Contemporary Design

Saturday Night Fever by Lennart Engels

Filmed by Shanna Warocquier

This video exhibits a performance in which Lennart Engels approaches rock climbing as an artistic practice to expose the underlying creative processes that occur in the act.

The intimate relationship between a climber and the material environment are revealed through a performance in which the climber expresses himself through movements, materiality and mark making.

This project symbolizes the perpetuation of the special moments that occurred while conquering the boulder route ‘Saturday Night Fever’ in Soukka, Finland. The final artefact immortalizes the memories of that route, recreated in a synthetic environment through a careful analysis of that moment.

During rock climbing there are numerous body movements that come in to play: finding one’s center of gravity through coordinated actions in relation to the rock wall, as well as very specific finger-, toe- and foot movements. In these moments the climber develops the extent of his embodied knowledge; he thinks through synchronized actions rather than thinking directly with his mind.

Likewise, while climbing, the brain goes into a special problem-solving state that continues even after the act. This state of mind is somewhat closely connected to a genuine creative space in the creative process. In this creative space climbing can be perceived as ‘a choreographic craft’ in which specific movements, years of training and the manipulation of the rock surface result into a beautifully coordinated “dance” that can only be performed at specific locations and at specific times.

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