At its core, Chunky Move’s Keep Everything is a genre-defying mixture of dance and performance. A combination of choreography, electronica, spoken text and improvisation, the show traces human evolution all the way from our primate ancestors to robots and back again. Renowned choreographer Antony Hamilton is the mind behind this innovative performance, the origins of which come from his own creative past.
“I was trying to find an opportunity to put everything together that hadn’t made the cut in previous works. We had hit on things that were really interesting, fun and exciting, but they didn’t quite have a place in what we were working on. So I had this odd collection of bits and pieces that I wanted a home for. The challenge was putting those things together in a way that made some kind of sense. So the title, Keep Everything, is really about the human fascination and problem with not being able to discard things and trying to create some sense of order out of chaos.”
Being a work that focuses on the human narrative, it’s unsurprising that the choreographer has a strong perspective on the way people interpret both history and the passing of time.
“In order to survive and make sense of everything we have to create this narrative illusion that it’s all going somewhere; that we’re headed towards something,” says Hamilton. “We believe in progress, but it’s this crazy myth and history tells us that. But we need that myth, otherwise what would we do? We can’t quite admit to ourselves that it’s all for no reason.”
This form of chaos is clearly reflected in the multiple artistic mediums employed in Keep Everything. Nonetheless, Hamilton tries to avoid placing specific expectations on the piece.
“To be honest, I try to be a little bit objective about my work. One thing I really try and do is have no desire of what I want it to achieve. In a way it then becomes a bit of a selfish exercise and very much about you and your personal crap. When I’m making work I try and be a servant to it and let it be an entity unto itself. I just try to guide it and listen to it and follow it where it wants to go. So in a way it allows me to enjoy the piece as much as the audience, because it’s always a surprise for me. In order to enjoy making work you have to be entertained by the process of it, otherwise it would be dead boring. If you knew what you wanted to achieve there would be no point in doing it. It’s the mystery of uncovering what the work is; what it will be is the thing that pushes you to keep creating.
Despite these assertions, Hamilton maintains there are certain themes and ideas he tried to incorporate in the piece.
“What I wanted in the end was a reflection on the culture of humanism and how we compartmentalise and categorise everything in our lives and pretend that within that there’s some sense of order. In actual fact, the world and everything in it is quite a random assemblage of chance and accidents. The larger arc of the work creates a cyclic situation, so by the end you’re back to where you were at the beginning. So hopefully you get a sense that all of that information, intelligence, growth and development can quite easily be broken.”