Performer voices

Comments written by the young professionals working on othis project

Optik in montreal: xstasis




so I’m there in the space, almost crying or rolling on the floor with laughter and I don’t

have any intellectual understanding of a why. There’s something really

fascinating about that, something really sacred, tapping into something that

raw and unpredictable.


As moments of synchronicity happened in performance, I felt that the audience

instantly became part of them – so much so that I would look over at someone

watching – usually someone who was REALLY watching – and I would feel as if

they could read my mind, like they were in on whatever was making me do what it was I was doing – something I didn’t always know myself




there was always a catastrophe, an event that stood apart in some way or

another, and each time it felt like everything else was the natural build up

to that climactic event, and everything after was the natural recovery from it.


Xstasis had several ‘macro functions’ it could operate in – running, walking, spinning,

rolling, running in place, looking, etc. But it had a core operating system – something deep within the core of it – which was simply lines of code, which the computer would understand as zeroes

and ones, and which the performer would understand as one of two choices that we

were constantly cycling through: stay …or go.




A simple turn can change everything. One moment you are walking alongside someone, the next you are both alone. It doesn’t have to mean anything other than that. There is no bigger reason as to why you chose to move, or what situation you are in that makes you want to move. You simply move. The audience interprets what they want, but you yourself just turn.




There was an impulse inside of me that I could no longer stand still. I had reached my stillness threshold and the impulse to move came from the urgency that I thought I might die if I had to stay still for even one second longer.

I had moments where humans stopped being humans and buildings stopped being buildings and trees stopped being trees. They all became the same things; they were all just matter, including me. I saw everything as being the same and as being completely connected with one another and with the other performers and me. We were all just there, just standing.




I feel incapable of putting into words the thoughts and feelings that I experienced, despite the fact that I have a lot that I want to say.

It’s the feeling when you’re learning to drive standard and you keep stalling the car and you can’t figure out why, then eventually by fluke you find the right timing and you never forget it.



Performing is doing. It is an experience. And the only way to get better at it is to do it.



Decisions are made : there is no going back, no hesitation when transitioning from

one state of movement to the other, one sound to the next, or one image to another.

Putting yourself in the state of heightened perception is exhausting, watching others physically exhaust themselves is felt by one who watches. The heavy breathing of the performers filling a room is tremendously powerful, and practically contagious, and when a breath deprived performer gets up, and starts running again, it’s almost dizzying.

I felt what I could not see; the connection to another individual’s movement as I was pulled into their field of energy and practically dragged along in the wake of their decision to move.




There is only one mistake that can be made by an Optik musician: turning your volume off when you make a sound you don’t like. Leaving the sound there and having to deal with it is part of the game. It is like life; we all make mistakes, but we can’t go back in time to fix them.

The origin of an action is not thinking “I can’t” but rather “I can” and then acting on it.



Even within total chaos we create a form or pattern, an order, so that we can feel secure and so we can ‘understand” what is happening in front of us. Just this concept can be very shocking and disturbing to think about.

All our actions have a point of origin that is unknown to us and our actions have an impact on other actions that are also unknown to us

We, the musicians, had some sort of protective barrier with our tools and other technological gadgets. Our contact was less direct and so are reactions we’re biased and filtered by the highly ordered digital machines we were using to express ourselves. I wasn’t on that edge where the performers could find themselves. Come to think of it, I feel jealous about it.