Art serves man to rise and ascend spiritually above himself, to use what we call spiritual will.  –  Andrei Tarkovsky

– A shot from Intertidal.Barene produced by Collettivo CONFLUENZE

Intertidal.Barene takes off slowly, very slowly, very very slowly, and the rhythm remains unchanged until the end of the screendance artwork. The shots in the film are sculpted from one micro universe to another micro universe – homogeneous, coherent, without contradictions, without abrupt transitions, without unnecessary traction, without endless horizons. The colors are earthy, the colors are pale, the colors are bright, they change with daylight, they are true to the season, they reflect the chosen location. In this artwork there is no narrative, we don’t hear any speech; no words distract us with an interpretation of a specific life story or a review of an important human story that would send us to the epicenter of intense public events. We are left to ourselves.


Yet, in the film there are sounds of nature, there is music, there are soundscapes that move us with each shot which suggest both mystery and anxiety. Sometimes, gentle and barely perceptible, springing from nature’s landscapes; other times, they are dynamic and sharp, warning us of something lurking, which is actually “watching” the viewer on the other side of the screen… The musical imagery is upgraded with each slipping frame and makes us look deeper and deeper, dive deeper and deeper, listen deeper and deeper, so we are capable to hear the moan, the cry more and more purely, so that we can see more clearly and vividly where this call, this siren comes from and to understand more and more unequivocally who is in danger and where. Something is calling us somewhere, something is seeking our attention and gaze, something is very close to our eyes and trembles, shivers, and begs, and pleads with us to look, to listen, to slow down. We are left to discover it for ourselves.


However, it is not quite so, you might say, because there is still a human body in this artwork, and along with the sound, it navigates the action, stirs the viewer’s attention and halves my sense of abandonment. And I would agree with you, but not completely.


I would agree with you, because in its actions as an echo of the soundscapes this same mystery, reverberates – this puzzle, this invisible visibility, this message of anxiety, of something that is here and now, and is beautiful, full, dense, perfect, but also something that comes and is from the future, and carries the intuition of intervention, invasion, destruction, dreadful interference. There is a particular ritualism in the presence of the body, a sacredness of every movement it makes, every step is measured and precisely executed. Every shape it takes, although at times bizarre, is full of meaning, when it looks beautiful as well as tender, when it looks ugly as well as slightly sinister, when it is blurred, and when it is crystal clear.


And again, I will agree with you, but not completely, because of this exact ritual dance, at sunset, which brings us closer and closer to the “heart” of this moan, this cry, this siren, and because of these two hands in harmony with the last chords, which carry great tension and great sadness. They are in sync with the last rays of the sun, and are trying to caress, calm, and comfort. But whom? Where is the wounded body? Who is the guardian and who is the guarded? Left to ourselves, we begin to actively seek it. And I will agree with you, but not completely, precisely because of this last picture from above, in which the human body is frozen, and the sound-siren continues to vibrate and then the black screen appears the black screen, which closes and at the same time opens a door to an odd type of feeling – a mixture of loneliness, emptiness, loss, but also unity.


Whose human body was that? Mine, yours, someone else’s? Should I think of it as an individual body, or can I imagine it as an image-emanation of a collective body? Does it matter that it is a woman’s body, or is it a coincidence? Are the fragments from a body, which I occasionally saw in the artwork, parts of the same body we are talking about? And how mysteriously these fragments played with the documented flora and fauna – the hands that painted over the water seemed to become the wings of a bird in flight; as if the human shadow swaying in the wind turned into waves on the water surface; a walking body in the lagoon becoming a moving bird; scattered hair becoming sea vegetation; slight torso twists becoming a stream of water. As if man and nature merged before my eyes, as if I were witnessing an extremely intimate dance, so tender, shy, vulnerable, so impossible and maybe that’s why it’s so beautiful. Dance, occurring among water landscapes, not against the background of endless seas, but against the background of small “enclosed” water areas. And although I saw a specific micro universe, my sense of some form of infinity was still strong, ever so present and alive, and it created a convivial atmosphere with a desire for protection and care.


What was this “water body” in which I sank inwardly and without drowning in logical speculations, in which I discovered a home, a port? The Venetian Lagoon quickly reminds me of the description of the screendance artwork, but, I wonder, could it be another piece of land, from other geographical areas that I know well and where I’ve been before? Where you have been? Areas that have touched us and meant so much to us? And all the shots documenting the mystery-the water quickly emerge in my mind – the water and its lovely quiet movements, its horizontal depth, its changing colors, its kisses with the sun, because what else on this earth can kiss the sun better than water, with its ability to reflect gestures, figures, flora, and fauna… Water – this tool of knowledge, this exhaustive resource – is here to remind me where I am, to test my vigilance and yours too, to demand we sharpen our ability to see with eyes wide open and never to ignore, never to pass by, nor look away and take the natural world for granted, because we are an absolute and undisputed part of it.


Intertidal.Barene is a brilliant poetic and cinematic essay that carries its own political message, but the more important thing to me is the tremendous inner spiritual power that is locked inside the artwork. Intertidal.Barene perfectly handles the invisible in order to trigger a sense of responsibility for existence, a love for everything that surrounds us, and a hope that we can preserve it. Because in this moan, in this cry, in this call, we will not hear a single voice, but many voices, forming a homogeneous ecosystem, of which you and I are part.


Translated by Miryana Mezeklieva

Svetlozara Hristova is a culturologist, art manager, artistic collaborator, author of articles in the field of contemporary dance and theatre, co-organizer of the Moving Body Festival and RADAR Festival Beyond Music, curator of the platform Book Journey.

Miryana Mezeklieva (1987) graduated in Cultural Studies at Sofia University Kliment Ohridski. Since 2008 until today she has been working as a translator of feature films and series for dubbing mainly for the channels of Nova Broadcasting Group.

This material was created within the project Translation on Air – a section dedicated to dance for the screen or screendance. Every month we invite the professional and amateur audiences, tempted by this intriguing symbiosis between cinema and dance, to join our readings, conversations and discussions with active practitioners and choreographers in this field from the country and abroad.

The project “Translation on air” is implemented with the financial support of the National Fund “Culture” under the program “Audiences” 2020 and the program “One-year grant” 2021.

Videography and references:

Short film Intertidal. Barene

Soundtrack to Intertidal. Barene

Online conversation with Anja Dimitrievich and Laura Santini from Collettivo Confluenze

Tarkovsky, Andrei. Sculpting in time. Sofia, Colibri, 2019