[dance-tech] Post-structuralist Threads1: Posthuman-Postbody-Postself---Postcoreography

Hello all,



POSTHUMAN is one of these terms we need to speak about in a dance tech list, I 
think, especially since it is sometimes mentioned out of context and its 
potential meaning becomes blurry. Posthuman, as intended in the cyberfeminist 
tradition that has made popular its use has a very specific intention, as 
depicted in the Cyborg Manifesto of Donna Haraway, and the writings of Sandy 
Stone or Katherine Hayles, relates to a socialist, feminist, materialist 
critique full of irony and not at all utopian, in which the cyborg (which we 
all are) is used to question the foundations of the humanist subject, intended 
as a monolithic structure based upon a mind-body split, wherein the subject 
relies upon the naturalisation of the body and the strict nature vs. culture 
divide. The cyborg makes the division uncertain and the humanist subject 
falters together with all its architectures of normative discourse and thinking.

 

Other thinkers relate to posthuman in different senses, as, in Europe, 
Sloterdijk, and then there are such movements as the transhumanist, where 
posthuman acquires a notion of superhuman which is opposed to the intention of 
cyberfeminism, in my view, since cyberfeminists intended to avoid the rigid 
categorisations necessary for a project of superhumanity and its dangerous 
eugenics aftermaths.

 

Here is where the notion of POSTBODY comes in, though it has hardly been used 
and is therefore more open to new divergencies of meaning( as far as I know 
first mentioned by the  VNS Matrix 1996, «Nothing is Certain: Flesh, the 
Postbody and Cyberfeminism. VNS Matrix in conversation with Nora Nora 
Delahunty», in: Memesis. The Future of Evolution, Ars Electronica '96, eds. 
Gerfried Stocker and Christine Schöpf, Vienna/New York 1996, pp. 180-189.) 

 

POSTSELF has no well established references that I know of but it can be framed 
within this field. Both coincide with the collapse of notions of subjectivity, 
self and naturalised assumptions of corporeality that are brought in by the 
posthuman, and open up a field of new potentials for self, body and human.

 

And this is also the framework in which I use the term POSTCOREOGRAPHY myself 
in relation to my own work: Firstly, when you coreograph a posthuman body, or 
when in the context of new media you work with nearly illegible bodies, 
fragmentary, new kinds of bodies that cannot be framed under the humanist 
project of which dance is part of (as far as we understand dance in western 
traditions, for there can be no general concept for dance), then we can speak 
of postcoreography. Secondly in a transdisciplinary, transmedia context, where 
the écriture of coreography is being developed in between, in a frontier zone 
of feedbacks with the musical, visual and other forms of écriture in which 
novel forms of proprioception and cross-modal perception may be enacted, then 
we are transgressing the frontiers of the discipline of coreography, and indeed 
the established territories and anatomies of the body in a deeper sense.

 

In this respect I also speak of post-visual, post-musical and 
post-architectural.

 

I am using the terms in the context of my work Microdances_Antibodies of 
Surveillance. pictures, videos and texts online here (we are completing the 
information and will soon launch it) 
http://www.reverso.org/Morf4_MICRODANAS-PERF.htm --- but the theoretical 
frameworks are not to be understood as ground for, nor as based upon, the work, 
they emerge in feedback and constitute independent fields, what other modes of 
thinking regarding the work there may be I do not know.

 

 

So all these branches relate in different ways within the field of collapse of 
the contingent structures of our cultural traditions, knowledges, social 
structures and power, and we can work in between to create novel zones, bodies 
and architectures for new kinds of post-subjectivity.

 

 

In the following post I will continue commenting on other related fields, as 
queer, postporn, performativity and postperformativity.

 

all best

jaime




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