Justus-Liebig-Universität GießenInstitut für Angewandte Theaterwissenschaft

The fuzzy mess of the Compost and Spirit: Epistemology of dancing bodies

BA 03/04/05/09/10/11
MA 01/03(04/05
CuP 01/02/05/09

Vandana Shiva, an environmental activist and alter-globalization writer describes western epistemological tradition of the scientific revolution as reductionist. This tradition reduced the capacity of humans to know nature by excluding other knowers and other ways of knowing, as much as it reduced the capacity of nature to creatively regenerate and renew itself by manipulating it as inert and fragmented matter. In a similar way Isabelle Stengers criticized eliminativism of practices and knowledges in modern science, which caused the destruction of many practices in common. How is it possible then to come in contact with the practices of knowledge which are destroyed and eliminated because of the progress, how to dive into their mess and perplexity but not, at the same time, immediately being defined as holistic, spiritual or romantic? How to materialize and practice critically other epistemologies without the violence of essentialism and immediate search for the authenticity?
We will think about other epistemologies in seminar with examining the knowledge of the bodies, especially the dancing bodies throughout the history of modernity. We will follow other histories of bodies, which are with their abandoned practices disclosing the excess of the modernity: the ungraspable, non-disciplined, fluid, viral and dark side of the bodies. We will examine the work of the dance practitioners and thinkers, who open other perspective on the knowledge of the bodies, from somatic exploration of the body, mortality, decay, spiritual excess, compost, energy and intensity of the bodies. We will approach dance practices as specific epistemologies, with their methods and theories of knowledge derived from the practicing of dance and movement. Here the body will be approached as a living matter, a force of living and decay, studied with its capacities (energy, intensity, movement) but also as a living matter, with its elements (soil, compost, traces, cells, viruses). How does this approach to the knowing body changes dance practice in general and what are its consequences for the dance performance when body is approached as a living, fuzzy and mortal matter?
Some writers and dancers who will be with us among others: Isabelle Stengers, Alphonso Lingis, Elizabeth Grozs, Ann Halprin, Alice Chauchat, Ann Cvetkovich, Valentina Desideri, Luce Irigaray, Donna Haraway, Elizabeth Bronfen, etc.
This seminar is tightly related to the movement seminar, it can be only visited together with the Movement Class of Carolina Mendoca, Impossible Practices.