Node #1: American Dream

Node #1: American Dream

Research for Production @ Melkweg Theatre, Amsterdam, Feb. 2012
This work is a collaboration by artists Ruairi Donovan (IRL)
and Karina Sarkissova (SE).

Learn more about The Nodes Residency at THEOFFCENTER’s [**]! SPACE


Ruairi and Karina are emerging European choreographers. Both awarded the prestigious danceWeb scholarship at this years Impulstanz Festival in Vienna. Based in Ireland and Sweden respectively. Their collaborative practice denies geographical constraints and is an investigation into the potential of the Source. Their practice is centered around queer and subversive performance making strategies within the context of contemporary dance and social choreography. Both choreographers are concerned with pattern, dissonance and relational aesthetics as a means of interrogating traum(a).

Conceptually speaking American Dream is partly a propaganda machine and partly a cultural homogenization. Globalization as we interpret is an illusion and we are demanding that we have freedom of movement in order to respond artistically. To collaborate in this context would mean to reclaim power as children of a “global village”.

As Europeans, we will deterritorialize into the US West Coast. Our research will be delivered as a critical filter, a manifestation of our dreams being confronted with an American reality, and then being transported back to Europe, as a personal and political response of globalization and a revenge on the american culture hijacking our interests, creating our desires.

We do not see the way out, even though we are going to attempt to distinguish and confront  the power ruling us.

The superficiality and power position of the Theater Venue,  is the space that we consider being capable to discuss these cultural dynamics and problems. What does the lens of a performance in response to the experience in the US say about our experience in the EU?

In a Capitalist frame that places the hyper individualization of the self at the paramount of importance, we will only trade on productions of Self.

Once we utter that which is intrinsically ourselves we exist within the realm of the personal, the individual, the self, whether authentic or disingenuous. When we have nothing to trade on but ourselves what commentary are we proposing to West Coast and certainly US modes of critical thinking??? Once the self is public, the individual becomes the product, anything which is placed in the public setting through performance or otherwise is inherently and unavoidably political. There is no escaping the already loaded gun in our belt, we cannot avoid our own political position, the personal is always political as politics at least in our understanding of the concept will always affect and propagate the personal.

The personal is always political.

Follow the American Dream process here


Mission Statement


We must terminate all belonging.

We must cancel all membership.

We must promote capitalism.

We must destruct.

We must present a new imagination.

We must smile and get along.

We must dance.

We must rupture.

We must deconstruct.

We must decollate signifiers.

We must manipulate thought.

We must “self” ourselves and each other.

We must transform.

Our weapon is naivety.

We have Aimless Conviction.

We will Exist only on the support of our actions and those we meet.

We are Living an American Dream.

Our performative action is travel, as a metaphor for Movement and Thought.

Artist Bios

Karina Sarkissova

Karina is a Russian Swede, born 1988. She did the sportive way of dancing before she realized that there are no external ideals to fulfill. To realize this, she spent four in dancers institutions in Sweden and Finland. The elaborated dance-training has given her a sensitivity of analyzing bodies, postures and its usage. She sees each body as unique according to its own composition. Therefore, the invititation and theme of Karina’s pieces are accumulated to the source of the performers body, needs and desires. The staged and performing self starts to play a power-game with the individual.

The question of what happens when Karina proposes her own circumstances and constructs a place for herself among others brought her to SNDO (School for New Dance Development, Amsterdam) in 2008.

She discovered interest for the clown and the fool. As a performer, she carries and embodies shame in relation to what happens in the state of non-conformism through the usage of parody. She works with the complicated equation between seriosity and irony. The result of the equation is extracting strength inside of its paradox. Karina is seeking insights and answers through the ironic logic of bodies, her own and others.   To learn more about Karina visit her online at

To see Karina’s work visit password for this video: premiere


Ruairí Donovan

Ruairí is re-imagining himself and the world around him. His choreographic practice centers around dissonance and authenticity, biography and anti-biography. Through Choreography, Theatre and Performance Related practices Donovan hopes to bridge the gap between the individual and the multiplicity, examining structures in which performer and audience can exist outside themselves.

A graduate of University College Cork with a joint honors B.A in Drama & Theatre Studies and English. He went on to complete Artstrain, a certificate in Youth Arts Practice and Drama Facilitation. Ruairí has worked extensively in Europe as a performance related practitioner.

Ruairí is also an artist in development with Cork Midsummer Festival and recently curated a week long multi disciplinary residential event and professional symposium. He has recently completed a year long residency with Daghdha Dance Company and was awarded a place on the prestigious DanceWeb scholarship at Impulstanz, Wien.

Ruairí is a member of Jardin d’Europe, Y.P.A.L. and is a board member of Corcadorca Theatre Company and the Theatre Development Center @ Triskel Arts Centre, Cork.  To learn more about Ruairí visit

Previous work: Sonnet for Dark Love  –  Opened 6: An Opening, Dagdha – Mårten Spångberg – Geo-Trauma Dance


American Dreaming Events

American Dreaming –  December 9th, 2011 at 22.30pm

American Dreaming is a facilitated durational event in which we hope to surrender concerns with hegemony and other framings, where we hope to produce knowledge instead of confirming what we already know, to find new ways of being together.

The evening will propose a series of entry points or interactions in the hope of creating research within a social and cultural context. Knowledge will be mediated and not possessed.

The event will use the frame of a “dance party” and will include multiple platforms for engagement, demanding various levels of participation including Karaoke, as a performative action and Second Hand Received American social gaming as a lens.

Social Dreaming

“I am teaching you how to see as opposed to merely looking and stopping the world is the first step to seeing.”

Social Dreaming is a facilitated choreographic score in which we aim to investigate notions of community, togetherness and subjectivity in a decentralised matrix. An American Dream, for us to create and digest together.

American Dreaming will include multiple platforms for engagement, demanding various levels of participation including Karaoke, as a performative action and Second Hand Received American social gaming as a lens or cultural Art-efacts.

For more information check out the American Dream blog at

N.B. We would encourage you to bring comfortable clothes, blankets, yoga mats etc or items with which to make yourself comfortable.


Also be sure to check out THE DOG SHOW at Z-Space before and then come join us afterwards!


Current Needs – calls to action –

We are seeking interviews with individuals as part of our cultural research, the objective of these interviews will be to penetrate with the subjective a global context. We hope to deliberately problematise and challenge the notion of “don’t ask, don’t tell” in response to the questions which were asked of us upon entering this country. The interview is a symbolic event tied closely to the symbol of radar, a reaching out, a decentralization. The interview will act as a means of attaining an accurate idea or image of the American Dream to challenge the notions we have around the thematics of our research as second hand receivers of American culture.

The interviews will be open and relaxed, informal in tone but it is important to stress that we will be recording image and sound throughout. The interviews duration will be dictated by the interviewee but we envisage each lasting between 30 and 45 minutes. We will offer the interviewee refreshments and the interview will be structured as a new way of being together. Both artists, Donovan and Sarkissova will be present throughout and as such the interview will be 2 on 1. We would like to offer an option around where the interview can take place, either at the 848 Space or in the home of the interviewee.

The interviews will be used to generate material for our production American Dream at the Melkweg Theatre, Amsterdam in 2012 and as such it is important to stress that although the material we will be looking for will be personal in nature it may or may not be used later in a public sphere. We hope the interviews will be therapeutic in nature for everyone involved and will act as a spiritual interaction between artist and interviewee.



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