Pretty in Pink on a Dark Street

23 February 2023 // Activities

Pretty in Pink on a Dark Street

The live performance, Pretty in Pink on a Dark Street, is a collaboration between designer Marina Menéndez-Pidal and dance artist Anastasia Bezruchko. The work is just as much about femininity as it is about the role lighting plays at night. Marina received guidance and support from the MA Information Design department at Design Academy Eindhoven in Eindhoven, the Netherlands to complete the work. The live performance has been shown at Dutch Design Week and the Walking-with Amsterdam WARP Conference in 2022.

Pretty in Pink on a Dark Street builds on the potential of walking as a research method, using this method to find out how those that self identify as women and feminine-presenting people walk alone at night. What first began as solitary night walks lead to the organization of one-on-one night walk interviews in Eindhoven. Marina wanted to understand and represent the feelings and experiences of being feminine and walking alone at night. With each participant, she started the walk outside the participant’s home, they walked in the neighborhood, and later circled back to their home. The research process spanned over a two-month period with each walk taking about an hour at different times of the night. The archive of the night walks includes fourteen audio recorded interviews which Marina later transcribed, analyzed, and compared. The delay of the research process, the unexpected thoughts arising from the surroundings while on the walk, and the almost aimless, in-between state of the walk all reinforce the benefits this research method can offer a designer and they are reflected in the live performance which has resulted from it.

For the ten minute live performance, Anastasia worked with Marina on the choreography and scenography. There are three elements in the work: the dance artist, the light, and the voice recordings. In the performance, Anastasia walks to communicate the subject. The role of the light in the performance acts as both a street light and headlights of a car that confronts the dance artist as she walks. The performance begins with the dance artist walking freely without being conscious of what is around her. She repeatedly circles around a pink spotlight with a low beam angle, playing with her posture, pace, and gestures. When the light becomes dynamic in movement, she becomes more aware of her environment. The light then changes in color and widens in the beam angle; the dance artist slows down, walks in the light, and confronts her shadow. The featured voice recordings that are amplified on a speaker throughout the performance are from the Netherlands, United States, England, Québec, Portugal, and Austria. Topics within the performance include posture, pace, behavior, belongings, encounters, lighting, and attire when walking alone at night. The performance ends with the dance artist confronting her surroundings and shadow as the voice recordings describe a future of being feminine when walking alone at night. To archive the live performance and document excerpts of the voice recordings, Marina and Anastasia created accompanying posters and programs. Peter Cox photographed the live performance and Clara Gustafsson filmed the trailer of the live performance, which can be found below.

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