Resi Bender’s New Realities – An Interview

Multi-disciplinary artist Resi Bender’s works have been shown at the IRCAM in Paris, in Berlin, more recently in Los Angeles, and her second video piece with partner Natacha Mankowski will be featured at A Partial Eclipse of the Heart, an audio-visual event taking place at techno mecca Berghain on May 4. In our interview, Resi explains how her pieces come to life and what to expect from the Bender/Mankowski installation at Berghain.

Photo by Jonas Lindstroem


KALTBLUT: Resi, can you tell me about your work?
Resi: I am a costume designer, and a video and performance artist: I combine performance, film, costumes and spaces in my work. I use movement as a tool to explore the boundaries between body, form, shape and space. Rather than focusing on the style of a dance, I am interested in creating a physical conversation with the viewer.

KALTBLUT: And where does your inspiration come from?
Resi: My films capture people, their perception, fantasies, mythologies and questions of identity. I sculpt new models of reality, new expectations and concepts of the modern being in today’s society. In my work, I focus on creating multi-faceted sensory experiences for my audience; I want to blur the lines between fiction and reality. My last performance with choreographer Darren Johnsten and Conspirators was a 12-hour live performance inspired by the Circadian Circle of light and shadow. We translated the information of an average person’s day into movement: waking up, feeling lost in the dark until the space around you slowly clears up and the day grabs you, the acceleration of the day intensifying the movement of body and mind, taking a moment to rest, to focus, to find space in your mind, traveling in an intense speed of being again, lost in movement until the late night slows us down.

12-hour live performance in London by Darren Johnston


KALTBLUT: How did your collaborative work with Natacha Mankowski start?
Resi: We come from different paths, architecture and fashion. Last year, we started a collaborative platform called RITUEL series, to extend the spectrum of our production and to enable us to interpret the new behaviors of our generation.
Natacha: We want to portrait our habits, our contemporary rites. We want to develop an open space for videos, performances, dance-performances, performance-lectures, and plays. Our strong links to hypnosis, meditation and trance brought us together. What matters for us is to include our public, to create an intense interaction and a trance-like experience for the viewers.
Resi: We want to surprise the audience, grab them and take them to places in their minds they haven’t been explored before. Our inspirations evolve with travelling to new places like L.A., Athens, Mexico, meeting their people, exploring their architectures, their music… Their culture gives color and influences our work. This nomadic way of living – constantly involving movement, with no permanent home, creates a challenge in our work process. It pushes us to reinvent our media of representation – always adapting to the context – going from a dance piece, to a guided meditation, a filmic experience, a theatre play, an installation…
Natacha: We both have our strengths and interests but we are developing them in sync to create holistic representations. Since we started working together, we collaborated with a range of artists, designers and curators on projects and site-specific venues, and we aim to continue this way. We always say “the world is our stage”.

Photo by Hassan Rahim

KALTBLUT: What will you show at A Partial Eclipse Of The Heart in Berghain?
Natacha: In Berghain, we will present a video installation called SUNO. It works as walking meditation; it is a short mental journey. Through a strong rhythm and intense editing, a voice is taking the spectator into a mental space, slowly the intensity raises and brings the viewer into a trance-like experience. The journey of the mind is translated into movement and integrates into the video piece. For this work, we collaborated with a great producer, Neunau.
Resi: We use flashes, and a spectrum of images and movements to bring an extra intensity compared to a normal video experience. Using light and shadow are for us strong tools to create a hypnotic effect, and to activate the attention of the viewers and make them step out of their comfort zone. Along with a metaphoric zen approach to shadow and light, we offer viewers a way to step out of everyday life and to send their mind into trance-like and meditative states to touch another space of reality within their minds.

“Futuring” by Jasmine Alakari

KALTBLUT: Do you already have future projects?
Resi: I am currently working on a new performance. With this performance I want to accelerate the idea of meditation over a life long period into a dance performance. It will be performed in a dark empty space to have as little distraction as possible for the mind and the viewer. The music itself will be a translation of the inner sounds of the body. The costumes will be a visualization of the mind’s traits. I want to take my audience on an intense audio-visual journey.  And with Natacha, we are currently working on a new project as well. It is a mental bath. With this performance we want to take our RITUEL series a step further, and more importantly to another scale. We are currently working with light designer Lars Braun, space designer Laure Jaffuel and ceramist Ulrike Brandenburg. We want to develop a performance that challenges the perspective of the fluidity of liquidity. The audience will be taken on a journey with us discovering extrapolations of realities through an audio-visual haptic experience. And we want to take RITUEL series with us to the places we travel. We want to continue discovering our collective consciousness, challenging the constructions of reality, fiction and traditions. We are continuously inspired to create new deeper inner experiences together with our audience.

Interview by Elsa Triquet-Rey


More about A Partial Eclipse of the Heart on May 4 at Berghain with Hito, Autist and Rainbow Arabia live via #EclipseBerghain, RSVP on Facebook