“Back Up” staged in its simplest mode. “To back up”: literally, to go backwards or go back in time, but also, in computer jargon, to save. It is with this double injunction that “Bribes”, Haïm Adri's trilogy dedicated to the workings of memory, finishes.As the third element of this triptych, “Back Up” investigates the problematic entanglement of the individual and the group in the collective memory of Israelis and Palestinians, irrevocably shaped by the history of territorial conflict. “Back Up” probes the great difficulty that exists in both Israel and Palestine in constructing an expression in words, a particular memory, in a political context where the collective issues at stake – “the community unconscious”, says Haïm Adri – tend to erode individual paths.
“Back Up” exists in two versions: one filmed, the other choreographed. For the film, finished in 2004, Haïm Adri took the time to let the memories of four Israelis and Palestinians (three women and a man) well up in the course of long interviews. Images and movements which sprang from this accompany their accounts, and the film transforms and transposes them. Each of the film's four sections therefore becomes the moment when one is born to oneself, with a simultaneous poetic emergence.
The choreographed “Back Up” starts with this material. The four performers (three women and a man) have allowed the memories, voices and gestures of the people filmed to resonate within them. They interweave these with their own stories and, in turn, distill and pass on a real-life experience. Completed during a creative residency at the Centre National de la Danse, the choreographic version leaves the question of space and the sharing territory painfully insistent. Moving around, approaching the other, meeting each other… These things are not at all simple or fluid. Each of the dancers is shut away within his or her own solitude, both protective and destructive at the same time. They are all struggling with their own suffering and rage.
Intense without being bombastic, “Back Up” bears witness to the fear, but also to the desire and urgency, felt by Palestinian artists when facing the prospect of working hand in hand. It is a matter of creating a common perspective, a place where sensitivities can be shared, where one is human before being political. In Israel and Palestine, such an intent immediately made “Back Up” a subversive piece. It was well received there from April 2005 onwards, but only outside the official circuits. This is why Haïm Adri chose to minimise “Back Up”'s staging and technical requirements. The show is light and flexible, so it can be adapted to all kinds of informal venues: cafés, showrooms, outdoor spaces… This “small scale” version of “Back Up”, inaugurated at the Centre National de la Danse, was succeeded in 2005 by a large-scale version suitable for European theatres and festivals.
Updating : March 2010