On the Couch with Martin Hansen

Martin Hansen Arts Review On the CouchWho is Martin Hansen?
I’m a choreographer and dancer from Melbourne, but I’ve been living and working in Berlin for the last ten years. I had been coming back to work in Australia sporadically, but since 2014 I’ve been making a concerted effort to make and present my work in Australia, firstly through the Dancehouse Housemate residency program, then the Keir Choreographic Award and now Dance Massive. In my work I explore how time, choreography and the body intersect.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
My last few works have looked at how post internet culture produces different kinds of bodies to pre-internet culture and in all the research I’ve done Ive found myself wanting more and more to be a hacker or a programmer, to be able to have the ability to really understand and navigate the internet, the darknet and the deep web. So that would be some alternative reality version of myself but until then I’d like to become a more observant, patient and invested person in the world and arts worker in the studio.

Who inspires you and why?
I’m inspired by my community of friends, peers and colleagues in Melbourne and Berlin who understand that art making is and should be about community building, those who propose and work through frames and formats that ask relevant questions about the world and are aware of the political and ethical implications of what they participate in. I’m inspired by many thinkers, particularly ones who work through queer feminist thought and generously welcome others to encounter that territory through what they do. I’m inspired by the teachers, builders, regional dance teachers and other working class people in my life whose labour and love allowed me to do what i do.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
That question makes the world sound like some static object that I am external to but it’s fluid and volatile and I am part of that fluidity and volatility. I would like to increase my knowledge and awareness of how I participate and reproduce things that we name as the world, because that will increase my agency to shift them.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
In the recent past I have really enjoyed the islands of Ustica and Favignana off of Sicily. Incredible beaches nestled into rocky enclaves and delicious food. You can ride around the entire perimeter of Ustica on a bike and its just so serene and beautiful. In Australia I really love Tasmania and Victoria’s national parks, Wilsons Prom! I also just came back from my first time in Castlemaine, it was only one night but i loved it.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
I’ve had the pleasure of introducing some European friends to Melbourne and a lot of that has been about food and nature. The breadth and quality of food in Melbourne is something I miss a lot and I’ve been excited to introduce it to people. Wilsons Prom is also a place that I try to take people, it’s quite amazing to re-experience the unique nature and intensity of australian wilderness to people who have never seen anything like it. When friends visit me in Berlin they inevitably get to see inside its large, diverse and incredibly active dance/performance scene which feels personally important to me. and going out, of course.

What are you currently reading?
In Defence of the Poor Image
by Hito Steyerl and Campo Santo by W.G. Sebald. The Steyerl text is a central part of the research for my work that I’m about to present, so I’ve been deep in it for a few months now, and the Sebald is a cherished surprise. I don’t have the language to describe what his work does to me and I thought I’d read his entire archive until I found this killing time in Readings. It’s a collection of essays and the beginnings of a novel that was cut short by his passing, it’s especially poignant to read a work in progress under such circumstances.

What are you currently listening to?
Simulation by Roisin Murphy.

Happiness is?
Mostly ideology.

What does the future hold for you?
I am currently preparing for the premier of my work, If It’s All In My Veins at Dancehouse as part of Dance Massive. I made a 20 minute version for the Keir Choreographic Awards last year and it’s been a pleasure, privilege and immense task to re-imagine it as a full length work. Shout out to my amazing collaborators Hellen Sky, Michelle Ferris, Georgia Bettens and Nik Pajanti. After that’s all done I will head back to Berlin to begin working with Sergiu Matis on his new work, Sergiu is great and I can’t wait.

Martin’s work If It’s All In My Veins will be presented at Dancehouse: 23 – 26 March as part of 2017 Dance Massive Festival. For more information, visit: www.dancemassive.com.au for details.

Image: Martin Hansen