What Are We Doing is the filmmaking debut of directorial duo Katya Bourvis and Sophie Park. The film features dancers Ben and Dom, who are in real life, a couple. Through their bittersweet dance the challenge of retaining autonomy within a relationship is drawn out.
Co-Director Katya's voice narrates from the vulnerable perspective of how to feel like your own person, your own individual whilst caught in the life and mind of another.
Katya & Sophie 'We’ve known each other for a while — and when we were talking about possible projects to collaborate on, the conversation often meandered to our respective relationship struggles. So when the opportunity presented itself to create something with Ben and Dom, dancers who were a real life couple, the theme of how to be in a relationship seemed like the most honest and timely knot to creatively unpick.'
Katya Bourvis ‘I really wanted to explore the idea of merging in relationships; how it can feel both euphoric and bewildering - like a sort of loss. I visualised Dom and Ben in these identical outfits, in this odd clinical space; the idea of them mirroring each other was important to me, as I think relationships are like mirrors. They can be beautiful and unifying — but also unremittingly exposing! We played with improvisational tasks around the idea of attachment and co-dependence, where their bodies were literally fixed together at key axis points. Sophie captured this beautifully and the layering of super 8 and digital footage felt like the right way to explore how memories and past relationships continue to imprint on our present ones.
Whilst I didn’t intend to record the dialogue for the piece myself, in the end it felt natural: I was struggling to retain autonomy in my relationship, and was having to face my feelings of vulnerability and incapability, Sophie was a huge support in helping me find my voice. I wanted to be provocative with the synthesis of a female voice and the male energy of our two dancers – to hopefully create something unexpected and universal, that goes beyond gender and sexuality.’
Sophie Park ‘It seems bizarre to me that, wrongly or rightly, being in love is so much a part of our life story but it’s not something we’re actually taught how to do. How to retain a sense of self while also being intrinsically connected to someone else, compromise, boundaries, communication, space and closeness. Perhaps it’s the absence of this that pushes so many of us to make sense of it through art. Katya, Ben and Dom integrated all these elements into incredibly intimate physicalities and it really shook me as I filmed. I felt like we were all bringing our own “stuff” to the table.
The trajectory of a relationship was a huge part of the project: the initial high of falling in love versus coping with reality in the future and how we feel in the present versus how we look back. Juxtaposing digital and Super 8, a format synonymous with nostalgia, underpinned this relevance of time. Sound too: the buzz of people in the flourishes of falling in love, the use of projector noises as we tend to look back on our relationships in this filmic way and crucially Katya recording walks with her own partner that scores the film intermittently.'
Director @ Katya_bourvis_ @sophiejanepark
Movement Direction @katya_bourvis_
Spoken word @Katya_bourvis_
Dancers @benknapper @domrocca
Art Work @soaknfloat
Location ‘Filmed at Wayne McGregor’ @studiowaynemcgregor