LOC Pool 4: Art & Performance: Let's Take Back Our Space

Can gestures be invented? Or is there only ever a pre-given catalogue of movements that one selects from to construct his, her, or hir own body?
Nummer und TypMFA-MFA-Po00.20H.004 / Moduldurchführung
VeranstalterDepartement Fine Arts
LeitungAlexandra Bachzetsis
Anzahl Teilnehmendemaximal 9
ECTS3 Credits
VoraussetzungenCourse language: English

Preparation:
Please think about the following score for a possible study of gestures. Bring clothes and props and music that help as elements for developing your individual version of the score.

Score:
-Dress up as your fantasy
-Make a dance
-Learn the taste
-Do a walk
-Go home and start from scratch
-Sing a song
-Win to get into the house
-Perform realness
LehrformSeminar

Training:
The course will involve physical training, a set of exercises.
Please bring training clothes for this movement-oriented part.
ZielgruppenMA Fine Arts students

Open for exchange students
Lernziele / KompetenzenTo be able to perform.
Integration of studied everyday life gestures and performative attitudes into own choreographic proposals and choreographed compositions
InhalteThematically I would like to focus on gestures as described in the text by Paul B. Preciado on my exhibition for Centre Culturel Suisse in Paris entitled “An Ideal for Living”.

Can gestures be invented? Or is there only ever a pregiven catalogue of movements that one selects from to construct his, her, or hir own body? Your answer to these questions may define what kind of body politics you align with: you might be a Platonist of political anatomy or, on the contrary, a Nietzschean of bodily gesture. Or to put it in cybernetic rather than in philosophical language, you might think that gestures are written within a fixed cultural software and that like anatomical hardware our bodies do nothing other than express the code. Or, alternatively, you may believe that what characterizes political freedom and aesthetic action is a certain (even narrow) capacity to invent new gestures of expression. This latter, rather risky Nietzschean take on the gesture implies that the body is an operating system programmed in open beta, always ready to be modified. And in this scenario, subjects are not consumers of a given repertoire of gestures but rather co-programmers that over time contribute to building a completely new operating system. Your answer to these questions may also define what kind of body you end up “having” (although never possessing), and further, who you might end up becoming. To put it more bluntly: At the end of the day, you are your gestures. Nothing else. Your life could be narrated as a description of all the gestures that you have ever embodied. Obedient gestures, crazy gestures, sad gestures, happy gestures, stiff gestures, flexible gestures, silent gestures, noisy gestures, angular gestures, soft gestures, gestures of triumph, of violence, of compassion, gestures that welcome, gestures that refuse, gestures of surrender, of contempt, of joy ... Biography is gesturography. And therefore, choosing your side, between the Platonic or the Nietzschean is a life choice.
For a Platonist of political anatomy, in that set repertoire of bodily movements, there are good and bad gestures: for instance, there are true female and true male gestures, outside of which there is only pathology, fakeness, and parody. Accordingly, bodies are moving objects that learn to embody the gender canon and aspire to performative perfection. The aim of a Platonist is to construct identity: to be a man, a woman, a child, a father, a mother, an American, etc. But if you are a Nietzschean of bodily gestures, you embrace the challenge for the body to find and invent its own gestures in life, to enter into new relations, to constantly try out new movements, to vibrate until the soul finds a new expression within matter. The task of a Nietzschean is disidentification: escaping the given gesture, decontextualizing movement, and introducing a gap in protocol.
In An Ideal for Living, Alexandra Bachzetsis does not offer an answer nor does she choose between these body politics, rather she brings us back to the question itself and keeps us questioning: Are you a Platonist of political anatomy or a Nietzschean of bodily movement? Are you more object or subject? How do you select your gestures? Have you ever stolen a gesture? Will you ever invent one?
Text by Paul B. Preciado


About the teacher:

Alexandra Bachzetsis is a choreographer and visual artist, based in Zurich (CH). Her practice unfolds at the intersection of dance, performance, the visual arts and theater, generating a conflation of the spaces in which the body, as an artistic and critical apparatus, can manifest.

Bachzetsis has created over 30 pieces, often working collaboratively, which have been shown in theaters, festivals and public space venues worldwide. In addition to this, her work has been exhibited in a variety of contemporary art spaces and museums, including Kunsthalle Basel (Basel, 2008), the Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam, 2013 and 2015), Tate Modern (London, 2014). In January 2017, she presented “Massacre: Variations on a Theme” at MoMA, New York City. Later that year her work was included in documenta 14 exhibitions at Athens and Kassel. In June 2018 Alexandra Bachzetsis presented her performances „Private: Wear a mask when you talk to me“ and „Private Song“ at the High Line New York. „An Ideal for Living“ (2018), a solo exhibition at the Centre Culturel Suisse in Paris opened and the performance „Escape Act“ (2018) premiered at Pact Zollverein in Essen (DE). The latest work "Chasing a Ghost" (2019) has been commissioned by the Art Institute of Chicago and toured in Europe since.
Leistungsnachweis / TestatanforderungMandatory attendance (80%); active participation
TermineTime: 10:00 - 18:00 o'clock

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