Today, we have invented thousands of ways to deceive ourselves. We tell ourselves little lies to keep going. We tell ourselves stories to entertain not just us but also others. We search for filters, construct moments, and go through life finely labelling everything. However, there is another dimension that, far from being on the other side of our screens, has been with us since the world began, rain was just wet, and time simply time. The digital world and the physical world can be at odds with each other. The movement director Marie Zechiel reconciles this in her new video, incorporating a great emphasis on the physical in a digital setting.
It is not my aim to get too philosophical. To bore you with complex thoughts that lead to multiple conclusions. It is my aim, my pleasure and my joy to present you a real philosopher, an artist of the body or as she defines herself, a movement director. Little words to define such a character. Marie Zechiel  is presenting us her last and breathtaking project, Skalae
Marie started to dance because she envisioned and felt movement in everything around her. And we are for that so grateful. She sharply claims that our bodies should not be an unloved piece of furniture (I can't love this idea more, Marie should also be a writer) but our most vital anchors. 
And her interview is pure gold. Zechiel has the ability of knitting her thoughts like a new Minerva. And the quotes she gave help us to understand her latest and stunning dance piece. In her own words “Skalae is a little universe I created in the shape of a futuristic fashion-dance-film […] It is my tribute to the profound beauty within the journey towards genuine self-connection and harmonious engagement with the world around us”.  Hello divine Marie Zechiel! Your body just simply talks!
Hola Marie! It's a pleasure to have the opportunity to interview you. We always start with a brief introduction. For all the readers who might not yet be familiar with Marie Zechiel, I’d like you to describe yourself using a metaphor. For example: I am a dancer because I felt that the toes of my feet started to fly before I could even walk.
Hola Jesús, the pleasure is all mine! Not an easy one to start with. But what about: I am a movement director and physical narrator because I constantly envision and feel movement in everything around me – even stillness.
Great! And now, why dance? And since when? When did your vocation arise?
I never made a deliberate decision to choose dance, but it somehow chose me. I was always dancing, moving, performing as a small child and started taking ballet classes when I was five years old. Dancing became the essence of my expression and I chose to follow my gut feeling in becoming a professional dancer. I encountered some physical limitations in my body structure early on and realised that I have to become highly creative and skilled to survive in the contemporary dance world. It also taught me not to compare myself to others, because I had to find my own way and style.
Digging a little into you, I've seen that you also define yourself as a performer, choreographer, and movement director. I love it! Tell me, how do these three disciplines differ and where do they find their common ground?
The essence of all three disciplines is movement - the most authentic and universally understandable way of expression for me to genuinely channel all of my artistic visions. As a performer I always transform myself into a different organism or entity to reach a certain aesthetic or goal based on the artistic direction by using movement as my tool and my very own habitat. My interest grew to apply the same principles also onto different bodies. So I started to translate my knowledge into choreography for trained dancers.
Over the recent years my prospection got broader and I started looking more into media and show productions outside of the dance world. After many personal projects in this field, I am now getting hired frequently to coach more or less untrained bodies on stage and in film to manifest a certain emotion or aesthetic through movement and posture in my work as movement director.
What is interesting to me is, that so many different movement universes exist: gender, species, age, epochs, elements, and many more. I am pioneering the work of a movement director in Berlin and Germany for some time now. My dedication seems to pay off as directors and production companies now frequently seek my expertise as a movement director to enhance their shootings and stage productions.
And well, after this warm-up (me and my dance metaphors), let’s finally talk about your latest project. You’re going to premiere Skalae. Congratulations! A project with a lot energy and  strength from what I've seen. Tell us, what is Skalae?
Skalae is a little universe I created in the shape of a futuristic fashion-dance-film and brought to life in collaboration with talented creatives from Berlin. It stands as my tribute to the profound beauty within the journey towards genuine self-connection and harmonious engagement with the world around us.
How did the project come about?
Interestingly this project wasn’t planned long ahead. I do have a couple of concepts for site-specific performances and film concepts ready but Skalae didn’t exist until I stumbled over the location while location scouting for another project of mine. I quickly talked to my core team, director I am Johannes and DoP Maxim Westermann and we decided to add a shooting day to shoot Skalae as a second project. This kicked off my artistic inception of Skalae and from that moment on I couldn’t stop thinking about this project and hardly slept for some nights because my brain was overwhelmed with all my imaginations and planning in how to bring all of it together to create a final and cohesive piece.
Can you tell us a bit more about the name of the project - what is Skalae?
Skalae is latin for scale which acts as a metaphor for the delicate emotional and physical balance we are all trying to achieve throughout our existence. Over time, I've come to realise that this perpetual quest for balance is a general theme in my art and this topic is present in all my works to varying degrees.
I've read that it generally revolves around the question of - What is real and what is not? - Do you think we have reached a point where we are questioning (with all the technological advances) the reality that surrounds us? Or on the contrary, has this debate always existed?
I think on a philosophical level this exciting question did always exist but due to the digital advances it became rather prominent in our every-day lives. I absolutely do love creating (physical) illusions and technology continuously opens up new universes in doing so. But I really think one should never loose touch to ones true mental and physical self. Real or authentic already did become a designation for a specific kind of quality: something that soothes us and brings us back to our roots. Realness is needed to calibrate ourselves and to re-gain perspective which helps us to avoid loosing ourselves in (digital) imagination. For me as a performance artist, my core goal in my work is authenticity which also became my principle of faith in life.
Will the body and its movements in space be what anchor us in the near future to reality?
I think, it will anchor us physically, yes. But you can emotionally detach almost completely from your body and once your real physique starts to become only some sort of necessary but unloved furniture for you, I see high risks for mental health issues. True relationships, with others and with yourself, always require maintenance. And thus, as our bodies become vital anchors in an increasingly digitalised future, we need to start listening more carefully to what they are telling us.
Does the body also deceive?
I love that question but - No, I don’t think so. The way our bodies are build is so ancient. I do think they hold so much wisdom, which we are consciously not aware of anymore. I am highly trained in connecting with my body (as every professional dancer is) and even I am clueless sometimes on which imbalance my body tries to shine light on. But that’s because we as a society have over centuries unlearned physical wisdom in many ways and instead built a fully rational system which our humble bodies subordinate to.
How do you feel about premiering Skalae with METAL? What would be your dream achievement in terms of people's reaction to it?
I am very excited to finally being able to share this work, and METAL is the perfect channel for this release: my artistic style combines an assortment of disciplines and my work always examines and interrogates the ugly as well as the beautiful, but always with a very fashionable aesthetic. When it comes to audience’s reactions, I love it to start thought processes in human minds - looking beyond the surface of a beautiful looking piece of work and start thinking about the abysses that may lay underneath and start reflecting those within oneself.
Is there anyone in particular you'd like to mention or thank who has accompanied you in a special way on this fantastic journey?
That would definitely be the director of Skalae: I am Johannes. He is not only a highly skilled director with all the technical knowledge and story-telling skills, but a huge support throughout my entire artistic journey. Having someone who I can consult with on aesthetic and productional decisions, who is asking the right (sometimes uncomfortable) questions and moreover always supports and believes in me, is priceless. I am truly grateful for our connection!
And finally (what a pity!) Do you have more projects in sight? Where will we be able to see you this year?
Excitingly, my previous dance-film, A Myriad Mind, has been selected as a finalist for Dance Film of the Year, with the prestigious award ceremony set to take place in LA later this month.
I'm thrilled to be collaborating with fashion Label DSTM and 3D artist, Harriet Davey. Together, we're exploring the intersection of fashion and digital art, pushing their boundaries and forging new paths in the creative landscape. I'm also finalising an exciting photo project alongside photographer Shari Annabelle Marks. In the realm of film, my next dance-film is already in post-production. It's been an exciting journey bringing this project to life, and I can't wait to premier it later in 2024. Additionally, I'm diving into the realm of site-specific works. These ventures represent a new chapter in my artistic journey and I'm passionate about placing performance art in unconventional settings.
So there will be many opportunities where you can catch me and my work this year and I am always happy about new chances and connections in any field. Thank you, dear Jesús. It was a real pleasure talking to you.
Jacket ARMANI Vintage, trousers DIESEL, shoes and jewelry Marie’s own.