Five Questions for: Ant Hampton
Title/Occupation: Performance maker
1. Where did you grow up and how did you end up where you are now?
Right now i:m in _tokyo. weird keyboard, hence weird typos sometimes. I:m here because we:re doing _rotozaza:s Etiquette in Japanese. Working in different languages is important for 芽 me – i see it as a big reason why we’re able to travel so much with the work. I was born in Switzerland. My half sister lived in Paris all her life, and I fell in love with that city as a child. It was the first place I lived on my own (training at the Ecole Jacques Lecoq, 95 thru 97). After that all my friends were spread out over Europe and beyond. My roots began to define themselves as rootless. London is a good base because its a great place to leave, and strangely comforting to come back to.
2. Which performance, song, play, movie, painting or other work of art had the biggest influence on you and why?
Forced Entertainment’s ‘Pleasure’, 1998. and before that, a tiny production of Peter Handke:s Kaspar at Avignon, 1993 by Cie de Sablier. Both made me feel extremely uncomfortable for a while during the actual experience, but in a very urgent and somehow necessary way. The concerns behind both works were also beautifully expressed in different ways outside of the actual work, in FE’s case by Tim Etchell’s thoughts in the programme, and for Kaspar by an unforgettable public street intervention / experiment exploring the same issues as the play – the manipulation of the individual by the masses, language as a physical power / intertia. (When i eventually remade contact with the company 8 years later, it turned out they they were still doing this, in ever more sophisticated and interesting ways… )
3. What skill, talent or attribute do you most wish you had and why?
A little more patience, to be more patient.
4. What do you do to make a living? Describe a normal day.
There is no normal day. Everything is always changing. But for a while now I:ve been able to manage by making performance, either in/as Rotozaza, or with other solo projects, collaborations, jobs (eg a recent post as Dramaturg for Manifesta7 – manifesta7.it ). Etiquette is a show that can happen in different places at once. It has been a wonderful thing for Rotozaza, on a financial level as well as for the company’s general development.
5. Have you ever had to make a choice between work and art? What did you choose, why, and what was the outcome?
I’ve always made art, but its been hard work. The main thing has always been to make sure that the work is a pleasure. The moment the pleasure stops, something has to be wrong. I started Rotozaza with Silvia really with that one idea in mind – that if we:re going to work daily on something which demands so much on every level, which requires such risk and which turns our life into such a precarious balance, then it should be, at every possible turn, a pleasure. When we started RZ we joked with the concept of ‘Teatro Viziato’ – something like ‘theatre of the Spoilt Rotten’, in reaction to the whole idea of ‘no pain no gain’ physical theatre, Growtoski, etc, which was really doing our heads in (collaborations and group devised shows where sweat and tears seemed to be an end in itself..).