SODA Works 2020
The publication encourages transversal readings and can be interpreted as a companion to the work of the SODA year group 2018-2020. During the two year process, the students were invited to critically challenge, reflect and develop their artistic practice.
The publication encourages transversal readings and can be interpreted as a companion to the work of the SODA year group 2018-2020. During the two year process, the students were invited to critically challenge, reflect and develop their artistic practice.
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AWARENESS 2 / 10
AGENCY 6 / 8 / 22
ALGORITHM 6 / 8 / 22
AMBIGUITY 17 / 25
AUTHENTICITY 10 /
18 / 22
BODY 10 / 14 / 18 / 26
CIRCUS 2 / 18
CHOREOGRAPHY 8 /
15 / 20
CODE 6 / 22
/ 9 / 10 / 17 / 20 / 22
CONDITION 2 / 15
CONSCIOUSNESS 2 /
10 / 26
DEEP LISTENING 26
DANCE 2 / 7 / 8 / 12 /
14 / 20
DRIVE 2 / 10
DICHOTOMY 17 / 25
DISTANCE 2 / 7 / 22
EMBODIMENT 2 / 10 /
15 / 18
ETHERIC ENERGY 2 /
10 / 28
FAMILIARITY 10 / 25
FIELD 10 / 15
FLOW 2 / 10
GAME 21 / 22
GAP 13 / 16
HOSTING 21 / 22
IMAGINATION 2 / 18
IMPROVISATION 2 /
6 / 12 / 14 / 20 / 22 /
27 / 28
INTIMACY 2 / 10 / 18
INTUITION 3 / 12 / 14
JUXTAPOSITION 9 /
10 / 17 / 25
LANDSCAPE 2 / 8
LIMINAL 10 / 25 / 26
MAGIC 4 / 10
NONSENS 2 / 25
OPENING 2 / 10 / 15
PRESENCE 2 / 12 / 25
PROCESS 6 / 8 / 12
REAL-TIME 2 / 12
RELATIONALITY 12 /
18 / 25
RECOGNITION 12 / 25
RITUAL 3 / 13 / 14 / 20
SCALE 9 / 24
SELF 13 / 18 / 22
SILENCE 16 / 27 / 28
SOLO 2 / 6 / 8 / 12 / 14
/ 22 / 26
SOUND 12 / 20 / 26
SPACE 7 / 14 / 26
SPECTRUM 2 / 24
SPECULATION 2 / 22
STATE / STATES 10 /
15 / 24 / 27 / 28
STORY-TELLING 2 /
SYSTEM 8 / 22
TRUST 16 / 21
TUNING 12 / 15
“Henceforth the writer [dancer, performer, artist, spectator] is immersed in multilinguism,
which does not mean that he necessarily speaks or writes in different
languages, but that the language and the culture of other languages and cultures,
are always there in their multiple resonances, indispensable, and infusing his own
cultural expression, in one way or another.”
Bernadette Cailler on Édouard Glissant: Journal of French and Francophone Philosophy 19/1, 2011: 145.
This publication comes with a glossary index on its front cover: an unfinished list
and collection of terms and ideas resisting completion - always to be revisited. Some
words might feel familiar, others less so. Either way, during the artistic research and
working processes of Kuba Borkowicz, Bernardo Chatillon, Jorge De Hoyos, Jason
Corff, Ana Lessing Menjibar, Minna Partanen and Rhyannon Styles these words
have gained momentum and been repeatedly identified with increasing specificity
and in this iteration, accompany their final performance presentations for the MA
program. Although the glossary and its alphabetic arrangement might suggest
order, an overview or some kind of proven expertise, much of what it references
lies in between its terms, best experienced fully through physical explorations,
choreographed and improvised movement and embodied experience, focused
theoretical encounters and incommensurable speculations, via small-scale, latent
details of the everyday or strolling the streets together and gathering around food
and drinks. To approach this, the publication encourages transversal readings. It
is more of a companion to the work than a documentation of the two year process
which invites students from diverse backgrounds and disciplines to critically challenge,
reflect and develop their artistic practice. Accompanying those individual
technical and theoretical skills brought into an academic setting, in dialogue with
an international community of peers and teachers.
While the focus of the MA SODA program is on the specific, individual
body and movement-based performative practices of all participants, it also
seeks to provide and open up a collective learning and research environment. The
philosopher Édouard Glissant, in conversation with filmmaker Manthia Diawara,
speaks of the necessity to “consent not to be a single being.” 1 His phrase, however,
does not claim consensus and normative imagination, actions, values or rules. It
is not about hasty alignments and quick declarations of sharing and complicity.
Rather, it encourages us – artists, thinkers, audiences and citizens – to question
ever anew what brings and holds our individual bodies together, and what tears
them apart: what defines a body’s singularity while acknowledging its manifold
perceivable and non-perceivable bonds and commitments to the contexts and surroundings
in which it is embedded and in dialogue? The question of how to open
up in our individual dances, performances and writings – which the conversation
at the end of this publication addresses - considers alternative and collective ideas
of agency and responsibility immanently bound to moving, thinking bodies. In
Glissant’s terms, seeking to access a “poetics of relation” 2 , which navigates the
challenge of not reducing other bodies, the body of the other, to existing models
of that which we are ready to recognize.
NOT TO BE A
THOUGHTS FOR THE
1 Édouard Glissant and
Manthia Diawara: „One
World in Relation,“
trans. by Christopher
Winks. Journal of
Art (2011, 4-19).
2 Édouard Glissant:
Poetics of Relation,
trans. by Betsy Wing
(Ann Arbor: University
of Michigan Press 1997).
Sandra Noeth for the team of the MA SODA
Prof. Rhys Martin (program leader), Sophia New, Prof. Dr. Sandra Noeth
CHATILLON WHO AM I?
Embodiment does not
have to do with my human
body but with the
my body and other bodies,
they are made from.
Imagination and ideas
are embodied when we
give them a shape, that
is what making staged
pieces is about.
The experience of being Bernardo is a fractal. Dance is an intermediate space for
this fractal to emerge. All intermediate spaces are possible spaces to live in, invisible
and visible. My intermediate space is based on what I experience in life. In my
dance there are uncomfortable places; my dance is about paranoia, manipulation,
violence between bodies, sex, fear, complexes, shame, terror, loneliness, panic, a lot
of panic attacks, a lot of food to hide the pain and the crying, despair, my mother, my
father, my grandparents, uncles, cousins, the neighbors around my neighborhood,
the courtyard, heroin, blood, knives, weapons, television at lunch, television at
dinner, television at breakfast, Jean Claude Van Damme, Sylvester Stallone, Arnold
Schwarzenegger, DJ Quicksilver, Freddy Krueger, sad meals, policemen, Brazilian
soap operas and trying hard to be a good skater, trying hard to ride a bike on only
one wheel, trying hard to do sports, trying to be good at something, working, working
to have money at McDonald’s, falling in love, falling in love, falling in love, love
sometimes allowed and forbidden, a lot of fantasies, real danger, moments of death,
some scandals, moments of clearness, inspiration, a lot of strength, motivation, until
now -- this moment, where I believe is the place I project the plays where I make
the future, the plays where I own the narrative, I shape, I own and I create. I am a
consciousness having the experience of being Bernardo.
what happens 24 hours
a day. Improvisation
is always happening
even when we follow
habits and patterns, it
is the breath of fresh
air, the key for us to
become witnesses of
our actions, it gives us
agency. If we notice we
are always improvising
we may understand
that we can change the
course of our actions.
Improvisation is eradicated
by political and
economic structures of
power: the possibility of
citizens realizing they
can change the way
they follow systems
WHERE DO I COME FROM?
Imagine you go to a place where you are asked what is most relevant and important
to you. This is SODA. Then you are asked to show answers to these questions and
explain how you found them. This is also SODA.
So, how can I access, show and translate an idea and concept that is so ingrained
in layers and layers of habits of speech, thought and movement? How can I dig
through those layers to uncover the answers? In this process of digging I have
revealed a part of me that creates stimuli and generates questions that give me
new options to reflect on what I say or do. These reflections make me critical of my
means of expression. The possibility to have time for self-criticism and -reflection is
a candy, a present, a privilege. What have I done with this? I returned to my origins,
back to my family. To the smile of my grandfather when he did magic tricks for
us. What was this childhood aura that made me feel alive and connected? It was
an environment of magic, and when I said this word I started to think about what
is magic, what is this concept and as it emerged in me I was reminded of the way
in which I entered the dance studio: as if there were two different worlds, one I
inhabited as a child and a new one there in the studio, of rehearsal and practice.
But they are not separated...
During my time at SODA, I went home to see my grandfather
and he asked me what I was doing in Berlin. I told him that I go to the studio and
there I am a kind of scientist looking for ways to speak about the world and my
experiences, ways of relating with people and making dance pieces. For example,
I believe that in the future people will be able to fly so I go to the studio and
I try to fly in the studio. And my grandmother says, “You are crazy just like your
grandfather with all that stuff about magic and tricking people.” But it’s true. I
go to the studio, I stand still and don’t move for an hour and then strange things
start to happen. “See, that’s witchcraft!” “No, but if you stop that fork with food
on the way to your mouth don’t you start feeling things? That’s what I do in the
studio. I wait for it to tell me things.” And my grandfather says, “That’s like when
I am making magic tricks and people are waiting for something to happen and
try to understand what is the trick.” “Yes, but in my case when I go to the studio
I trick myself into waiting for the magic to happen and then I try to repeat these
experiments and show them to the people in school.”
This is what I am doing when I work with concepts of real-time
composition and improvisation in my work: I read the space and the audience so
that I can react and create my tricks on stage. My grandfather knows the tricks he
will do, but he always has to contextualize them, which has to do with reading the
audience and the space. What interests him is to insert dynamics into the space and
to activate it. As if he is orchestrating and modulating the space through his voice
and movements. When I go to the studio I work with movement, words, time and
space of the studio to create my magic trick, my piece. When I explained this to my
grandfather, he asked,“That’s all very good, but how can you be sure that you will
produce in the audience that moment when they get amazed, like when I reveal
that the toothpick they broke isn’t really broken?” “I don’t know yet...”
WHERE AM I GOING?
· Don’t get lost in the map.
· Easy Going Going Easy
· Intuition and free association are the grounds for my process.
· Everything is visible and part of the stage, audience included.
There is no way to exit.
· The project asks for the medium. The content asks for the form.
· Real-time composition is just one possibility.
· Improvisation is a political weapon.
· Giving attention is a process of civilization.
· The aim is always different.
· Studio practice affects the real and the logical.
· Words serve to distract and confuse: use this in your favor to find
what is already there.
· Words serve to focus and clarify: use this in your favor to find
what is already there.
· Seek satisfaction. The satisfaction with yourself, the world, reality.
a practice that disrupts
and dismantles perception.
This rupture grants
access to other ways of
gathering and generating
knowledge of the
world as a complex and
non-linear entity. The
body knows the world is
not as linear as it is portrayed,
so it accumulates
pressure and tensions,
as it faces the conflict
from different perceptions.
work is a way to develop
rituals that acknowledge
both the world and time
as non-linear paths.
This is the source of all inspiration and the impulse to create.
· Seek dissatisfaction. The dissatisfaction with yourself, the world, reality.
This is the source of all inspiration and the impulse to create.
· All spaces have their mysterious zones. But if we enter spaces as a tourist,
we do not have access to the mysteries of these zones.
· Rituals give structure; structures are endless.
· Technique is what allows me to continue independent from motivation.
· It is time to return to oral tradition.
· No one taught me how to walk, I copied a vertical template.
· No one will teach me how to levitate, I need a levitating template.
· Beware of sleeping and waking up.
· Remember to recall or revisit moments where I have experienced Magic.
· Use suggestion and visualization as generative tools.
· Create a glossary for each creation.
· Work with invisible collectives.
· The topic - the visualization - the experience - the repetition - the frame.
· Choreographic memory is a thermometer to see if we were present
during a research process.
· Waiting is a tool, but it can also be something else.
· Music and objects work when you are not dependent on them to keep
the energy you search for in your dance.
· A solo is a duet that becomes a familiar monologue between generational
layers of the body.
· What do you eat, what do you think, what do you say before and after
you go into research?
· My generation is experiencing an era of perceived and non-perceived crises...
I want to work on a non-perceived crisis. How do I manifest this?
WHAT AM I DOING HERE?
I am looking for a place with people that believe the world is beyond what we
see and that there is a lot of artistic, political and social work to do between the
visible and the invisible. I want to find this place, so that together we can access
these worlds that are not logical or practical or clear. In order to do this, I am creating
practices through which I can access insights that help me shape and refine
intuitive processes. This is one example, where for three days I sat in my room
working with CA Conrad’s somatic writing exercises.
que não há
O gordo nos
uma linha mais
o braço a
os dois no mesmo
estão a rodar
um Laço na
sou filho de
as coisas merecem
As coisas merecem
eu sou todos menos
a dança em
o que me
Á imagem do que podias
abro a porta
vou à volta
pela chapa do
o cheiro da cozinha
a minha lingua
desenrola-se as patas
assumo a forma
acelerado vou ao
No menu do teu estomago,
a minha cara
o que esperas ser
as botas que tu
a tua cara
entre as narinas uma
livros atrás de
os anos que
atras de mim
a minha avó na cozinha
o que tu
e mesmo assim
o bom nosso de cada
de cima a
o amor deixa as
monto em cavalos e
Agora que te
O que te deram
faz-se em ti
perto de voar
se saíres por onde
Na maçã as
poema de rua
até me olhares nos
agora que me
o que se sabe
é isto que se
nada se forma
sem dar as
um x que se
promete a tua
sou e sei
A stochastic process, a
system of rules that can
be used as a predictive
technology. One system
that allows its user to
know an outcome or at
least have a semblance
of an outcome before a
process is undertaken.
Mask for information
to hide importance,
intention and meaning.
A code is its own language,
a way something
understood by one is
communicated to others.
A code’s reader could
decipher meaning different
from what its maker
intended. In this case,
a message could be
skewed or reinterpreted.
It could be broadened; it
could be narrowed.
Excerpt from a transcribed conversation with self while moving.
09.09.19 11:05 N 52˚ 33’ 11.693” E 13˚ 22’ 36.891”
Here. Arrival. Here. Here is a closed system. Here is a location. Here is definitively
different from there. Here can be defined by what it is not. Not far away. Not in
the past. Not in the future. Here. Here can be shown with coordinates. Here. It
can be shown with time. Here. Meaning more than coordinates. Meaning more
than a moment. Because here indicates presence. Here could be shelter. Here
could be food. Here might be what you find or what you need. Here includes you.
Here indicates you have arrived. Here is no longer there.
Arrival. Arrival is a point in space with meaning. Arrival is an
intentional location. You are aware you have arrived when you can say, “I am here.”
Here. Begin. Arrival is not just here. Arrival indicates now. You cannot arrive at a
place unless you intend to be there. You cannot arrive unless you arrive early, late,
or on time. You have arrived. Your destination becomes a point of arrival. Here.
You have arrived when your presence, your awareness, enters a point in space.
At that point and that moment, space becomes place. Place has meaning because
you define it through your presence. That point in space is here. Arrival. Arrival
is a stopping. Arrival is an end. Arrival always involves here. Always.
Because here is a point in space, because here is a point with
meaning, always here becomes place. Here is where intention leads. A point of
arrival. So here is linked to time. Here is the endpoint of a journey. Here is defined
space. Here is a closed system. And here is fleeting. Here cannot stay. When you
step away from here, your understanding of here shifts.
Here. There. Not here.
The difference between here and there: between here and not
here is not here always represents a loss. Not here is never present. Not here is
unattainable. It’s unreachable, forever behind you, and forever in front.
You can never say, “I am not here”, but if you know where it is
that you are not, you will always know you are here, that you have arrived. Here
is the present tense. Here is a moment in time, always now.
A walking score sends you into the landscape. A walking score
prejudges distance. A walking score determines your journey, your expedition,
your there. But a walking score relies on you to recognize when you are here,
when you have arrived. It is your endpoint that has meaning and your endpoint
that you carry at all times. Your sense of here, your sense of now, your sense of a
different closed system.
Arrival. Here. Begin.
We think of distance in
terms of both space and
time. To cross distance
requires a journey, a
measurement, to understand
you have traveled
from here to here. Distance
is a gap that contains
the entirety of this
journey. Distance can be
measured, but it cannot
rightly be predicted
because distance holds
experience yet to be.
Walking Score, No. 2
A survey of the space
before us. Landscape
Landscape is a habited
can be traversed. A
landscape can be
familiar or it can be
alien, but a landscape is
always known to Some.
To others it may need
to be found or experienced,
but to Some it is
What you will need:
1 deck of Tarot cards
1 landscape to explore (e.g., city, plaza, park, orchard, living room, etc.)
1. Shuffle the Tarot deck thoroughly. As you shuffle, ask yourself “What shall I
focus on as I walk?”, or use a similar phrasing that resonates more strongly
2. When you have finished shuffling the cards, place them in front of you.
3. Select the top card and turn it over.
4. Focus on the details in the imagery of the card. Rely on either your preexisting
knowledge of Tarot or a guide such as one included with the deck, contained
in A Complete Guide to the Tarot by Eden Gray, on a website, etc. to familiarize
yourself with the meaning of the card.
5. Note the number of the card (e.g., 7 of Wands, card 9 [The Hermit], etc.). For
non-numbered cards, use 11 for a Page, 12 for a Knight, 13 for a Queen, and
14 for a King. This number will become the number of decimal places of π to
use for the next section of this score.
Example: Card 14 [Temperance]- an achievement of mental balance,
adaptation, coordination, modification. Successful combinations.
π is calculated to 14 decimal places at 3.14159265358979
6. Each digit of π will determine how many units you will walk before making
a turn. A turn can range from 0˚-360˚. This choice is yours, either as a firm
decision to make prior to beginning your walk or in the midst of the structure.
Turns will alternate right and left with each successive digit.
7. Decide what will constitute one unit for the walk you are about to begin. One
unit could be one city block, one paving stone, the duration of one song you
listen to on headphones, etc.
8. Begin the walk when you are ready. If the number of the card you selected
was even, begin your walk by turning to the right. If the number was odd,
this first turn is to the left.
9. During the walk, give thought to the meaning of the card you selected.
10. When you finish walking the units prescribed by your calculation of π, pause
and observe your surroundings. Take a photograph of what you see.
On occasion, you might find you cannot walk the necessary number of units
because of an obstruction or because the path in front of you ends. If this
occurs, ricochet your trajectory off that endpoint and continue to count units
until the next determined turn.
A means to define this
as that. Scale creates
proportion to help a
new learner grasp the
iconography of a space
or a place. Scale is
necessary for navigation,
indicating that you
have come this far, this
high. Scale insists what
you see is not what is.
Scale insists there is
more, there is less.
Photos © Effy Grey
Risk on potato bag #2
by Alessandro Ubirajara
Nothing exists in
isolation to itself. Every
thing has a relationship
to other things and
finds its constitution
In terms of performance,
the act of
in real-time to internal
and external impulses
and shaping these
responses so as to
share with an audience.
The public space where
intuition gains a body.
A state of existence
the repeated process
of incorporating an
“other” into a self, and
vice versa. This process
implies an expansion of
one’s understandings of
Alessandro and I met at a Berlin sex club where we immediately entered into a
committed boyfriend relationship from the moment we made each other orgasm
until around 8am the next morning—one of the most erotic nights I’ve ever had.
After this 11-hour, polyamorous partnership, we didn’t see each other until riding
on the S-Bahn a year later. We didn’t become regular friends until even months
after that. Now, having grown very close, Alessandro mentioned how a deep,
inner-guidance insisted that he must get to know me that night. I remember our
attraction…not just sexual but some-cosmic-thing else that leaves a distinct impression,
the feeling of which is specifically easy for me to recall. It feels like the
bitter taste of semen and carbonated beer being washed away and swallowed by
a soothing, ravenous tongue. It feels like recognizing.
As my visual arts collaborator, I asked him to contribute an image
that reflects and gives insight into my ongoing research on presence: how can I be
more deeply grounded in my body so as to improvise dance performance at my
fullest capacities—to not overthink so as to allow my intuition to lead the dancing?
The work demands releasing control of rational decision-making procedures so as
to allow whatever is inside of me or wanting to come through me to gain physical
expression into legible form.
I was explaining, “In general, but also specifically for the final
presentation, I want to be dancing so open and full of vitality so that my spirit can
be free and I can embody and satisfy all the passions and desires. You know, like
Billy Elliot who later becomes the beautiful Swan...” With a knowing look he said,
“I have something that is you. I will send.”
There is an inherent violence in expanding beyond borders, in
entering territories defined in relationship to oneself as “other”. This process
entails confrontation, a struggle for dominion. In the context of becoming more
grounded as a dancer to perform at an expanded capacity, this struggle takes place
in the realm of the self and is largely a matter of recognition. Recognition is here
understood by the fact that borders demarcating a sense of oneself as separate
from an “other” are always changing and that, through a continuous tug-of-war,
processes of incorporation and growth occur as one side eventually cannibalizes
the other. The “other” becomes the self, and vice versa. Recognition, therefore, is
a repeated process of incorporation. It means to expand one’s definitions of what
constitutes one’s self to include otherness. The violence inherent in this process
emerges from the precondition of ongoing struggle, and the violence intensifies
and gains sharp teeth when this process is resisted.
I initially resisted Alessandro’s painting—a screaming figure masturbating
as a demonic shadow looks on. I feared to recognize it as the accurate
and insightful reflection of my research that I now consider it to be. Upon first
encounter, my stomach clenched as if trying to stabilize an internal breach, as if
clenching could prevent something personal and valued from cracking. Yes, the
image could relate to the human-to-swan transformation story with which I was
initially identifying, but it was the nightmarish, “other” black swan version that had
manifested like an intruder. I felt momentarily seized in suspension between my
resistance and an impending sense of destabilization. The violence in this uncanny
confrontation felt like the instinct to defend myself or seek refuge. Have I been
understanding myself and my research in an entirely wrong way, foolish and even
immoral? Have I naively opened myself up too much, leaving me susceptible to
a demonic takeover or an eternal hell of serving relentlessly throbbing passions?
At stake was a sense of personal power…am I now lost?
Of all the fears I experience while dance improvising in front
of others, getting lost is the strongest and the most recurring. It happens when
I worry: Am I really present? Will I look ridiculous if I follow that feeling? Am I
being interesting enough? Such thoughts create a mind-body split, and in this gap
between intuitive impulse and physical action, time goes missing. I become confused
and fearful and lose orientation leaving me vulnerable to the rampage of internal
voices. What results is that my spirit, for fear of demise, seems to evacuate my
body while my physical remains proceed to operate along habitually programmed
movement pathways, like a machine on autopilot—unresponsive. Dancing like this
feels from the inside like a waking rigor mortis. A body somehow survives but at
the cost of the quality of life.
Grounding my energy has become my main area of inquiry and
practice to keep re-finding myself in my body and, in the process, to revitalize
it. Breathing deeply, for example, is one of the everyday tools I use to dissolve
stiffness—stiffness as in freezing into pre-defined patterns, as in becoming slave
to the tyrannical penis-passions depicted in the painting, as in not moving freely.
Breathing, a main way of grounding, helps me dissolve internalized obstructions
so as to cultivate my intuition.
Confronting Alessandro’s painting, I breathe deeply to dissolve
my resistance to recognizing how something so true and revealing about me--my
desires, dreams and questions--stands naked, reflected and immaculately transparent
to my perception.
As the spiritual teacher Caroline Myss explains: “Every time you
learn something that is more accurate, more authentic, or true than what you
were just believing, you crack open a little bit. In that moment of cracking open,
you become very vulnerable because you know that the world you were just living
in is gone. It evaporates in front of your eye. Just like that” (Myss 2019).
Billy Elliot. Directed by Stephen Daldry. Universal City, CA: Universal Studios, 2001.
Myss, Caroline. (2019). Understanding Your Own Power – Enchantment 2018. [YouTube Lecture]
Available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zeY_SmJafSQ&t=203s [Accessed 14 Sep. 2019]
Ubirajara, Alessandro. Risk on potato bag #2. 2015, Berlin.
a conglomerate of different
vying for dominion over
a physical body. A constant
process of seeking
harmony between the
voices in the mind.
Having a background in flamenco dance,
design and visual arts, in my studies at
SODA I started to investigate the limits of
the genre of flamenco, exploring its transformative
potential within contemporary
performance practice; looking specifically
at its dramaturgical structure; interrelated
rhythms; emotional and energetic
states and movement qualities.
Experimenting with a cultural legacy
archived within my body.
True to Joseph Beuys’ motto “Show your
wound,” flamenco for me is an artform
based on a collective agreement to listen
to a single body’s wound. You merge with
the other, you become the other. “Sensing
is sharing” (Arno Böhler 2019). This collective
agreement about sharing and sensing
transforms pain into energy, empowerment
and even joy. The performance
as a collective emotional and energetic
journey, or perhaps even a ritual?
Between the ecstatic and formal
investigation I open this archive to
reveal a series of states, creatures and
concepts of spaces. This collective
journey includes: a digital and
energetic feedback loop, a vulnerable
dialogue of inner and outer bodily
sounds and rhythms in a hybrid space
somewhere between installation and
the black box theatre.
is polyhedral, - morph,
- metric. A process of
shaping, sculpting and
Different styles exist in flamenco, and
each has a specific topic and structure.
Some are dedicated to joy, playfulness or
sorrow. These styles are built on a shared
knowledge of structure, fragments, rules
and signs that form a language of communication
for improvisation. This collective
knowledge has been transmitted
over generations from one body to another.
I am interested in analysing one
such structure and its fragments. With
their interrelated meanings, functions,
rhythms and physicalities, I can create my
own interpretation of the form.
A methodology to isolate a vocabulary.
The first step of my research was to analyse
a flamenco structure by asking: How
is it composed? Why is it constructed like
Transition from something personal to
Methods & Strategies.
Body, space and sound.
goes beyond the limits of the
Order and disorder.
this? What does it provoke in the body?
I conducted this research from the perspective
of a moving body, as I wanted a
better understanding of the choreographic
decision-making processes behind it.
This investigation made me aware of the
strategies and methods of composition and
made me recognize and articulate procedures
and processes that have so far run
rather unconsciously through my body. I
divided the traditional structure into acts
or fragments and formulated my own titles
and interpretations derived from their primary
functions within the whole.
is the fraternal,
orphaned twin of chaos.
There exists no order
To open a collective field.
Being in the moment.
The vulnerable body.
Empowered body, calling for change.
Body as a source and holder of sound
Technical transfer of the involved
Inner meets outer world.
Share your wound.
Receiving, reading and processing.
Sonic, energetic and emotional circuit
as an impulse generator.
Bringing into being.
Opening a door, to step in is about a
body that tunes into a space and an emotional
state. Coming together. The act of
merging, of immersion.
The call serves to draw attention, to raise
the pace and intensity with the intention
to provoke a change, in order to conclude
and begin a new part of the choreography.
All the tension and energy the body
has absorbed erupts and spreads into the
space, saying, “Here I am!”
Fight and Poesis. The body as a polymorphic
space & the space as a polymorphic
field. This fragment is an emotional
and poetic part where the body tunes
into a collective agreement to channel,
discharge and transform energy and express
emotions in the form of a dialogue.
An emotional, energetic and rhythmic
feedback loop. The body has the responsibility
to listen, to hold, to stimulate the
Digital manipulation and multiplier of field and to react to provocation through
is a condition in a
specific time and place.
State is a condition
without awareness of
any specific time and
Provocation. A stimulation where the
body pushes the energy level up to produce
a climax. Leadership that guides the
group toward an explosive moment. It is
the body’s decision as to which curve of
energetic development is produced. The
body is in full control and simultaneously
in an explosive state. The others follow
the body. This increase ends in a collective
final point. A closure. A discharge
followed by silence.
digitally reproduced and
Insistent and uncanny.
Intimacy and show.
Tenderness and brutality.
Noise. Deep bass tones.
Interruption and Eruption.
I know when it starts
but I don’t know when
it ends. An interregnum.
A past event disappears
with a new one not yet
in sight. It is the space
between events in relation
to time. A space for
Un silencio. Pero no el silencio.
Silence. A collective silence is a moment
like a crossroad, and you don‘t know
where you are going or who is going next.
This moment is full of tension and suspense.
It gives space for a decision-making
Reconnection. A space for a softer, more
permeable body, moving without resistance
or fight. Here, the body can give
attention to detail and subtlety. It is a
sensitive and fragile body.
Vibration and feedback.
Ecstasy. Increase. Deceleration. Interruption.
It is an ecstatic part, where the
body is in full control of the situation and
plays with its own power. It is primarily
a rhythmical part, involving a power play
between devotion and restraint. Energy
is released and gained through suspension,
outburst and physical force.
Resolution. A collective closure. This
part often celebrates life in a joyful, sometimes
even grotesque way. It can also be
a return to a state of calm connection,
and togetherness after having shared a
Materials as collaborators.
Metall. Foam. Cloth.
Physical power. Exhaustion.
Grotesque. Dynamic. Rhythmic clashes.
Feeding and receiving.
Body is rhythmically tuned. Rhythm is the main element from which
Heartbeat. everything is built. Emotional and energetic
states emerge from an autopoietic
Trust your tides. feedback loop through rhythm, movement,
music or voice.
Breath in. Silence. Breath out.
Power relationships between body,
voice and instrument shift within different
parts of the structure and create
different spaces for decision-making.
Visual, sonoric, emotional, rational
The in-between space of movement and
tonality, the silence, the stillness, are the
predominant factors that grant tension
and organize the structure.
Score & Improvisation.
of the body
with the body
by the body.
Flamenco is based on a dialectic of the
Apollonian and Dionysian principle: a
principle of beauty, joy and fragility on
one side and that of catharsis, rawness,
pain and ugliness on the other. These are
juxtapositioned in rhythm, physicalities
and the structure itself. Always looking
Intimacy and exposure.
Dramatic and formalistic.
for the unexpected. Different states of
tension and release, energy build-up, interruption
and eruption that create and
increase energetic states.
A hybrid between installation and
Translation into space.
Relation to space.
How can I translate the original dramaturgical
structure or its fragments -
the roles that body, sound and rhythm
play in it - into my own world? What
happens if I change and deconstruct
these fragments? How can I use these
strategies and methods in other fields of
A Ritual. performance art?
Position means the fact
of being able to define
and position something,
to bring it into relational
order. Order stands in
contrast to ambivalence,
ambiguity or something
indefinable. The relation
is the field of tension.
‘Everything in the world has its own
spirit which can be released by setting
it into vibration.’
a process where two
or more people work
together to achieve a
an object containing inscriptions
There was a ritual in my primary school involving diaries that children gave to
each other, where they could do whatever they wanted on one of the pages. It
was a space to consciously focus on the other person and your relationship with
them, and you had to find a way to express that in the form of text, drawing, or
manipulation of the surface of the paper. This creative outburst was also framed
as a collection of similar entries from other people, and it automatically became
a collective gift as everyone ended up with a book filled with pages inscribed with
the memories of all their classmates.
My first tattoo is an intimate duet ritual that I began developing
in 2016 in my gallery, Oficyna. It emerged out of the feeling of strange loneliness
caused by spending short periods of time with a lot of different people. I was
looking for new ways of relating to the people who were close to me. Tattooing
is by its nature a collaborative and creative process. I started inviting my friends
and people who inspire me to consider the surface of my skin as a canvas for their
creative input. In exchange, I teach them how to make a tattoo. The process usually
enables me to create a space for an intimate conversation. With almost one hundred
people I talked about this ritual through the lens of empathy, trust, fear, faith,
spirituality, creativity, culture, language, permanence, death, prayer, meditation,
improvisation, body, touch, dance, poetry, art, drawing, memory, friendship, diary,
collection, archive, symbol, semiotics, representation, reincarnation, pain, torture,
penetration, masochism, sin, dreams, magic, borders, and many others.
The drawings inscribe traces of moments in time and space where
the meetings took place. They often reflect something about the person who made
it, their image of me, or an idea that resonated between us. Most of the people try
to make their first tattoo meaningful. When I look at my tattoos they recall the
specific memories and stories behind them.
If a person that I invite has already done some tattoos in the past,
we try to figure out a way to make the action a new experience for both of us. In
this way I have received tattoos made with a foot, a left hand, blindfolded, using
a drone and a spear.
Drawing is an interesting exercise because it teaches you something
about the thing you draw. You have to look at your subject in a different way. You
can draw what you see if you are observing light, shapes, and colors. You can draw
from your emotions if you focus on how you feel and try to put it on paper. You
can draw from your memories - your home, your grandma, your favorite cartoon.
You can draw from your imagination if you close your eyes, silence your mind
and let the images appear.
From some of the participants in My First Tattoo I have collected
choreography, dance moves and positions that I’m trying to embody which are now the
material for my movement research. In an attempt to stage this ritual as a Solo/Dance/
Authorship graduation performance I will try to perform this eclectic dance.
List of collaborators:
Ana Lessing Menjibar
Floris de Groot
Nicola van Straaten
Paulina Bill Jaksim
a form of structuring an
activity by specifying
the rules, roles, available
objects, and space.
organizing a platform
with the possibility of
readiness to rely on
an enclosed system
that has its own logic
and follows a set of
rules, impossible to
access from outside
can also be used as a
strategy to generate
material or as a tool for
material that is treated
through a process
of distancing (e.g.
using an algorithm),
or claiming found
text as a biographical
material, can also apply
to self-dialogue with an
During SODA I have moved through identity politics, crashed into questions of
agency, thought of self as material for performance by reflecting on psychological
theories and finally arrived to consider different articulations of self in the body.
Simultaneously, I find myself moving about in the world in the age of surveillance
capitalism and heightened self performance with an uncanny feeling of what it
means to be a human. How do different technologies infiltrate my body? What
kind of knowledge am I able to produce within this discourse by looking for information
in the body?
We long to both cling to and escape our bodies, we want to use technologies while
we rail against its misuse, but bodies must be the starting point for any discussion
of technology. They shape-shift and dance into other forms with technologies, but
remain our refer to the world. For now. (Parker-Starbuck 2014: 93)
I grew interested in articulations, echoes of characters or alter
egos, inscribed in my body. I wanted to know how I could access them on stage.
My body contains potential for numerous second selves that can be invoked and
activated through different means and technologies. How do these articulations
(mediated, synthetic, theatrical, fictional) of the self or the body form, fall apart
and merge with each other? How can moving between them create an experience
or notion of authenticity or artificiality?
I wanted to gain insight into the mechanics of authenticity and
artificiality in relation to representations of the self. For me, the question of second
selves does not stop on stage. As new technologies provide spaces to fabricate new
formulations of self, what then is considered artificial and what is authentic? I
wanted to approach this question with a hypothesis: What if something artificial
could produce authenticity and vice versa?
I first started working with generating text through an algorithm
using old personal written conversations as a source material in order to create
fictional autobiographical material. Something that sounded and looked familiar
Cut yourself an analog filter today!
recognition relating to
sense-making and nonsense,
and artificiality, familiar
and alien, a performative
referring to the concept
of uncanny valley.
qualities and modes
of presence in the
body evoking different
articulations of the self
by using performative
to questions and experiences
and agency, whose
body is it?
ut that was not, exactly. By receiving this data, I saw patterns, a network or a
library of my subconscious, just differently organized. The multitude of versions
had different temperatures depending on how well they managed to mimic the
original source. This brought me to questions of sense-making, as in, where and
when does sense-making happen? How do we move from nonsense to something
that we recognize?
“Recognition” seems to me to be a much deeper element of theatrical performance
than that [the structural turning point of drama]: even in the most non-narrative,
post-dramatic performance, the communication between audience and performer
relies on the mutual recognition of readable human action. (Dorsen, n.d.)
Secondly, how does sense-making manifest in the modes or quality
of presence in the body? I wanted to bring a living body to the equation. I have built
internal strategies that keep me busy and connect me with my body. Blinking was
one way to hijack an involuntary action. Blinking synchronizes with the breath
and activates the parasympathetic nervous system. However, the question for me
is: What kind of presence does it produce on stage? How can a seemingly easy
task fade out the persona and make space for the body itself? Are there different
temperatures for presence?
Quite early in the process, I noticed the materials were neither
obstacles to authenticity on stage nor revelators of it. All of the materials had a
potential to move anywhere on the scale between familiar and alien. I have started
to work with a dramaturgical principle to move on this scale: In and out of qualities
that might produce notions and experiences of authenticity or artificiality. Whether
it is in the level of the material itself or in the delivery of it, I am interested in the
ambiguous in-between, liminal space of those experiences where we do not yet
quite recognize where we are being taken.
Maybe we could question whether the juxtaposition between
authenticity and artificiality is even useful. Maybe it is not a catastrophe if we
discover machine-like qualities and even the pure fiction about ourselves and
accept that we are all somewhat an artificial mix. What if it has something to do
with freedom that we become more aware of our own algorithms, our behavioral
patterns? Or if we know what systems are at play in ourselves? To become aware
of our situatedness and overcome it?
In search of the authentic self, I would like to quote Arno Böhler
who quoted Judith Butler and Jacques Derrida by saying that “self is a quotation”
(Böhler, 2019). I am becoming me through the encounters I have. This also includes
the thought that the other, instead of being outside of the self, is incorporated in
the self. In itself, it is a process of unfolding and in-folding.
The more dreadfully disquieting thing is not the other or an alien; it is, rather,
yourself in oldest familiarity with the other, for example, it could be the Double
in which you recognize yourself outside of yourself. (Ronell, 1989: 69)
moving between two
ends of a dichotomy in
order to create ambiguity,
focusing on the
in-between space as
a potentiality, working
with blending qualities
together in order to
research their relation.
Etcetera, (n.d.). Algorithm,
metaphor (interview with
Annie Dorsen). Retrieved
September 13, 2019
Jennifer (2014). Cyborg
Theatre - Corporeal/
in Multimedia Performance,
Ronell, Avital (1989). The
Telephone Book: Technology,
Electric Speech. Lincoln:
University of Nebraska
Illustrations © Cedric Flazinski
undulate, create states.
Drop in, fall out, shake it all about.
I’m out of tune, or is that time? Please don’t turn it up, it Hz this frequency of
hanging on a single string, a wire, a thread,
I’m improvising again,
it fills me with
Dive towards what you don’t know,
ride the acoustic swell.
composition emerges that is neither here or there, a fragment of an experience
that we all just shared. I’m looping the loop - number 49, trying to remember
my last line.
arrive by listening to my internal drive.
Linger with one finger pressed against a rosewood neck.
Traverse spatial boundaries,
move up a fret.
Sound is my stage,
my intention is set.
I’m sure I will lose it. I can’t find the step.
don’t fight it,
penetrate the cracks.
Scratch below the surface,
feed the feedback.
The presence of silence
within a performance is
a recurring entry point,
moving the physical
body towards its next
experience which is an
locating performer and
spectator beyond the
parameters of spatial
A medium of performance
that is dependent
on accessing an
internal landscape to
find ways of achieving
readiness, where both
body and mind work
collaboratively to instigate
the next moves.
is invisible to the naked
eye. It surrounds all
living beings and feeds
energy into the soul
from which all human
model of guitar that was produced in Japan in the late 1960s. Its distinctive features include a narrow neck, short scale and light body, making it ideal for the beginner’s market. In the UK it retailed for £40 and was considered a cheap alternative to other guitar manufactures like Fender and Gibson. I bought mine
aThe Satellite 65/T is
ficult to create a quality sound without running it through several effects (FX) pedals. But, based solely on its pristine condition and vintage appeal, I was willing to take the risk. I fi ind it interesting then, that in 2019, with risk being a key element in my practice, that the Satellite 65/T is at the centre of my research, as a companion and a collaborator.
om the Cash Converters in Hackney, East London in 2014. I can’t remember exactly how much I paid for it, but I do remember haggling. I suspect it was under £50. If truth be told, at the time this was an unnecessary purchase, especially since a quick internet search informed me that these guitars were unreliable live, and that it was di
Photos © Evgenia Chetvertkova
Berlin, September 2019
Jorge De Hoyos,
Ana Lessing Menjibar,
and Rhyannon Styles
with Sandra Noeth
Sandra Noeth (SN) We are sitting together, preparing this publication,
and actually writing, framing and researching have been a continuous
element throughout the studies. I am curious to know where they sit within your
Ana Lessing Menjibar (ALM) When starting to think about the
publication, I came to realize the different states involved in writing: it is a kind of
transcription of what is happening in the body into words, that then again influences
what happens performatively later. Somehow this publication is a performance
from the past, the presence and the future. I really like how writing actually became
a part of a process of awareness, a dialogue between thought and body.
Bernardo Chatillon (BC) When reflecting on this, there is a difference
between tools that we use for certain things, like a screwdriver or a hammer.
Tools that execute a precise and practical function, and tools in the context of
artistic work that have a completely different meaning. For example, my question
is, how can I be writing with the same bodily presence that I am applying when
I am researching in the studio or when I am improvising? How can I capture the
velocity of my associations? One way is to think and speak at the same time, and
like now, using my arms, making gestures. I think this brings thoughts to the fore
that are maybe hidden, it’s a somatic way of producing writing.
Rhyannon Styles (RS) This makes me think about the tools I use. I
didn’t have a physical practice for a very long time, and recently this shifted due to
the frame of SODA. It’s an interesting exercise to write about a specific idea, several
times on different occasions. I have noticed that the state that I am in, in terms of
how I feel or what I just experienced, and also my position in space, and the kind
of tools that I am using for writing also influence the text. You can see what is going
on between these instances when you address the same idea in variations.
Jason Corff (JC) I think writing is almost a centring way to put my
ideas into a different mode. When ideas are generated through movement, this
prompts me to identify in a specific way what it is that I am doing. However, the
writing can exist in its own space, and I can see where connections continue, even
if I didn’t sense them in the beginning, so the writing is a kind of evidence.
Minna Partanen (MP) In general, we talk a lot about reframing in
the program, and writing is a very powerful tool for this. I think about how many
times I wrote about the same thing over these two years, it’s quite a few... When I
read my past texts, I am actually saying the same but there are these nuances that
are all the time becoming more and more detailed and I am understanding why
am I choosing this word over that word. I like that I become more specific and
more careful every time I try. I guess that’s how all of the artistic research should
be, but with the words, the result stays.
SN Writing seems to be many things: a way of looking back but also
opening up in a very physical, almost performative sense.
MP But also, I found it a relief that it is a part of the knowledge production,
that I can call part of my artistic research. To realise that the writing is an
extension of my body - I feel like it gives liberty. I can treat things by different methods.
ALM When you, Sandra, introduced writing as a physical act, it
changed my relation to writing a lot. This idea to open my senses in the moment
much more and somehow stop to produce this continuous censoring. To make
writing itself more like a sensory experience. But writing is also a practice. If
you go to the studio and you move, you are not going to use all the movement in
your performance, but you create a vocabulary. So, writing is a physical exercise
and you are not going to use every single word, but in the moment, you generate
material, it becomes dense, exact.
JDH Maybe what’s been nicest when there’s been deadlines of
either the essays or text for publicity, because then all the writing or all the thinking
has to somehow get formed into a digestible format. I appreciate that there’s a
specific form, a specific way to give a quick hello to people out in the world.
RS There’s so much also about finding your voice. I suppose, because
I’ve got previous experience being a writer, I know what my voice is when
I’m writing a magazine article for example. The time at SODA has also been about
finding a different voice to articulate my practice. That’s a very new thing to be able
to reflect, analyse and talk about. It’s like a muscle you have to keep training.
Kuba Borkowicz (KB) You’re creating a body.
SN You are all bringing different disciplines and backgrounds into
the program: sound, visual arts, curating, dancing, choreography but also meditation,
tattooing, healing, flamenco, geography, maths... I could go on. What are the specific
challenges that this might create in your own work?
Jorge De Hoyos (JDH) I studied cultural anthropology and I was
always very interested in referencing: where did a thought or an influence come
from, who said what? And this is an endless work of contextualising. At the same
time, being a freelance performer, dancer and choreographer, there are so many
influences that make up the hybrid of my practice. It’s really an art of framing,
of what I highlight: my meditation practice? My yoga practice? It’s a challenge to
MP I immediately start to see it more through collaboration, that’s
where clashes most easily show. If I think about working processes, maybe you
are collaborating with someone who works with other materials that simply take
time to develop. Whereas when I look for information and make decisions in
my body, they can react to changes quite rapidly. Or if it comes to programming
digital interfaces, a lot of hours of work can go into something and you might
need to know in advance certain parameters and not only become aware of them
during the process. I think that’s where the transdisciplinary work sometimes
JC In addition to that, it’s also this idea of distancing that comes
in if you have different disciplines that influence the work. For instance, some of
the things I focus on seem very unrelated to each other. For example, if you’re
looking at the intersection of cartography and choreography and at the same
time thinking about predictive technologies like calculus and four-dimensional
geometry, the challenge that I continue to navigate through is looking at multiple
approaches to space, to place or time, even if they aren’t initially related to each
other. It’s about finding the distance between them so that suddenly something
comes into clarity. Then of course the challenge is, is it just clear to me, or how
to find that proper amount of exposure to also make it clear for someone looking
from a different perspective. How do you articulate that distancing that becomes
more pronounced in collaboration, to somebody who is working in a different
ALM This brings a tension. Having had a background for a long
time in flamenco, there is a negotiation between an embodied, kind of unconscious
knowledge, and the wish to decompose this embodied knowledge, to understand
what it is, to become aware of the body and the movement and of my artistic
language. This tension is beautiful and at the same time it can feel like a conflict
SN Is this tension also about the claims that come with different
practices, claims related to a specific knowledge?
KB Yes, definitely. This experience of clashing my practice in the
context of academic research was concentrated on the question of how to make
my practice accessible for other people and actually interesting to watch or to
even engage with it. Working with meditation or tattooing as a performance made
me look at these activities from many different perspectives. To decompose and
find the specific things that makes this interesting for me and to somehow try to
RS It’s about making the personal public. Because not all of us
makers and artists choose to use our personal identity or personal interest in our
work. But for me, that’s always been something I’ve wanted to do. Take my guitar
practice for example, it has never really had a platform in the public before, so
it’s really interesting for me to explore that, to be able to see its potential as a kind
of artistic future for myself.
MP In the beginning of the course, I was really busy with the question
of what does the facilitator-me and the artist-me have to do with each other.
I feel as soon as I let go of these definitions, the embodied knowledge inscribed in
me gets to come out. As long as I don’t problematize it too much in my head, they
actually work quite well together.
SN In the SODA program, there is this insistence on your own artistic
practices but there is also a collective, collaborative environment. I am interested in
how you perceive this relation.
JDH My research is dance improvisation where I’m trying to allow
myself to move with the feeling or the intuition first, rather than having prethoughts
or a decision made already. I’m trying to put the analyser brain way in
the back. This is very much sort of me dancing and my collaborators are there
to support me. It’s also very collective though, because I’m trying to get my ego
mind out of the way, to allow the expression to just come through and consenting
to serve myself but also everybody else, so it’s an interesting shared space.
BC This relates to the ideas of solo, dance and authorship; ideas
that are all the time shifting. The one that strikes me most in the title of the program
is ‘authorship.’ However, it changes completely with the word ‘dance’ that comes
in between ‘solo’ and ‘authorship’. This movement in between these two words is
opening and shaping things in an invisible way: it makes it impossible to think of
dance as something individual.
ALM Solo, for me, is also something which doesn’t necessarily
exist. What I’m most interested in, is the communication, my movement and what
I want to share, shaping, moulding the space between the audience and me.
KB From my experience I would like to challenge the idea of solo,
because during the process of going through the program, there is a lot of attention
put on being open and sharing and trying out and having feedback. Indeed, it is a
very collaborative process of refining your stuff, going back to it, but also bouncing
it off different people and our group internally.
RS And even last semester you were collaborating with plants…
KB Yes, that was an experiment of reaching out to non-human
beings. My question was if these are actually collaborators as well, if solo can be
translated to plants, to materials, to objects, to space.
RS I had that exact experience in the studio the other day with my
mentor and my new sound collaborator, who has made a sound board for me. It’s a
whole new piece of technology to get my head around, but at the same time that piece
of technology is my new collaborator. It has its own methodology that I can’t control.
JC Also, from experiencing the program, there is this underlying
idea of a body in space, but that body is never alone. And I think that’s been a
valuable lesson along the way that there are many things that start to influence
what a body can do: whether it be collaborators, mentors, opinions that we refine
or find reflected in things that we read, or just casual conversations.
SN You also decided to collaborate outside of the program as the
Mineralwasser collective that you founded. Could you talk more about it?
RS The first thing we did as Mineralwasser was the sangria bar
that we set up during the presentations of the 2nd year students, right?
JDH I think there has been an interest and a willingness from all
of us to somehow work together, to not be in isolation, to build a support network.
Hosting a bar was a good way because we could have fun together, get to know
each other, not just artistically, but also administratively and logistically and performatively,
in an easy setting. The collective is maybe also a response to the big
word solo and I was excited to grow deeper this time, really wanting to invest in a
group especially having been a freelancer, where the longest I might be with any
group of people might be three months or the time of a project.
BC What is nice is that there is a balance with my own authorship,
my own research. I have room to be independent, to call my own shots, to direct
my space. But, I’m not alone, and we can give each other feedback from a very
different perspective. That’s quite a rich environment.
KB I believe it really arrived from an urge for a deeper connection.
I think we all sort of realised that it’s a group of interesting people who share some
common interests, all using the body as an artistic material. I think we say that we
could learn from each other.
MP I’ve been thinking about what you, Bernardo, said in one of
our last meetings, when you talked about the collective being as strategy, a strategy
for us to stay together, to invest in each other, to commit.
BC Yes, to fight this rivalry between us that could have been there.
JC And, I think it’s an exploration of performativity, but also an
exploration of connectivity. And going deeper into that, really understanding what
the collective might mean for a group of people, that might, on the surface, not
easily identify commonalities, but rather find them through experience and time.
And then articulate them in whatever way they choose.
SN In many of your writings and statements the word responsibility
occurs. When we speak about working in a group and individually, how does this
idea find articulation?
JDH I’m thinking about an intensive with Arno Böhler and a
working definition of the capacity to be in the body, but at the same time always
be outside of it. Because we’re always connected, and open to the world, to the
environment. In response, entangled with each other. So, responsiveness, being
able to respond, being able to be in the world.
BC Collectivity already brings a lot of invisible responsibilities:
not only the responsibility of being a father or a mother or a teacher in relation to
my work, but also the responsibility to think about deadlines, an audience, about
how they read and can enter my work, about why am I doing this. So, I believe my
responsibility is connected with this deep emotional level of sharing something
and with working in the direction of something that is calling me. Calling into place
a collective already creates a sense of responsibility, as well. We are all going to
care about each other.
KB Yes, definitely. In my experience responsibility is totally different
when it comes to solo or collective work. In my solo practice, I am mostly focused
on experimenting and trying out new things. If in the end it doesn’t really work,
it’s fine, I learn something from it. But with the collective I feel the responsibility
differently. If we try to work together and something goes wrong, then actually
our relations and the integrity of the group are in danger.
ALM I have a very concrete example from flamenco for this experience.
In flamenco, if I’m not responsible for the whole team, it doesn’t work. But
also, if I don’t take the moment for my solo inside the collective, there is no flamenco.
So that reminds me of what you, Sandra, were talking about, using dramaturgy as
a mobile, holding different elements and ideas together. It’s the same, each part of
our collective is a part of the whole dramaturgy, if one changes, the whole system
needs to change. Somehow these two words – responsibility and ‘dis-responsibility’
- are deeply connected, and what is important is the space between them.
JC I think this creative term, ‘dis-responsibility’ got developed
when it came to decision making in our work. Focusing, understanding and contextualizing
what our decisions are. But also to create an awareness of what we
are choosing against, when we are choosing to not contextualise, and be able to
identify those moments.
MP Of course the word responsibility can come with heaviness,
as well, with having to carry out a project, and be the one that stands behind it.
But at the same time, I try to use it as a strategy, to think what my responsibility
is to the work. To think that the work is bigger than me, and actually that my task
is to show up and do it.
KUBA BORKOWICZ is a performer, visual artist and curator working between Berlin and Poznan. In 2017,
he graduated from the University of Fine Arts in Poznan (MA Visual Communication). Borkowicz’s research
framework investigates the affinity between play and ritual through compositional strategies utilized by religion
to design a set of practices to connect, worship, and learn from plants. Across different media such as
performance, painting, installations, video, photography and tattoos, his artistic practice focuses on meditative
qualities of the creative process and their potential to create a shared experience. As a curator, Borkowicz
develops platforms for collaboration between human and non-human beings. In 2014 he established the 9/10
Gallery in Poznan with a program focusing on relational pairings of artists.
BERNARDO CHATILLON was born in Rebelva, Portugal under Aquarius. He trained at Centro Em Movimento
(CEM) and completed a degree in theatre at the Higher School of Theatre and Cinema (ESTC) in Lisbon. From
2012-15, he was a company member of the National Theater D. Maria II in Lisbon. Based in Berlin since 2016,
Chatillon has collaborated as a performing artist on multiple projects with Stephanie Maher at Ponderosa
Movement & Discovery. In his own work, Chatillon uses elements of real-time composition to question creative
agency as he navigates the link between belief systems and free association.
JASON CORFF relocated to Berlin from New York City where he has been a dancer with a+s works as well
as a frequent collaborator with videographer Effy Grey and multimedia design house Paradox Vested Relics.
His solo practice is focused on the pairing of cartographic principles with choreography to recontextualize
the body in space. Trained in dance at Oberlin College, Corff was a company member of 277 Dance Project
and worked with Laboratory Theater, theARTcorps, Gushue Moving Arts, and Craig Hoke Zarah. He has performed
at various locations in New York City including Triskelion Arts, Dixon Place, The Performing Garage,
and Bryant Park. One of his dance works for film premiered at Mills Gallery at the Boston Center for the Arts
in Massachusetts, and several others can be found online.
JORGE DE HOYOS is a U.S. American dancer and choreographer based in Berlin since 2012. He studied Cultural
Anthropology and Theater Arts at the University of California at Santa Cruz. Collectivity and community
have been a major aspect of his artistic and spiritual development throughout his trajectory: organizing DIY
public art actions, hosting sexual-spiritual and performance events in homes and non-institutional spaces,
and being a core member of performance projects like Turbulence (a dance about the economy) with Keith
Hennessy and Tanzkongress 2019. As a dancer/performer he has regularly collaborated with Meg Stuart/
Damaged Goods and Sara Shelton Mann, among others. He has presented his own work in San Francisco and
Berlin, and published articles and interviews with In Dance by Dancers’ Group (2008-2014), Dance Theatre
Journal (2011) and Contemporary HUM (2018). www.jorgedehoyos.com
ANA LESSING MENJIBAR is a German-Spanish visual artist, performer and dancer born and based in
Berlin. Her work is an investigation and conceptual interpretation of contemporary flamenco, stretching the
genre and movement vocabulary to locate transformative potential within the context of performance. The
body is also addressed as a unique source of sound and rhythm, extending the ability of sound to act as a
performer in space. Lessing Menjibar’s interdisciplinary practice explores notions of the performative though
media such as photography, video, and installation. She has performed or exhibited in Berlin at Sophiensaele,
Komische Oper Berlin, tanzhaus nrw, NGORONGORO, NGBK, and the Kammermusiksaal der Berliner Philharmonie.
She also has appeared at Villa Romana (Italy), Bienal - Miradas de Mujeres (Spain), and 29. Festival
Les Instants Vidéo (France and Argentina). Lessing Menjibar received her Diplom in Visual Communication at
Universität der Künste Berlin, and also works as an art director and publisher in the field of culture and arts.
MINNA PARTANEN is a performer, director, and drama educator hailing from Finland and holds a BA in
Performing Arts from Helsinki Metropolia. She has a background in devised work, socially engaged art, and
applied theatre in non-traditional performance spaces and has worked as an applied theatre facilitator in
contexts such as social work, innovation and organizational development. She was part of a research group
for arts-based initiatives in development processes at Lappeenranta-Lahti University of Technology LUT.
Currently, Partanen works as a Drama Educator at English Theatre Berlin | International Performing Arts
Center leading the theatre’s partnership with Theater und Schule (TUSCH). She has taught Drama in English
extensively in schools around Berlin and co-founded International People’s Theatre Berlin, an applied theatre
project. Partanen premiered her solo work Next Time in Berlin in 2015 at Expat Expo festival in collaboration
with Joseph Wegmann.
RHYANNON STYLES is a British-born performer, writer and public speaker. In her solo work, Styles uses
resonance and timbre through spatial explorations to create sonic compositions and improvised choreography.
She has performed at various locations in London including Barbican Centre, Tate, V&A Museum and Soho
Theatre. Styles has presented work at both the Edinburgh and Adelaide Fringe Festivals in addition to the
Guggenheim Museum in New York City. In June 2017, Styles released her memoir The New Girl - A Trans Girl Tells
It like It Is through Headline Publishing. As a journalist she regularly contributes to UK publications, and was a
columnist for ELLE magazine from 2015-2017. Her next book Help! I’m Addicted - A Trans Girl’s Self-Discovery
& Recovery will be published in 2021. As a public speaker, Styles uses her media profile to raise awareness for
transgender issues across a variety of platforms. In 2016 she appeared in The Body Shop’s Stand Up Stand
Out campaign, and will feature in the upcoming campaign Work It for Sainsbury’s TU clothing brand. www.
Publisher: HZT Hochschulübergreifendes Zentrum Tanz Berlin (HZT), Uferstraße 23, 13357 Berlin / Concept
and Authors: Kuba Borkowicz, Bernardo Chatillon, Jason Corff, Jorge De Hoyos, Ana Lessing Menjibar, Minna
Partanen, Rhyannon Styles and Sandra Noeth / Texts and pictures: all rights with the authors if not otherwise
mentioned / Graphic Design: milchhof.net / Interview transcription: Zoe Martin / Printing Company: Laserline
©HZT Berlin 2019 / Hochschulübergreifendes Zentrum Tanz Berlin / www.hzt-berlin.de / email@example.com
MA SODA Staff: Prof. Rhys Martin, Prof. Dr. Sandra Noeth, Sophia New
Web links are provided for informational purposes only.
HZT bears no responsibility for the accuracy, legality or content of external sites or for that of subsequent links.
The HZT Berlin is the joint responsibility of the Berlin University of the Arts (UdK) and the Hochschule für Schauspielkunst
Ernst Busch (HfS) in cooperation with TanzRaumBerlin, a network of the professional dance scene.
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A CONVERSATION 30
ZENTRUM TANZ BERLIN