Next Step Into New World One

Created for Norwegian National Ballet RAW 2019.

“[Wilkie] used Kraftwerk's album The Man-Machine from 1978. The choreography, which has been named Next Step Into New World One, is largely the dance version of the songs' theme. For the song The Model, both Kraftwerk and [Wilkie] play with self-image, the fashion industry and individualism. In The Robots, the dancers are robots, who make a living from a battery. The cartons, in that they contain real nutrients, work well to represent the battery.”
- Frida Fliflet, Kontekst

Following the concepts of Kraftwerk’s The Man-Machine album, the choreography became a reflection on what it is to be human both in terms of experience and appearance. Do we frame ourselves as organic beings or complex machines? In the context of dance, movements must be learnt or programmed into the dancers. Somatic experience retained or stored and saved in memory. Are aspects of dancing machinelike, regarding their precision and automation through endless repetition? Are connections between people also to be interpreted as part of a program or larger system, as well as the perceptions and measurements made of others and ourselves?

Music: The Robots, The Man Machine, The Model by Kraftwerk
Lighting: Paul Vidar Sævarang
Costume/Set Design: Kenji Wilkie
Makeup: Henning Noack
Dancers: Sindre Berntsen, Idun Bækken, Ada Marthinsen,
Erik Murzagaliyev, Freya Thomas, Kenji Wilkie
Photography: Anne-Sylvie Bonnet, Victoria Francisca

Next Step Into New World One - Set Design

Created for Norwegian National Ballet RAW 2019.

“Behind us…is a well-organized tower of cartons: skim milk, soy milk, apple and orange juice. It is the main prop in [Wilkie’s] work, and should function ‘as a kind of battery’ - fittingly enough, since the music is by Kraftwerk.”
- Frida Fliflet, Kontekst

The starting point for designing the set was to reuse and reframe waste materials. Using empty milk and juice cartons to gradually form the base structure, and clear plastic fruit punnets to create the hanging structure, it began to transform from the image of its parts to an image wholly disassociated and recontextualised. Cartons, resembling power banks and processing modules, their lids becoming buttons and dials on a control panel, and their open spouts turning into various input sockets. Above it hung a chandelier of plastic punnets, now a fibre optic cable network, streaming data down to the base structure. Altogether, an archaic supercomputer built from the waste remains of civilisation to program and power robots that perpetuate the tradition of live dance performance.

However, whilst projecting such transformative images, it simultaneously offers its more banal reality. Perhaps the materials simply remain unchanged, forming only a flimsy totem to lost technology and the stories of a bygone people.

Set Design: Kenji Wilkie
Materials: Oslo Opera House Canteen, Dancers of the Norwegian National Ballet