[dance-tech] Re: March-April Discussion forum on dance/performance and participation

  • From: Johannes Birringer <Johannes.Birringer@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "dance-tech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <dance-tech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 10 Apr 2015 14:05:49 +0000

Alexandre's most stimulating post raises a number of pertinent issues we could
discuss here, and I invite everyone warmly to respond, even if only briefly.

- First, yes, thank you for mentioning Claire Bishop's book on "Artificial
Hells" - any thoughts by those you have looked at current theores of
"relational art" or participatory performance? delegated performance,
"outsourced authenticity? "Bürgertheater"?
I think the book's width & depth, historically and conceptually, is rich; I
liked reading about Russian proletarian mass performances (Proletkult), factory
agit-prop, and so on, compared to dada, shock and insult tactics; happenings,
or thinkings wth the body ((c.f Simone Forti -- body-object improvisations,
shown recently at a great exhibit in Salzburg), etc. and the various western
avant-gardes you also mention (well, Soviet apt-art is another matter, back in
the 1980s, clandestine participation deserves more debate of course, as it
implies a more rigid state controlled/dictatorial "art" system or culture
system requiring/twisting other horizons of expectation, unlike the neoliberal
affluent first world capitalist art market where now museums can play at
performativities and invite the Tino Sehgals to hire, persuade and delegate
their "interpreters" to participate with us)..... But I looked and looked, and
did not find an explanation for what these "artifical hells" are? Then I
noted a citation from André Breton, where the term is from, where Breton speaks
of going beyond dada trying to scandalize the audience. "Scandal," he says, "
for all its force...would be insufficient to elicit the delight that one might
expect from an artificial hell" [p. 70] ??

-- your piece about the "ghost" of participation -- ghost stories -- seems a
brilliant idea, and of course I thought of Nilüfer's commentaries here, about
Jeannette's working through her memory of apartheid (and her first dancefilm
amnd her nudity getting forbidden), about the asymmetries mentioned here
earlier, in the ostensibly "democratic" mode of audience-participatory
engagement, community activism, Schlingensief-like provocations (the enlisting,
in the so-called citizen theatre, of real workers, refugees, illegal
immigrants, rape victims, social outcasts....)....

-- you then speak of: >>Choreography is understood both in our performance and
in the performances that inspired the stories in terms of body images,
behaviour of the audience, and relations between human beings as social
subjects. In the stories inevitably comes forth the illusory, utopian and
destructive character of participation.>>

yes, this was one of my fearful doubts, about the 'democratic' principle of
participation, namely that the " illusory, utopian and destructive character of
participation" breaks through; and then what do we make of our efforts to
prepare this or that immersive and engaging and multisensorial and cognitively
challenging atmosphere (here I want to come back later to the way in my lab
group's work we are exploring architectural and wearable ideas of what we call
"kimosphere"- asking whether a space can be shared, an environment listened to
without the anthropocenic tendency to make it succumb to be con-sumed)? when
does participation become a genre, or affirmative, or indeed destructive?
when is design coopting? what/who is being aligned?

-- and what are newly evolving understandings of "choreography" --- I believe
both Jeannette and Alexandre, but also others here -- Sandra please tell us
more about your dramaturgies -- have already made strides
towards a very expanded field of choreography, would you agree? (and please
remember expanded cinema, and expanded sculpture].

Johannes Birringer

[Alexandre Achour schreibt]

There are many different topics in your last email that are for me interesting
to discuss, you asked me about examples of participatory practices that were
radical and subversive, I can for sure talk to you about the examples that we
used for our own performance « Speaking about the ghost », but I’m also working
on a documentation of the research that we made in order to share it, so I will
make sure to share it on this platform as soon as I am done. In any cases, my
recommendation is the book « Artificial hell » by Claire Bishop.

The other question that I also find interesting to discuss is how to understand
those terms « radical » and « subversive ».

And lastly the notion of actualization also came up in your email Johannes,
which was also part of our own research process, can those past participatory
performances be still subversive nowadays? Do they still have the same
potential to move people?

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