UNTERWASSER

ANIMATAZINE

WATER

Unterwasser is a research group, founded in 2014 by Valeria Bianchi, Aurora Buzzetti and Giulia De Canio, which investigates the mutual contamination between puppetry and visual arts.

The Company undertakes work on two parallel tracks: on the one hand the performative one, on the other the exhibition-installation one.

The first work, Out, is from 2015, receives many important awards and is represented in China, Spain, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, France, Switzerland, Portugal, Croatia, and played with over 200 performances.

In 2016 the Company received the Bendedetto Ravasio Award.

In 2018 Maze debuted.

In the same year, the installation Amarbarì debuts at the Roma Europa Festival which subsequently becomes a show at the Segnali Festival in Milan. 

In 2020 the show Untold debuts  at the Biennale Teatro 2020 in Venice.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO LINK THE WATER ELEMENT TO YOUR COMPANY NAME AND TO YOUR POETIC MANIFESTO?

We chose the name Unterwasser, which in German means "underwater", when we did our first project for Scenario.
 
This name was born from the alchemy of our being together which was then confirmed over time.
 
We realized that the more we went on, the more what we had written in the initial manifesto returned, without repeating itself each time in different ways, it evolved giving confirmation of itself.
 
Our way of working is very fluid, it has to do with water.
 
In our way of dealing with artistic creation there are several planes that interact with each other: the plan of dramaturgy, the plan of research on materials, the theme of writing and musical creation and all these aspects change each other and do not impose the on each other.

And this also has to do with the behavior of the water.

Returning to the choice of the name: once we identified the concept with which we wanted to introduce ourselves, we spent some time looking for the best way to say underwater.

We didn't like the expression in Italian.
 
When we read the German translation, the sound convinced us.
 
Among other things, it is in assonance with Hundertwasser  who is an artist that we like very much.

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Untewasser -  Maze.

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IF YOU HAVE TO TRACE THE CREATIVE PROCESS IN YOUR PERFORMANCES, HOW AND WHERE DO YOU RECOGNISE THE PRESENCE OF THE ELEMENT WATER?

Water is an element other than our natural element.

We are always surrounded by air; we know the earth because we put it on our feet, it is our usual ground; you don't come close to fire because it is fascinating but it can be dangerous, and in any case fire is not an element in which you can immerse yourself.

Water, on the other hand, is that different element in which you can immerse yourself.

The surface of the water can also be imagined as a sort of limit, a border.

A fluid, liquid mirror that allows anyone who wants to immerse himself, to break it, to touch it, to cross it and to find himself in another dimension.

And this dimension, precisely because it is not our natural dimension, gives different sensations, takes away part of our skills, modifies our senses, attenuates some and amplifies others; it necessarily puts us in a condition of great attention because in such a different environment nothing can be taken for granted.
 
Water also acts as a filter, it makes you see things from another point of view.

Water can act as a magnifying glass, magnify things that are smaller out of the water or make things seem more beautiful than things that are less so out of the water: like stones.

In our childhoods one of the strongest memories linked to water is the noise and the presence of pebbles, stones: pebble beaches have a particular sound.

The stones are wonderful treasures inside the water, they are shiny, but when you take them out they lose their charm, they lose their lucidity and humidity.
 
To dive into the water you need a will, you need a choice.

For us the choice to enter the water is a research.

I choose to search, I search with all these modifications of my perceptions, I search with greater attention.

The wonder goes hand in hand with amazement and also with fear because going to discover the seabed is wonderful but also frightening.
 
One of the most magical things about the underwater dimension is the role that light plays.

Inside the water the light becomes very powerful both in revealing and in modifying or hiding.
 
There is another aspect of our work that can be associated with "under the water" which is the absence of words : in our works there are words from time to time, but they are very few and there are in a very musical form.
 
In both Untold and Amarbarì the words always came later, when we realized that they actually served to clarify a concept better; or they have proved necessary for the sound they have, or to make us understand an inner reflection; or at times they served to clarify a passage on a dramaturgical level.

Making works of images only, in which there is a path, which are not only abstract visuals, but which have a clear dramaturgical path, is very complex.
 
We tend to get the word only where it actually needs to be present: often this happened in later versions of the show, we debuted without words and then we realized they were needed.
 
This absence of speech puts the viewer in another state because there is no verbal channel: there is the sound channel, which is very important, and the visual channel.

What is told therefore has different times than those of the surface.
 
The dramaturgy for us is very clear but the way of rendering it is not defined: this gives the possibility to everyone in the audience to reconstruct their own story, to also include their own experience. 
 
And this is very nice when it happens, to discover what the visions of each are: sometimes they do not absolutely correspond to the story we tell, but they are all plausible because they develop around our dramaturgical passages.
 
One of the things that interests us a lot is to go and search within ourselves, bring to light the emotional states of the most hidden parts of us.
 
The zoom that the size of the water allows, gives an amplification, a greater capacity for reflection: this happened in Out, a show linked to emotions, to emotional opening and closing.

In Maze, where we didn't want to tell a specific life but, in fact, zooming in on moments that seem small but are very important. 
 
In Untold  in an even clearer, more defined way, we go in search of the mechanisms that prevent us from acting as we would like: here we too are on stage for the first time with our physical presence, with our shadow, with our double, we have little models of ourselves that are the inside of everyday situations.

With the lights we go to search inside, so it is like a progressive zoom that goes deeper and deeper from the outside, up to the more watery areas of us, more intimate. 
 
Water, as an element, often appears in our shows.

The show where the water element is most visible is Maze.

The beginning of the show is an abstract, visual environment that suggests a non-world, which can be a womb, a liquid environment; then during the show the water returns with different shapes, there is rain, the water in a glass which then turns black and submerges the whole city, the water of a swimming pool and a long swim, and before the pool there is 'it is instead an interior immersion, a touching of an intimate water.
 
Basically it can be said that water appears in Maze both as a saving element and as a heavy, dense, extreme, almost too extreme filter, like some moods of life: in fact it is a way of representing the soul.

Touch a surface of water  it produces waves, it is a movement, a change and this is a constant element in the shows we have created so far: change, the relationship between the inside and the outside, the necessary fluidity of things, being penetrated, being pervaded, the grant.

They are recurring myths evidently necessary for us on a thematic level.
 
We know that we are working with archetypes, we have read, we have studied, we are aware.

We are happy to be able to work in this way with archetypes, precisely because we know that the archetype inevitably speaks to everyone: the important thing is to treat them with care. 

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Untewasser -  Maze.

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 IS THERE SOMETHING YOU WOULD STILL WANT TO EXPLORE ?

We are now working on a project called Boxes, it is a Lambe Lambe theater project.
 
So far we have created three boxes.
 
One of the very interesting things we found during the experimentation phase is related to water.
 
In the boxes it is possible to see the water very closely and we realized that with the water we can create optical effects, like mirrors: the water opens up perspectives that we never imagined and we are very curious to discover.
 
In Lambe Lambe, the shows are designed for one or two spectators at a time.
 
This means that looking, spying from that hole, is an immersive experience: you are entering and your eyes are opening onto a world that, despite being a very small dimension, can be very large. 
 
The immersive effect is also given by the audio with the headphones: looking inside this magical hole makes you immerse yourself in a totally different dimension, it allows you to exclude external noises and totally enter a different world. 
 
This Boxes project is a wonderful game that we have wanted to play for many years: as spectators we have always been fascinated by being able to observe a show made at that moment just for you.
 
It is an opportunity that gives us the opportunity to start exploring completely different techniques again: the beauty is precisely that of being able to get involved on each box with different techniques.
 
It is a game, because in reality every time we start experimenting, we are the first to select what is good and what is not, letting ourselves be guided exclusively by our amazement, by our enjoyment.
 
Often the themes come as a consequence, they are subsequent to the effect we are able to obtain. 

The hope is to continue to maintain a close relationship with water. 

AS AN ELEMENT THAT INSPIRES YOUR WORK, WHAT IS WATER FOR YOU TODAY? 

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Aurora Buzzetti : "For me, reflection is more about imagining how water reacts to my feeling. So I asked myself, where is it? Where do I find it? Where does it go? I feel it in my chest, I feel it a lot, when it heats up and boils. When it freezes and can evaporate, it makes it rain inside. "
 
Valeria Bianchi : "If I think of some characteristics of water that resonate in me, I think of the ability to adapt, to expand where there is space and to be able to return to being contained where it is required. The ability to welcome, to support , of not giving weight, of warming, of refreshing. When you are in the water your hearing loses its power, while the touch becomes much more important. And then the reflection that we are actually made of water and that for nine months our element has been water. I believe that somehow, even if it is not aware, this memory remains. "
 
Giulia De Canio : "The fact that we are mainly made of water, and that we have been in the water in the first very important months of our existence, is perhaps an explanation for this feeling of being at home when one is in the water. I personally feel at home and I feel that water is the element where I concentrate and rest and feel. Water in my dreams is always associated with happiness. When I dream, a water, a sea, a sea clean, that image is always associated with complete happiness, wonderful happiness. And these two things always go together in my dreams. And the feeling of being able to fly that water gives you is also beautiful. the closest thing to flying we can feel. And also dissolving, feeling one with what is around and with the element in which you are immersed. "
 
Valeria Bianchi : " The water is fresh, it supports you, it is transparent, but it can also be cloudy, confused. This aspect of cloudy water has to do with rottenness, with death. Maze is the show in which we have more this valence of great heaviness, of tears, of pain and confusion, of turbidity is also represented.
It is as if water were the great container of everything, capable of receiving everything. When it clears up, there is a joy , in the moment in which it becomes dim ... It is the soul. "
 
Aurora Buzzetti : "Yes, it's the soul ..."

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Untewasser -  Boxes show

UNTERWASSER'S ESSENTIAL LINKOGRAPHY

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