Dragan Zivadinov «Zero Gravity Biomechanical Theater» 1999.
Dragan Zivadinov weightless
In 1995 Živadinov dedicated himself to telecosmism, telelogy, and the 50-year projectile, Noordung, named after the Slovene space scientist Herman Potočnik Noordung (1892 - 1929) who wrote the book The Problems of Space Travel. The first show One Versus One opened on 20 April 1995, with restaging taking place every 10 years, the first one being on 20 April 2005. The show will play until 20 April 2045. The place of those actors who die in the meantime will be taken by a mechanical symbol, their spoken text represented by sounds (melody for women, rhythm for men.) In 2045 these symbols will be shot into zero gravity space in a capsule. This action is intended to finally abolish mimetic theatre and establish the rule of non-corporeal art.
On December 15, 1999 Dragan Živadinov created Noordung Biomechanics, the first performance in zero gravity space researching revolutionary changes, which take place in the human body in a situation of a weightless theatre, produced by Project Atol Institute. It took place in the Russian cosmonaut training aircraft in the skies above Moscow dealing with the problem time/space paradigm and the subject as an actor and performer in the electronic era. In 2005 the Noordung's production Supremat was performed at Helix as a part of the NSK event in the city of Dublin celebrating European enlargement.
Dragan Živadinov, one of the founders of Neue Slowenische Kunst in 1985, founded the Scipion Nasice Sisters Theatre in 1984 and directed some cult performances. In 1987 he founded the Red Pilot Cosmokinetic Theatre performing at Zenit Observatory in 1988. In 1990 the Noordung Cosmokinetic Cabinet formed and made the Noordung Praying Machine in 1992.
But the reader probably needs an earth-bound who, and what, where and when at this stage. On December 15 1999, a massive high-winged Ilyushin-76 MAK aircraft, which normally serves as a training plane for the Russian cosmonauts, took off from the Star City airfield with a cargo of fourteen Slovenians, myself, and about the same number of Russian trainers and crew members. At the back end of the plane an intricately designed set had been constructed -- one component of what director Dragan Zivadinov calls an "inhabited sculpture". On each wall of the aircraft four strangely designed seats -- more like slings with back-rests and strange padded folding tables which double as seat-belts -- were provided for the audience of eight, which mostly consisted of people from the Slovenian capital, Ljubljana, capable of recording or writing about the event. In the back of the plane seven actors, all wearing the bizarre, brightly colored Russian constructivist-style flight-suits designed for the occasion, prepared for the onset of zero gravity. The audience also were wearing costumes, in this case yellow flight-jackets, and each also had a kind enveloping wrap-around piece of head wear that can't really be called a hat -- it was something more like what cosmonauts or astronauts wear under their fishbowl helmets, complete with a chin strap and velcro attachers to keep a pair of headphones glued down on the head during the upcoming zero-gravity episodes.
The spectrum of the live arts in space would be incomplete without theater. In 1999 Slovenian director Dragan Zivadinov staged his Noordung Zero Gravity Biomechanical Theater high above the Moscow skies, onboard a cosmonaut training aircraft. The flight crew consisted of fourteen people: six actors and an audience of eight. A series of eleven airborne parabolas, with gravity changes oscillating from normal, to twice the usual, to 30-second microgravity episodes, is not the most conducive temporal structure for a long dramatic play. This posed no problem for director Zivadinov, whose vision of an abstract theater is well matched by the experience of weightlessness. Zivadinov placed a red set on the back of the plane and seats for the audience of eight on each wall of the aircraft. Launched from the stage into the empty space before it, actors wearing brightly colored costumes performed in a state of levitation, before being pushed down to the floor by gravity changes, and back up in the air again, and so on, as the airplane completed its parabolas. After eight parabolas, Zivadinov allowed the audience to leave their seats and participate in the euphoric state of bodily suspension, a unique form of audience-actor empathy and, undoubtedly, a new level for the old-age dramaturgical device once described by Aristotle as catharsis.
Dragan Zivadinov’s Cosmokinetic Cabinet Noordung Theatre performed its «Biomechanics Noordung» at zero gravity. The performance by Zivadinov involved actors that for 1 minute performed in zero gravity. The public was not included, but the performance was filmed. The actors worn special costumes re-designed from the time of Meyerhold theater research, and the internal space of the aircraft was re-arrange into a theater space, decorated with objects from the Russian constructivist art period, which flourished immediately after the October socialist revolution, around 1920. The «Biomechanics Noordung» performance consisted of a repetition of choreographed Biomechanics movements.