Justus-Liebig-Universität GießenInstitut für Angewandte Theaterwissenschaft


International symposium (November 11 - 14 2010)

Organised by the MA "Choreography and Performance"
at the Institute for Applied Theatre Studies, Justus Liebig University Gießen
(Prof. Dr. Gerald Siegmund).

The international symposium “Dance, Politics & Co-Immunity“ is dedicated to the question of how dance, both in its historical and in its contemporary manifestations, is intricately linked to conceptualisations of the political. Whereas in this context the term “policy” means the reproduction of hegemonic power relations within already existing institutional structures, politics refers to those practices which question the space of policy as such by inscribing that into its surface which has had no place before. Thinking politics as the absent political within policy is therefore by definition linked to the idea of choreography in the truest sense of the word: The art of choreography consists in distributing bodies and their relations in space. It is a distribution of parts that within the field of the visible and the sayable allocates positions to specific bodies. Yet in the confrontation between bodies and their relations, a deframing and dislocating of positions may take place. This ongoing distribution and reconfiguration of the sensible (Jacques Rancière) which structures the body and its parts and links it to the existing symbolic order of any given society can be considered a site of resistance allowing for interventions into hegemonic discourses, traditional distributions and fixed framings. In the public space of theatre, whose characteristic feature is the separation of stage and auditorium, dance may not only distribute its bodies, but also split and to share that which is separated and yet united: The community of bodies as well as their words and the objects they produce.

Over the past years the term “policy” has undergone a renaissance in political philosophy. On the one hand there are those who bemoan the disappearance of politics (Alain Badiou), on the other hand others welcome its return and relational integration into sociability (Nicolas Bourriaud). Inbetween these extremes there are those who accuse political philosophy itself of playing into the hands of the powers and of thereby sacrificing the idea of politics for a universal process of administration (Colin Crouch, Chantal Mouffe, Jacques Rancière). In the course of this discussion the question of what constitutes a democracy becomes more and more virulent. Recent developments in the world economy suggest that Michel Foucault’s concept of “governmentality” of self, other and society, which he developed in his lecture series between 1977 and 1979, is more pertinent than ever. Whereas the citizens of the one world have involuntarily become bearers and sharers of incalculable risks, the frontiers to the other world are protected more and more rigorously. Examples of this are the overflowing refugee camps e.g. on the southern Italian shores as well as international airports that resemble high security tracts searching and registering masses of bodies in their microstructures with new technological devices. While one part of the world population deterritorialises itself voluntarily, the other part is forcibly prevented from entering this space defined by its increasing mobility, acceleration, and high speed communication highways. Neoliberal dispositives of power are linked with technologies to secure and enclose territories, discourses and bodies whose general health is cared for while they are deprived of a possible shared way of life.

The renaissance of the political goes together with the rebirth of a long discredited term: That of community. In the German political tradition of Ferdinand Tönnies, community - in a Romantic understanding - opposed to society. In the works of Jean-Luc Nancy and Roberto Esposito, however, community no longer appears as a simple opposition to political developments, but rather as a contested space of discussion that risks community in a dialogue between equals. Although contemporary developments in world politics and world economy establish increasingly asymmetrical relationships between people, it is the idea of a community of equals that may subvert these developments.

Viewed against this background, how did dance and how does dance, then, do politics with the body in the public (theatrical) space? How can it become political? The symposion looks for theoretical models, historical constellations, contemporary experiments and practical consequences that elucidate the relation between dance, politics and policy – which, in Jacques Rancière's terms, might be called ”police” as well. What does the structuring and distribution of bodies and their parts look like in historical formations of dance such as the court ballet of the 17th century, the Romantic ballet of the 19th century or the German Dance tradition of the Weimar Republic? What historical departures of dance where linked with political contexts and how? Which political contexts provoked dance as a critical intervention? Which contexts suppressed dance or, contrary to that, teamed up with dance in order to change and rearrange the distribution of bodies in the social and theatrical arena? What does a critical bodily practice look like in the age of genetic engineering and reproduction by the mass media? Does the relation between body and text have to be redefined? Are there choreographic practices that may subvert the dominant powers? How do the artists themselves think about their aesthetic practice and how does that influence the choices they make? What are the consequences of these choices for their institutional working conditions and practices?

Participants of the symposion are invited to think about the multiple connections between politics, community, dance, and globalisation from the perspective of Dance and Theatre Studies, History, Philosophy, and Sociology. One focus of "Communications” will be the discussion of recent developments in contemporary dance and the production of new spaces for collaboration and exchange. In how far do they help to reformulate what economists call the “becoming immanent” of the world”? On an artistic level the conference wants to look for possible answers by presenting pieces by dance makers dealing explicitly with the issues raised here. Apart from more established artists like Xavier Le Roy or Mette Ingvartsen a younger generation of artists shall use the conference as their platform. This is why the organisers are planning to draw on artists and their work from institutions that have been supported by Tanzplan Deutschland over the past years. They are invited to explore the relation their work undergoes with social or political developments. The title of the conference paraphrases on purpose a text by Roberto Esposito. In his trilogy Communitas-Immunitas-Bios Esposito describes the reciprocity of opening and closure of social systems and of bodies alike. He tries to make this movement productive for a rethinking of the political in terms of an interweaving of communitas and immunitas - in a space where life is given a form in order to grant all bodies survival.

Ulas Atas (Frankfurt on the Main)
Ulas Aktas is cultural anthropologist and musician. Since 2009 he is associate researcher at the Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst Frankfurt on the Main. He studied sociology at the Free University Berlin. He completed his PhD on the concept of mood in 2009. He pursues interdisciplinary scientific theory in tensional relation with the following perspectives: - in view of the importance of the body in the technological and social transformation processes of present time (body thinking), - with regard to the exploitation of 'nature' for the negativity of the political (negative thinking), - in view of the importance of audiovisual media for the cultural and imaginative reproduction of the social (image thinking), - in view of the importance of the "sex" for the reproduction of power within society (gender thinking), - with regard to the meaning of post-historical civilizatory processes for the further development of the creature called "human" (creature thinking), - in view of the importance of critical social theory for the maintenance of a thinking that assumes from the suffering (critical thinking). Selected recent publications: Stimmung: Die Ästhetik kulturaler Sphären. Berlin: sine causa, 2010. “In die Musik – um die Musik – im die Musik herum.” Improvisation VI, Ed. Walter Fähndrich. Winterthur: Amadeus, 2007. n.pag. “Zu Besuch bei den Zeugen des Anderen.” Plateau 4 (2008): n.pag.

Friedrich Balke (Weimar)
Friedrich Balke is Professor for the History and Theory of Artifical Worlds at the Media Faculty, Bauhaus-University Weimar and spokesperson of the DFG-Graduate Center “Media of History – History of Media”. His areas of teaching and research focus on the cultural history of political sovereignty, governmentality and modern biopolitics, interrelations of media and forms of knowledge, aesthetic theory and French philosophy. He has held visiting professorships at Columbia University, in the Departement of Germanic Languages and Literatures, and at the University of Konstanz, in the Research Initiative “Cultural Theory and Theory of the Political Imaginary”. Friedrich Balke’s books include Der Staat nach seinem Ende: Die Versuchung Carl Schmitts. Munich: Fink, 1996. Gilles Deleuze. Frankfurt: Campus, 1998. Figuren der Souveränität. Munich: Fink, 2007 and Friedrich Balke, Harun Maye, and Leander Scholz eds. Ästhetische Regime um 1800. Munich: Fink, 2008.

Gabriele Brandstetter (Berlin)
Gabriele Brandstetter is Professor for Theatre and Dance Studies at FU Berlin. Her research focuses on the history and aesthetics of dance from the 18th century to the present; theatre and dance in modernity and avant-garde; contemporary theatre, dance and performance; theatricality and gender difference; virtuosity in art and culture; body -- image -- movement. Recent publications include: Bild-Sprung: TanzTheaterBewegung im Wechsel der Medien. Berlin: Theater der Zeit, 2005. Brandstetter, Gabriele, Bettina Brandl-Risi, and Kai van Eikels, eds. Schwarm(E)Motion: Bewegung zwischen Affekt und Masse. Freiburg: Rombach, 2007. Brandstetter, Gabriele, and Christoph Wulf, eds. Tanz als Anthropologie. München: Fink, 2007. Boehm, Gottfried, Gabriele Brandstetter, and Achatz von Müller, eds. Figur und Figuration: Studien zu Wahrnehmung und Wissen. München: Fink, 2007. Brandstetter, Gabriele, and Sybille Peters, eds. Szenen des Vorhangs – Schnittflächen der Künste, Freiburg: Rombach, 2008. Brandstetter, Gabriele, Sybille Peters, and Kai van Eikels, eds. Prognosen über Bewegungen, Berlin: bbooks, 2009.

Ramsay Burt (Leicester)
Ramsay Burt is Professor of Dance History at De Montfort University. His publications include The Male Dancer: Bodies, Spectacle, Sexualities. London: Routledge, 1995, revised 2007. Alien Bodies: Representations of Modernity, "Race" and Nation in early Modern Dance. London: Routledge, 1998. Judson Dance Theater: Performative Traces. London: Routledge, 2006. And, Briginshaw, Valerie, and Ramsay Burt. Writing Dancing Together. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009. In 1999 he was Visiting Professor at the Department of Performance Studies, New York University. With Susan Foster, he is founder editor of Discourses in Dance.

Bojana Cvejić (Brussels)
Bojana Cvejić is performance maker and theorist, working in contemporary dance and performance also as dramaturg and performer. She has published in performing arts, music, philosophy journals, magazines and anthologies and is author of two books, most recently Beyond the Musical Work: Performative practice. Belgrade: IKZS, 2007. With Jan Ritsema she has developed a theater practice in a number of performances since 1999 (a.o. TODAYulysses, 2000), and has collaborated with X. Le Roy, E. Salamon, M. Ingvartsen a.o. Her own performance work includes directing five experimental opera performances, most recently Mozart’s Don Giovanni (BITEF, Belgrade). Cvejić has been active in teaching in a number of European educational programmes (e.g., P.A.R.T.S. in Brussels), as well as organizing independent platforms for theory and practice in performance: TkH Centar (=Walking Theory Center in Belgrade), PAF (performingARTSforum in St. Erme, France) and most recently 6MONTHS1LOCATION (CCN in Montpellier). She is currently writing a PhD ("Performance after Deleuze: Creating ‘Performative’ Concepts in Contemporary Dance in Europe ") at the Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy at Middlesex University in London. Since September 2009, she is teaching contemporary dance and performance at the Utrecht University, M.A. program Theater Studies.

Mark Franko (Santa Cruz)
Mark Franko, Professor of Dance and Director of the Center for Visual and Performance Studies at the University of California at Santa Cruz, is the editor of Dance Research Journal. He is a UC President’s Research Faculty Fellow in the Humanities for 2010-2011. In 2008 he was Valeska Gert Visiting Professor for Dance And Performance at the Institut für Theaterwissenschaft, Freie Universität Berlin . His publications include: Excursion for Miracles: Paul Sanasardo, Donya Feuer, and Studio for Dance, The Work of Dance: Labor, Movement, and Identity in the 1930s, Dancing Modernism/Performing Politics. Bloomington, IN: Indiana UP, 1995 (1996 de la Torre Bueno prize Special Mention). Dance as Text: Ideologies of the Baroque Body. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1993, and The Dancing Body in Renaissance Choreography. Birmingham, AL: Summa Publications, 1986. He edited Ritual and Event: Interdisciplinary Perspectives, and co-edited Acting on the Past: Historical Performance Across the Disciplines. New York: Routledge, 2009. His choreography for NovAntiqua has been seen since the 1980s at Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors Festival, the Berlin Werkstatt Festival, Getty Center, Montpellier Opera, Toulon Art Museum, and Akademie der Künste (Berlin), and in New York and San Francisco venues. He is currently working on a book on Martha Graham.

Gabriele Klein (Hamburg)
Gabriele Klein, Sociologist, dance researcher, Professor at the University of Hamburg, Director of Performance Studies / Hamburg. Main research fields: dance studies, sociology of body movements, sociology of culture and performing arts, gender studies, urban sociology. Publications include: Monographs (in german language): Klein, Gabriele. Electronic Vibration: Pop Kultur Theorie. Wiesbaden: VS, Verlag für Sozialwiss., 2004. Klein, Gabriele, and Friedrich Malte. Is this real? Die Kultur des Hip Hop. Frankfurt a. M.: Suhrkamp, 2003. Frauenkörpertanz: Eine Zivilisationsgeschichte des Tanzes. Berlin: Beltz Quadriga, 1992. Anthologies: Ed. Tango in Translation: Tanz zwischen Medien, Kulturen, Kunst und Politik. Bielefeld: Transcript, 2009. Brandstetter, Gabriele, and Gabriele Klein, eds. Methoden der Tanzwissenschaft. Modellanalysen zu Pina Bauschs “Le Sacre du Printemps”. Bielefeld: Transcript, 2007.

Bojana Kunst (Hamburg/Ljubljana)
Bojana Kunst is a philosopher, contemporary art theoretician and DAAD visiting professor for Performance Studies at Hamburg University. She was studying in Ljubljana, Slovenia, and currently works at the University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Arts. She began to work as a young researcher in 1996 at the Faculty of Arts, Department of Philosophy - Aesthetics. With the young researcher grant from the The Ministry of Science and Technology of the Republic of Slovenia she completed in the year 1988 her Master Degree in Philosophy with the thesis The Problem of the Body in Theatre, Impossible Body. In the year 2002 she complited and defended her Ph. D. dissertation with the title Philosophy, Aesthetics and Art Between Organic and Technological, Aesthetics of the Body and the Art of Postmodernism. She has the Ph. D. from philosophy – aesthetics. Her primary research interests are the problem of the body in the contemporary performance, theatre and dance, gender studies, philosophy of the body, art and technology, art and science, theatre and dance studies, representation of contemporary identities. For a number of years she has been working as a dramaturg with different Slovenian directors and choreographers, writing for numerous international journals (Maska, Frakcija, TanzAktuell / Ballet International, Performance Research, etc.) and books, participating at conferences and festivals around Europe. She also participated as the guest lecturer in the Socrates / Erasmus seminar at the University of Antwerp in February 2002. In year 1999 she published a book The Impossible Body - Body and Machine: Theatre, Representation of the Body and Relation to the Artificial. Ljubljana: Založba Maska, 1999. From October 2002 to October 2003 she was the research fellow at the University of Antwerp, Belgium, and from January 2003 she is the researcher at the University of Ljubljana - Department of Sociology. In year 2004 she published a book Dangerous Connections - Body, Philosophy and Relationship to the Artificial. Ljubljana: Založba Maska, 2004.

André Lepecki (New York)
André Lepecki is Associate Professor in Performance Studies at New York University. Doctoral degree from NYU. Visiting Professor at Williams College (2000), and Brown University (2004). Visting Fellow at Institute Interweaving Performance Cultures, Freie Universität (2009). Independent curator for venues such as Haus der Kunst, Hayward Gallery, and Haus der Kulturen der Welt, among others. Curator of the festival IN TRANSIT -- Haus der Kulturen der Welt 2008 / 2009. Lectures delivered include Tate Modern, Centre National de la Danse, Akademie der Kunste, Museum of Modern Art, and Museo Reina Sofia. His writings appear in The Drama Review, Performance Research, Art Forum, among others in Europe, South America, the Middle East, and the United States. Received in 2008 the International Art Critics Association Award for "Best Performance" for his co-curatorial and directorial work on the re-doing of Allan Kaprow's "18 Happenings in 6 Parts." Edited the anthologies Of the Presence of the Body. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan UP, 2004. The Senses in Performance (with Sally Banes). New York: Routledge 2006; and Planes of Composition: Dance, Theory and the Global (with Jenn Joy). London: Seagull Books, 2010. His book, Exhausting Dance: Performance and Politics of Movement. New York: Routledge, 2006, has been translated into 6 languages. Currently working on a book titled Grounds of Performance and co-curating an archive on dance and visual arts for the Hayward Gallery.

Isabell Lorey (Berlin/Vienna)
Isabell Lorey, political scientist, 2010 visiting professorship at the Humboldt University, Berlin (sommer term). 2009 visiting professorship for Gender Studies, Biopolitics and Postcolonial Studies at the Faculty for Social Science, and habilitation in political science at the Vienna University. 2001-2007 assistent professor for Gender & Postcolonial Studies at the University of the Arts Berlin. Her book on Roman struggles of order, the Plebeian, concepts of community and immunization entitled "Figuren des Immunen. Elemente einer politischen Theorie" will soon be published with diaphanes (Zurich, Berlin). Recent texts on the topic of immunization: “Die Immunität Jesu: Lépra und Lepra von der Bibel bis ins Mittelalter.“ Kritik des Okzidentalismus. Eds. Gabriele Dietze et al. Bielefeld: transcript, 2009. „Weißsein und die Auffaltung des Immunen: Zur notwendigen Unterscheidung zwischen Norm und Normalisierung.“ Epistemologie und Differenz. Eds. Bettina Bock von Wülfingen, and Ute Frietsch. Bielefeld: transcript, 2010 (for a different version of the text see here). Her publications also include: "Prekarisierung als Verunsicherung und Entsetzen: Immunisierung, Normalisierung und neue Furcht erregende Subjektivierungsweisen.“ Prekarisierung zwischen Anomie und Normalisierung? Geschlechtertheoretische Bestimmungsversuch. Eds. Alexandra Manske, and Katharina Pühl. Münster: Westfälisches Dampfboot, 2010. Other recent texts on the topic of precarization: „Becoming Common: Precarization as Political Constituting.” e-flux: Searching for the Post-Capitalist-Self. June-September 2010. Web. "Virtuosität zwischen Dienstbarkeit und Exodus: Postfordistische Öffentlichkeit, soziale Produktion und politisches Handeln" fkw. Zeitschrift für Geschlechterforschung und Visuelle Kultur 49 (2010). Find more here.

Randy Martin (New York)
Randy Martin is professor and chair of the department of art and public policy at the Tisch School of the Arts, New York University where he directs the graduate program in arts politics. He is author of Performance as Political Act: The Embodied Self. New York: Bergin & Garvey, 1990. Socialist Ensembles: Theater and State in Cuba and Nicaragua. Minneapolis: Minnesota UP, 1994. Critical Moves: Dance Studies in Theory and Politics. Durham: Duke UP, 1998. On Your Marx: Relinking Socialism and the Left. Minneapolis: Minnesota UP, 2002. Financialization of Daily Life. Philadelphia: Temple UP, 2002. An Empire of Indifference: American War and the Financial Logic of Risk Management. Durham: Duke UP, 2007.

Gerald Raunig (Zurich)
Gerald Raunig, Philosopher, art theoretician; works at the Zürcher Hochschule der Künste (Departement Kunst und Medien, Vertiefung Theorie) and at the eipcp (European Institute for Progressive Cultural Policies); co-ordinator of the transnational eipcp research projects ( republicart , 2002-2005), transform ( transform , 2005-2008) and Creating Worlds , 2009-2012); habilitation and venia docendi at the Institute for Philosophy, University of Klagenfurt/A; member of the editorial board of the multilingual webjournal and transversal and the Austrian journal for radical democratic cultural politics, Kulturrisse . Recent books in English: Art and Revolution: Transversal Activism in the Long Twentieth Century. Trans. Aileen Derieg. New York/Los Angeles: Semiotext(e)/MIT Press, 2007. Raunig, Gerald, and Gene Ray, eds. Art and Contemporary Critical Practice: Reinventing Institutional Critique. London: MayFlyBooks, 2009. A Thousand Machines. Trans. Aileen Derieg. New York/Los Angeles: Semiotext(e)/MIT Press, 2010.

Petra Sabisch (Berlin)
Petra Sabisch is choreographer and philosopher. Besides her own choreographic works (last conversation piece, Berlin 2008), & diverse artistic collaborations in Paris & Berlin (Antonia Baehr, Jérôme Bel, Alice Chauchat, Frédéric Gies, Mette Ingvartsen et. al.) Sabisch received her Doctor of Philosophy (London) in 2010 with her dissertation Choreographing Relations: Practical Philosophy and Contemporary Choreograhy (in the works of Antonia Baehr, Gilles Deleuze, Juan Dominguez, Félix Guattari, Xavier Le Roy and Eszter Salamon, forthcoming 2010). Since 2005 she is involved in the development of the Performing Arts Forum PAF (St. Erme, France) & in the application of open source-strategies for the Performing Arts with the open platform Everybodys. Sabisch has published internationally and is teaching since 2009, e.g. in the M.A Choreography Stockholm (Univ. College of Dance), Kampnagel Hamburg and the dance center HZT Berlin. See also www.verandaproduction.net.

Ana Vujanović (Belgrade)
Ana Vujanović (1975 Belgrade); freelance worker – theorist, manager, lecturer, dramaturge – in contemporary performing arts and culture. Ph.D. in Theatre Studies. Editor of TkH, journal for performing arts theory, and collaborator of TkH platform for performing arts theory and practice, Belgrade (www.tkh-generator.net); from 2010 in residence in Paris, working at Les laboratories d’Aubervilliers ( www.leslaboratoires.org). Lecturer at the Interdisciplinary post-graduate studies at the University of Arts, Belgrade (Performance studies and Theory of text/textuality). Engages in many artworks: performance, theatre, dance, video... (as co-author, dramaturge, performer); and organizes and/or gives lectures and workshops at symposia, conferences, and art festivals in Europe. Her particular commitment is empowering the independent scenes in Belgrade (Other Scene), ex-Yugoslavia (Clubture, The FaMa) and in Europe (PAF). Publishes regularly in journals and anthologies. Author of the books: Razarajući označitelji/e performansa. Belgrade: SKZ, 2004. DOKSICID s-TIU/4. Novi Sad: IKZS, 2006., and Jovićević, Aleksandra, and Ana Vujanović. Uvod u studije performansa. Belgrade: Fabrika knjiga, 2007.

Elizabeth Waterhouse (Frankfurt on the Main)
Elizabeth Waterhouse was born in Albany (New York). She received her first dance education at the Albany Dance Institute at the School of American Ballet. After graduating at the Harvard University with a BA in physics she finished her dance studies at the Ohio State University with an MFA. After that she danced with the Marcus Schulkind Dance Company in Boston (2001). Since 2004 she has lived and worked in Frankfurt. She was a guest dancer with the Frankfurt Ballett and since 2005 a founding member of The Forsythe Company.

For further information about "Communications: Dance, Politics & Co-Immunity", please also visit the website of the sympsium.