from science to daily life, techno to traditional music, classical to noise…

What would you say were your formative years as a performer, and who would you credit with being instrumental in the development of your career?

Inga: During my studies at P.A.R.T.S., I was able to meet many people who influenced me, some of whom I also ended up working with after graduating. In fact, most of my current professional relationships started there. For instance, getting to work with Salva Sanchis and Eleanor Bauer soon after school were both formative experiences as a performer – though their works differ, it’s still very challenging for the performer in exciting ways. Same goes for my collaborations with my colleagues Rósa Ómarsdóttir and Katie Vickers, which marked important moments in my development of clear artistic values.

It’s by listening to the wants of the material that the music appears.

How did you first get introduced to making music?

Yann: My background is in the fine arts and I eventually transitioned into sound art, then music. It all started with listening to radio, cutting up tapes and playing around with the experience of time in electronic music. Performing on stage wasn’t necessarily my end goal, but rather came as an inevitable necessity to share my work.

Could you talk to us about your recording process and your approach to music-making?

Yann: It’s basically an attempt to dialog with the material – a modular synth or stone, a microphone or hard-drive. It’s by listening to the wants of the material that the music appears.

Looking at it from the audience’s point of view, what are you hoping to express through your performance and what do you hope the audience takes away from it?

Inga: As an audience member I like to experience some kind of coherency through time and to be put in a state where I feel like time is almost tangible. I look for a slightly hypnotic state where the audience can feel autonomous in their reception of the experience. I want to create a space in which the viewer feels invited to have a personal connection to the content.

Yann: A deep trip.

What exactly will you be performing during BOUGE B?

Inga: As a duo, we will be performing Again the Sunset. It contains dance, music and visual twists. We’ll be presenting a sort of dialogue using materials which result in sounds. The materials – or instruments – vary from a piece of log, axes, a stone or a body. The breathing is a result of movement and the singing is a result of breathing.

Yann: Again the Sunset is an encounter whereby we decide how to match our respective practices somewhere in between materiality and emotions. It’s a duet with voices and beats, and staged steady rhythms connected to the meaning of the text: wood, stone and a vinyl turning in circles.

Music and dance festival BOUGE B will be taking place on 15th and 16th March at Antwerp’s deSingel. The Word Radio will be handling afterparty duties with 2F4F on the Saturday.