Felix Mathias Ott’s Odyssey Complex reflects a personal journey

Straddled between film and performing and installation, the Odyssey Complex is German choreographer Felix Mathias Ott’s playground where movement does all the talking. As a part of the Attakalari Biennial under the banner of Germany And India 2011 – 2012: Infinite Opportunities, Odyssey Complex is Felix’s first, big performance and he thought it was befitting for him to start at the beginning of dramaturgy with the Ulysses.

He stresses repeatedly, “It is not an adaptation or retelling of the Ulysses but rather an interpretation. I take the heroes journey and try to reflect my own,” and each person watching can interpret their own odyssey.

The performance began with a lecture of sorts before Felix dove into a surrealistic narration that visits all the little islands of aesthetics – film, performance and installation. “With the different media I only give the audience a picture from which they can conjure their own story – I don’t want to propose to them my odyssey.”

Felix was bitten by a tick, which lead to an infection which produced toxins and would get poisonous if he did not sweat it out. He has had a long history with theatre as his parents are actors and he was on stage two weeks after he was born, “I didn’t have a choice with acting, I liked it, I grew up with it. But my decision was to be a dancer because I was not able to rely on words alone and the only media I saw fitting was movement, I just had to dance – and now I am at a point where I need to stop interpreting and focus on my own work.”

Talking about the production, Felix says, “It is a classic but still so relevant today and is so contemporary at the moment with the trouble in Greece we look back at the society’s past and understand that all heroes have a journey, each day is a call for adventure and you come back with an experience.”

The dance is Felix’s experiment in exploration of an infinite object, a myth with which we all have infinite connections. And it navigates the narrative that has over the years entered people’s imaginations through their own experiences and reading, thus giving the performance a multifarious, open ended quality which becomes the foundation of the choreography.

“In Europe dance is a language that people don’t understand. It worries me that it might become an art bubble and we will lose connection with the spectators. Contemporary dance needs to reach a wider audience,” says Felix and the solution is not to simplify dance, “The audience is intelligent. We need to use pictures and poetry, make it interactive and go against conceptual dance.”