Issue #10: The Many & The Few

June 2018

What kinds of corporeal politics are possible today?

Far from presuming one definition of the political body, this issue is interested in exploring (bodily) activism, its circumstances/modes/contexts of emergence as well as its embodied choreographies. We invite contributions that investigate the new capacities, modes of agency and forms of coming together, which activism is able to generate or provoke today. We also seek contributions that endeavour to map out the geographies of resistance, and the performative assemblages of the body politic, as expressed through protest, transgression, rebellion, subversion, appropriation and modes of dynamic transformation.

 

Bodily Activism

Bodily activism works on two fronts: it puts the body at the service of the political but it also activates the body. In so doing, the body becomes a political force. Activating the body is specific to each political context, which differentiates different kinds of body, the black body, the vulnerable body, the silenced body, the demonstrating body, the conspiratorial body. In each case, and in each activist situation, the body foregrounds itself, motioning towards social and political change. Such a body acts in concert with other bodies, with other like-bodies more often than not (but not always). Read more...

Choreographies of Protest

We are not throwing power off or away in order to be free. Nor do we believe, cynically, that nothing can be done. Our very presence as protestors is evidence of our belief in the possibility of instigating change. Of the 189 different methods of protest surveyed in The Politics of Nonviolent Action, pacifist Gene Sharp identifies twelve varieties of “physical intervention.” As distinct from strikes, boycotts, and symbolic public acts such as marches and theatricals, Sharp categorises sit-ins, walk-ins, pray-ins, and occupations as varieties of intervention “characterised by the interference created by people’s physical bodies.” Read more...

The Art of Being Many

The Art of Being Many was initiated by geheimagentur in cooperation with a research network of sociologists, activists and philosophers (initiated by Vassilis S. Tsianos) from Greece, Italy, and Spain, who examine new approaches to cities in crisis in the current age. These two groups also cooperated with the Hamburg postgraduate research program. Running from 2012 to 2015 at Hafencity University, Fundus Theater and K3 – Centre for Choreography, this program fostered art-based research into assemblies and political participation. In addition, activists, academics, and artists (including Martin Jörg Schäfer) with interests in the political dimension of theatre and performance studies were also included. Read more...

Corporeal Politics

It is curious that LGBTI acceptance came before Indigenous recognition and I wonder if this is because Indigenous belonging to the land, that we have collectively taken possession of, is a deeper more threatening concept that challenges the very concept of whiteness that clings to power. Could this be a fear of reversed dispossession? Read more...

Protest as Practise

In 1973, political scientist, Gene Sharp, published a list of one hundred and ninety-eight methods of nonviolent action as a reference list for engaging in transformative civil acts11. The list reveals the power of the body (especially in collectivity) to obstruct, declare, withhold, disappear, dismantle, deliver and perform. It contains commonly practiced methods such as sit-ins and strikes, as well as more niche ideas, such as lysistratic non-action and mock funerals.22 Read more...

“Hands Up! Don’t Shoot!”: Gesture, Choreography, and Protest in Ferguson

“Hands up! Don’t shoot!” By now, you know this phrase well. In 2014, it became the rallying cry of those protesting the killing of Michael Brown by police in Ferguson, Missouri. Like other memorable activist slogans—such as “Hell no! We won’t go!” “What do we want? Freedom! When do we want it? Now!” “No justice? No peace!”—it captures the essence of collective anger in response to social injustice. Read more...

Body Parts

We are the sum of our parts but, also and not always comfortably, we are our parts. Here I mean those elements of us called the body or, better, our corporeal being: a complex mix of thought, emotion and physicality. In this mix lies culture, conversation and conflict, and an ever-changing response to the conditions of our lives. Read more...

The Labour of the Many: Staging the Few – Immigration Law and Invisible Labour Practices in Contemporary Dance

Whose bodies are we seeing today in mainstream spaces? Whose aesthetics are dominant? Whose history occludes and makes invisible the labour of immigration and the absence of certain racialised borders that helped consolidate modern and contemporary dance practices today? How can those in power share the spaces and resources with the many in the margins? What can an attention to the historical assembly of all these flows, stoppages, and movement invite us to consider as we move forward? Read more...

Critical Choreography: Embodying a safe, democratic space

We all know and recognise the pattern: strong alpha male in powerful position vis-a-vis a young female just stepping into the scene, hoping to carve a path of her own. My investigation into this delicate issue addresses a specific context – Indonesian contemporary dance practice – and asks to what extent is this disturbing misconduct conducted in the name of – and embedded within – current forms of choreographic practice? Read more...

Notes on a Secretive Dance Event

The Secretive Dance Team creates site-specific live performances incorporating urban and natural landscapes and found interiors into expansive if enigmatic dance dramas full of strenuous and fantastical posturing and passages of anarchy. Miracle in Aisle 6 was the group’s third production, it was performed only once, and was not supported by any funding or presenting organisation. And it was free. Read more...

Diary entries

The thing is: marginalised communities exist to a certain extent as discreet ecosystems. We are symbiotic. We are bioregional. And, like any ecosystem, we are vulnerable to exploitation and degradation. What am I trying to say here? I guess, maybe: don’t trade your life in the forest to become a fucking pot-plant. Especially now that we have never been so tradeable. We have never been so identified as a commodity. It’s unprecedented. This has its advantages: we can make a fucking living, for one thing. Read more...

The Long Walk – Philipa Rothfield in conversation with Paul Briggs

It’s the relationship of power and influence. You’re an exploitable commodity in team structures, in societal structures. That people will use your talents to achieve an outcome for their goals. I think an Aboriginal football club is different to an Aboriginal player. It has more strength, it has more power, it has more visibility. It’s not as easily exploitable. I think it then starts to tackle institutional racism. I think that there’s a long way to go for AFL or Cricket Australia or Netball Australia or other sports bodies to be able to embrace and to protect the culture and identity of indigenous players. Read more...

The Avoca Project: Propositions and provocations for an uncertain Future

Norie asked “What are you waiting for exactly?” “To discover what it is that I am doing here”, I found myself saying. I had realised that all of the actions to date had been diversions, distractions, undertaken to reassure others that something was happening. All those artworks, the many residencies for other artists, the historically sound and environmentally experimental repairs to the buildings and grounds, the community projects I had led were really all part of waiting… Read more...

The Politics of Resistance

If resistance is to be effective today, we need to be less conscientious in our political activity and more moral, less private and more communal. We need to appeal without embarrassment to the religious and humanist traditions of the rule of law and human rights. Read more...

OCCUPY TREE

“On December 17th, 2013, indigenous activist, Urutau Guajajara, stayed for 26 hours resisting the final eviction of Maracanã Village on the top of a tree inside the territory. This act was a result of the invasion by police in Maracanã Village and is known as Occupy Tree.” Read more...