Inspired by Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben’s essay of the same name, The Assistants deals with the special physical and emotional relationship each musician has to their instrument and to each other. In a playful way, it also problematizes the notion of “trying to help” another person. In this piece Maruyama addresses Sedje Hémon’s RSI (repetitive strain injury) prevention courses for musicians and office workers, an officially recognized treatment method in the Netherlands. The injuries Hémon sustained in her youth abruptly stopped her career as a violinist and this gave her a deep understanding of physicality and its relation to music making. Until the end of her life, she taught others how to relieve and prevent pain by re-learning ways to use the body in an optimal manner.
Fascinated by this relationship between the body and music, Maruyama learned Hémon’s movements and transformed those exercises into musical and choreographic parts, which in turn have been taught to Ensemble Modelo62’s musicians with the help of choreographer and dancer Astarti Athanasiadou. In this piece, the musicians behave not only as musicians but as individual bodies in transformation and movement.
Listen to an except here.
Generously supported by Fonds Podiumkunsten, Gemeente Den Haag, Stroom Den Haag, Mondriaan Fonds, and the Sedje Hémon Foundation.