‘Noctiluca’: Artist Yara Boustany Seeks ‘to Reframe and Rediscover’ Via Nighttime Sea

'Noctiluca': Artist Yara Boustany Seeks 'to Reframe and Rediscover' Via Nighttime Sea

After finding international success last year with her shows “evolvo” and “One day – One Night – Beirut,” performance artist Yara Boustany is staging her latest show, “Noctiluca,” at Beirut’s Dawar al-SHAMS.

Boustany’s “expressive movement” explores whether, in becoming more repressed and disciplined, society has lost a “wild layer of being.” Human beings now all “move in a certain way and speak in a certain way,” Boustany said to The Daily Star. With “Noctiluca” she seeks “to reframe and rediscover movement through ritual.”

The title refers to a species of luminous jellyfish whose blooms can be seen glowing in the sea at nighttime. The noctiluca sparked within Boustany the idea of “putting light in something black and dark.” Another species, the turritopsis dohrnii (the “immortal jellyfish”), can live forever by regenerating bits of itself, which inspired Boustany to think of “the infinite possibilities of the human being which are not all being used, as we are all just taking one path.”

Boustany’s creative process starts with an idea for a performance, then “things come together strangely,” she says, as the choreography, music and visuals are pieced together “like a puzzle.” The process of crafting “Noctiluca” has taken almost two years.

The dancer-choreographer began collaborating with composer Georgios Gargalas to score the show in 2019, during the Breaking Art residency in Athens. The COVID-19 pandemic forced the Lebanese-Greek duo to spend most of 2020 working remotely, in the unenviable position of having to substitute in-person rehearsals with video cameras and speakers.

Having studied audiovisual art at ALBA, the Lebanese Academy of Fine Art, imagery is a distinctive part of Boustany’s work. For “Noctiluca,” she mixed nature scenes and city scenes to create abstract visuals. “The city is not outside of nature,” Boustany adds. “Just like the bees have their hives, we have our little houses.”

Boustany is curious to know what the audience will take from the performance. “I would like them to feel something,” she says, “but it could be anything, as long as they feel with me, then I feel I did something.”

After “Noctiluca,” Boustany says she’s interested in creating a performance based on “Lovers from Jinn,” a painting from the 1950s by Egyptian artist Abdel Hadi Al Gazzar.

Related Articles

Back to top button