- To generate dialog across disciplines around the topic of the body and physical experience within different artistic and research interdisciplinary practices.
- To innovate the format of a lecture series into propositions for different encounter modalities that position the body as a thinking field of experience from which to dialog.
- To rethink, reformulate and reconfigure knowledge structures.
- To fold the articulation of both physical knowledge and theory into a cohesive physical-intellectual experience.
- To reinforce interdisciplinary research-creation practice.
- To instigate collaboration efforts between fine art departments.
- The creation of a second level of smaller workshops designed to explore questions arising from the creative contact of all of the particpants.
The most important outcome from this series of physical lectures will be the creation of a platform on which to build a different type of dialogue. Our eyes are set on evolving a body based discourse capable of sustaining new concepts and leading to the discovery of innovative ways of communicating and disseminating the richness that lies within our artistic body of knowledge. It is our hope that this series of experiential events will lead to the first traces of a new language capable of impelling practitioner and theorist alike along a new trajectory. A learning curve where concepts are explored through the corporeal application of both thought and theory.
Scope and brief background / context
In the last decade, there has been an increasing recognition of how the turn in dance-movement practices & theory since the 50's affected contemporary visual art and culture; the phenomena of different ways movement, performance, installation, video work, bodies, and the choreography of these inspire and feed into each others practice. A number of recent well-known contemporary exhibitions (MOMA series, MAC, Hayward Gallery, London, TATE Modern, New Museum, etc) showcase the most relevant examples from contemporary art and dance over the past sixty years as cultural constructs - embedded in social, theoretical, ethical and political aspects - and survey their points of connection, overlaps and crossovers. This phenomena can be traced even further back from movements of the second decade of the XXth century (guttural poetry, experimental theatre, the inter-crossings of music and design, performances, installations, sound experiments and visceral theatre), in which disciplinary boundaries blurred and practices began tending toward an exploration of materiality in relation to the body.
Movements in politics, economy and social life throughout the later twentieth century obviously manifested themselves in cultural production and artistic practice, and dance was already equipped to tackle certain problems at hand; for example: action, participation, the question of freedom in movements vs. commanding, rethinking genders, roles, bodies, experimentation. By acknowledging that these embodied practices gained a powerful role since the second half of the last century (and that they seem to be capable for remaining an inescapable force in the other art fields and a source of inspiration for philosophical thinking today), this project will generate a more lively conversation between fine art undergraduate departments with longstanding reputation at Concordia University: the Contemporary Dance Department, the Studio Arts Department, the Music Department and the Theatre Department.
We believe that this proposition will be beneficial for both undergraduate departments and will respond to an existing shared interest. This is represented by the increasing interest of dance students in the IMCA Performance classes, i.e., but it will also certainly be beneficial for undergraduate studio arts, music and theatre students working in performance art - above all IMCA students working with all kinds of performativity (a number of them exploring the role of technology in relation to the body, juxtaposing human with the man-made, questioning the potentials and the limits of both) - to explore the notion of embodiment in a complexified way, that is committed to heterogeneity, cultural and political considerations and the potential absence of embodiment. This connection and overlap already exists in the professional art world – contemporary dancers and performance artists thinking around very similar notions, and contemporary dance being presented in major art museums mixed with performance art, as well as performance art being represented in a number of festivals, venues and platforms of performing arts. By building these professional and informal connections, students will raise their awareness of the blurring threshold between contemporary dance, performance, and other arts, expand their critical languages inspired and informed by each other’s theoretical backgrounds and practices.
Description of the Physical Lecture Clusters
Restaurant O’Noir – November 2013- meal and round table discussion in total darkness / Meeting of Senses and Imagination
In order to access new knowledge, to reinvent ourselves, to meet the “unknown” we need first to loose our points of reference. For this reason we chose the restaurant O’Noir as a perfect set up for the opening event of the Physical Lectures. Shared meal/lecture in total darkness is a symbolic and yet practical choice in order to experience our physical bodies while engaged in a process of thought. We wish to create a situation where open attention and sensorial perception become a source of knowledge. A meal/lecture in the dark will disorient us in order to redefine a new ways of perception and communication, will enable us to reexamine how we process information, and ultimately will root us in a sensual experience of our bodies while talking about the Body.
Tango - January 2014 -together while being always apart, only reaching, in constant collaboration
Tango is a movement-based practice that problematizes the nostalgia for reaching among each other from the very premises of the body in movement and in relation. It is par excellence an improvisatory machine for complexified ways of conviviality. In Tango we have a one to one encounter, yet, we dance to the tragedies of existing together while being always apart, only reaching, in constant collaboration. Within this Physical Lecture Cluster we will engage the audience in a tango lesson at the Studio Tango Montreal, directed by guest artist/lecturer Bobby Thompson. Participants will begin discussions while dancing with their in-turn partners, which will keep changing at different time intervals. Every time we change partners there will be a small pause during which a question or a thought will be thrown to the dance floor, to motivate the following performative/conversational of the next tango encounter.
Pool - February 2014 -an experiential talk about and within the collective body -
Through inviting participants to be immersed in a swimming pool, we choreograph the circumstances for experiencing what a collective body means and how it works. The immediate relation to others manifested by the matter that connects all of us - a living relationship between people that might be overlooked in our everyday lives - will become palpable in the water. Through the shift of our attention to the sensory registers, temperature (filled with meaning) sound (resonance, frequency and vibration) and tactility (being in a coherent and visible substance and experiencing all the forces and flows in between) will be emphasized in order to unfold our potential to inhabit a collective field. Our aim is to raise questions about action and participation through the notions of: resistance of the body and its political affects; private / public spaces, complexification of the categories of gender, beauty, the limits and borders of the body. While talking about, within, and in between bodies, we wish to create a virtual mindfield for a shared somatic experience.
Labo Culinaire - March 2014 -Cooking - A physical exploration of the collaborative process
This event is designed around the preparation of a meal and how the practice of cooking acts as a metaphor for the collaborative process. Cooking, the most ancient art of transmutation has become, over a quarter of a million years, an unremarkable, domestic practice. However within the framework of this everyday exercise, things perish, transform, and nourish other things in much the same way as they do within the context of an artistic practice. Tied to the senses of sight, hearing, smell, touch, taste and the "sixth sense" of refined intuition, the group preparation of food mirrors the collaborative process and illustrates the influence it can have upon an artist’s creative process.