(UN)SETTLED. PERFORMANCE, PROTECTION, AND POLITICS OF INSECURITY
In the radical self-care, anti-discrimination and anti-racist body-based practices of conflict management and healing, settling the body is one of the primary aspects to begin the process of coming back to the body. In performative and dance practices as well settling the body is a crucial moment in working with the body.
These practices of settling the body, as private and intimate as they might appear at first glance, bear a (micro-)political meaning. They also disclose body-based connections between artistic, social and activist practices. The possibility of settling down is unequally distributed, so that some bodies are forcefully dispossessed of their basic capacities to maintain themselves: to breath, to be attentive, to settle in the space and time, etc. From this perspective, the practice of settling the body as an embodied and visceral process shows to be connected to the political and social field. It appears to be the battlefield of several current conflicts around the protection and security of the bodies, where some bodies get systematically unsettled through continuous violence, agitation and aggression (social, economic, environmental); while to the others, the capacity to settle is offered in the excess.
The lecture series inquires into different aspects and dimensions of settling in (in the world, in the community, in relations, in environments) as well as different modalities of unsettling the bodies (by lack of protection, because of racism and sexism). It examines the consequences of denying the possibility to move through coercive detention or internation, in order to outline the functioning of current politics of insecurity by its operating on an intimate and visceral level.
Departing from this socio-political background the lectures will also address questions about the role of artistic practices. Can art and performance challenge such body-based inequality and unequal distribution of the capacity to be/have a body? What does it take to maintain a body, to settle in the body, and, also in light of experiences of exposure and disintegration, to sustain it through relating to other? How can performance not only contest the normativity and hierarchy of embodiments, but also makes us more attuned and sensible, and settled for the experience of bodies?
The lectures will be online. Each session starts at 18:30 CET.
Accompanying this semester's lecture series, there will also be a seminar available for HTA students. For more information regarding the seminar, please see below.
This HTA Ringvorlesung is connected to BODIES, UN-PROTECTED, the International Program on Bodies, Art and Protection at Künstlerhaus Mousonturm, running from October 2021 till June 2022.
Prof. Dr. Bojana Kunst, Institute for Applied Theater Studies, JLU Giessen
Prof. Dr. Sandra Noeth, HZT, UDK, Berlin
Prof. Dr. Francesca Raimondi, Art Academy Düsseldorf,
Anna Wagner, Mousonturm, Frankfurt
(UN)SETTLED. PERFORMANCE, PROTECTION, AND POLITICS OF INSECURITY
Prof. Dr. Bojana Kunst
The seminar will be linked to the lectures in the HTA Ringvorlesung (Un)settled. Performance, protection, and politics of insecurity. We will read texts from the participating lecturers and get to know their works, artistic and theoretical ones. The topic of the Ringvorlesung is related to the language and practices we often use when meditating or starting to work in choreography and dance: we very often say we have first to settle (to settle in the body, in the environment, in the space etc.). At the same time settling and unsettling are crucial notions in decolonial theory, in the anti-racism discourse and are strong concepts in the works of invited speakers. In the radical self-care, anti-discrimination and anti-racist body-based practices of conflict management and healing, settling the body is one of the primary aspects to begin the process of coming back to the body. In performative and dance practices as well, settling the body is a crucial moment in working with the body. It seems that the practices of settling and unsettling are opening up the battlefield for many current conflicts around the protection and security of the bodies, where some bodies get systematically unsettled through continuous violence, agitation and aggression (social, economic, environmental); while to the others, the capacity to settle is offered in the excess.
In the seminar we will research connections between social and political discourses on (un)settling and practices of (un)settling we are using in the performance. How can performance not only contest the normativity and hierarchy of embodiments, but also makes us more attuned and sensible, and (un)settled for the experience of bodies?
If you would like to visit the seminar, you also have to visit the Ringvorlesung.
All the lectures and the seminar are online.
Here is the schedule of the Seminar and Ringvorlesung:
21.10. / 10 – 12.00 Introduction (CET)
28.10. / 10 – 12.00 Seminar (CET)
28.10. / 18.30: Ringvorlesung (CET): Bayo Akomolafe
Becoming Black - The Colonial Grammar of Settlement and the Promise of Fugitive Flight
04.11. / 10 – 12.00 Seminar (CET)
11.11. / 18.30 Ringvorlesung (CET): Elizabeth A. Povinelli
Heritability and the Ancestral Present
18.11. / 10.00 – 12.00 Seminar (CET)
25.11. / 10.00 – 12.00 Seminar (CET)
25.11. / 18.30 Ringvorlesung (CET): Valeria Graziano
The pragmatics of by-production: on approximation, illegalism and other peripatetic methods
02.12. / 10.00 – 12.00 Seminar (CET)
09.12. / 10.00 – 12.00 Seminar (CET)
09.12. / 18.30 Ringvorlesung (CET): Michael Turinsky
Precarious Mobilizations: A crip choreographer`s perspective on settling / unsettling / resettling
16.12. / 10.00 – 12.00 Seminar (CET)
13.01. / 10.00 – 12.00 Seminar (CET)
13.01. / 18.30 Ringvorlesung (CET): Elsa Dorlin
Rise up. Insurgent grammar and security ideology
20.01. / 10.00 – 12.00 Seminar (CET)
27.01. / 10.00. – 12.00 Seminar (CET)
27.01 / 18.30 Ringvorlesung (CET): Ritu Sarin & Tenzing Sonam
Burning against the Dying of the Light, the Body as Site of Radical Protest
03.02. / 10.00 – 12.00 Seminar (CET)
03.02. / 18.30 Ringvorlesung (CET): Ariella Aïsha Azoulay
The colonial predicament of colonized bodies
10.02. / 10.00 – 12.00 Seminar (CET)
Students who want to participate in both lecture series and seminar, please register via your university's student portals or contact the person in charge respectively. You then will be provided with the access links accordingly.
People who only join the lecture series' Zoom sessions, please login by using the following link and login data:
HTA | Lecture Series Winter Term 2021/2022 | (UN)SETTLED. PERFORMANCE, PROTECTION, AND POLITICS OF INSECURITY
Meeting-ID: 821 9266 1889
Access Code: 025612
Session start: 18.30 (CET)
BECOMING BLACK - THE COLONIAL GRAMMAR OF SETTLEMENT AND THE PROMISE OF FUGITIVE FLIGHT
The performing arts draw our attention to the body - inviting us to focus on "its" demands, its vivacity, and its vibrant place within a politics that tends to treat language and discourse as the be-all and end-all of how the world comes to matter. Part of the wisdom of the arts is, however, to disturb the body and its enacted boundaries, to stray from the edges allocated to it, to trouble its stability and security, and to allow for spills and new ethical formulations. In a time of racialized tensions when certain bodies, not-quite-human and nonhuman, are rendered incapable, disabled, beleaguered, insecure and inadequate by the intensities and libidinal forces of white modernity, what might the arts contribute to the desire for decolonial futures? In this talk exploring his concept of becoming black, Bayo Akomolafe suggests that the insecurity of minoritarian bodies - often rectified within a politics of inclusivity - are desirous overtures to other sites of power that exceed the algorithms of state-sponsored justice. If to be unsettled is to resist the intelligibility of the colonial and to be recalibrated to generative/hospitable depths, how might the arts teach us to become unsettled, to become black?
Bayo Akomolafe is a Nigerian philosopher, activist and lecturer. He was born in 1983 into a Christian home, and to Yoruba parents in western Nigeria. Losing his diplomat father to a sudden heart complication, Bayo became a reclusive teenager, seeking to get to the “heart of the matter” as a response to his painful loss. He sought to apply himself to the extremes of his social conditioning, his faith, and his eventual training as a clinical psychologist – only to find that something else beyond articulation was tugging at his sleeves, wanting to be noticed. After meeting with traditional healers as part of his quest to understand trauma, mental wellbeing and healing in new ways, his deep questions and concerns for decolonized landscapes congealed into a life devoted to exploring the nuances of a “magical” world “too promiscuous to fit neatly into our fondest notions of it.” He is the Executive Director and Chief Curator for The Emergence Network (A Post-Activist Project] and host of the online writing course, ‘We will dance with Mountains: Writing as a Tool for Emergence’.
HERITABILITY AND THE ANCESTRAL PRESENT
This talk presents a series of parallel moments in the ancestral present of of two clans in order to probe the relationship between Indigeneity and white nativism in the context of settler colonialism. It approaches a turn in the politics of difference by tracking how two sets of clans have moved through historical forms of the ancestral present, namely, changing imaginaries of social form, time, and heritability; and how these imaginaries emerge from and materially sediment into human bodies and the more-than-human world. The clans are, on the one hand, the Simonaz clan, patronym, Povinelli, and Bartolot clan, patronym, Ambrosi from Carisolo, Trentino; and, on the other hand, the totemic clans of the Karrabing that stretch along the coastal region of Anson Bay, Northern Territory, Australia. Each set has been absorbed into monarchical empires and liberal nationalisms; each has moved through forms of settler colonialism and white nativism. Neither are reducible to a national form, but nor are their relations to settler colonialism the same. Thus both continue my interest in the dynamics between colonialism and liberal governance—how the European conquest of the western Atlantic and Pacific continues to transform modes of liberal governance long after the first colonial fleets disgorged their armies, explorers, and settlers.
Elizabeth A. Povinelli is a critical theorist and filmmaker. Her critical writing has focused on developing a critical theory of late settler liberalism that would support an anthropology of the otherwise. This potential theory has unfolded across five books, numerous essays, and a thirty-five years of collaboration with her Indigenous colleagues in north Australia including, most recently, six films they have created as members of the Karrabing Film Collective. Her recent books Geontologies: A Requiem to Late Liberalism was the 2017 recipient of the Lionel Trilling Book Award and The Cunning of Recognition was a Art Forum Best Book of the Year.
THE PRAGMATICS OF BY-PRODUCTION: ON APPROXIMATION, ILLEGALISM AND OTHER PERIPATETIC METHODS
In this presentation, I wish to share my work in progress piecing together a theory of byproduction. My starting hypothesis is that the mode of existence of certain concrete and theoretical objects can indeed be comprehended only if we consider them as byproducts, that is, as lateral effects of processes geared to produce something else. While recent ecological thought brought the value of byproducts to the fore, for instance in centering the importance of up-cycling and circularity in economy, byproduction as a distinctive regime of practice that involves bodies in oblique entanglements with their appetites and their environments, remains under-theorized. However, I suspect it could offer a way to sidestep some contemporary aporias of theories of production and reproduction and make available a different ethical-aesthetic horizon for practices geared towards political change.
Valeria Graziano is a theorist and organizer. Her work focuses on cultural and technical practices that foster the refusal of work in its interconnected dimensions of a redistribution of social reproduction and the politicization of pleasure. Over the years, she has been involved in numerous action research initiatives across the cultural sector and social movements.
PRECARIOUS MOBILIZATIONS: A CRIP CHOREOGRAPHER`S PERSPECTIVE ON SETTLING / UNSETTLING / RESETTLING
[More information on this lecture's topic will follow soon.]
Michael Turinsky lives and works as a choreographer, performer and theoretician in Vienna. His interest focuses on an engagement with the specific phenomenology of the body, marked as disabled, its specific being-in-the world, its relation to temporality and rhythm, affect and affect production, gender and sexuality, visibility and invisibility; as well as on a rigorous engagement with discourses around the productive tension between politics and aesthetics. Between 1998 und 2005 he studied philosophy at the University of Vienna. As a performer he collaborated with, amongst others, Bert Gstettner, Barbara Kraus, Robin Dingemans and Mick Bryson and Doris Uhlich ("Ravemachine", awarded the Nestroy Special Prize 2017). Michael Turinsky held lectures and workshops a. o. at the universities of Linz and Salzburg, at the College Art Association in New York, at Tanzquartier Wien as well as in the frame of the Impulstanz-Festival and he published in various journals. www.michaelturinsky.org
RISE UP. INSURGENT GRAMMAR AND SECURITY IDEOLOGY
[More information on this lecture's topic will follow soon.]
Elsa Dorlin is a professor for contemporary political philosophy at the University Jean Jaurès in Toulouse. Her focus, throughout her career, has been the relations between violence, gender, and race, with an emphasis on gender and sexuality in postcolonial studies. She was Visiting Associate Professor at the Critical Theory Program of the University of California, Berkeley (2010-2011). A specialist in the philosophy of Michel Foucault, Dorlin’s research also focuses on black feminist epistemology and Fanonian phenomenology. In 2009, she won the bronze medal of the CNRS for her work on feminist theory and philosophy of gender. Her book Se défendre: une philosophie de la violence (2017) in which she considers the question of violence from the standpoint of minorities that have recently suffered from discrimination, was awarded the Frantz Fanon Book Prize (2018) and the Prix de l`Écrit Social 2019, and has been recently translated into German Selbstverteidigung. Eine Philosophie der Gewalt, Frankfurt a.M., suhrkamp, 2020).
BURNING AGAINST THE DYING OF THE LIGHT, THE BODY AS SITE OF RADICAL PROTEST
Since February 2009, an estimated 155 Tibetans have self-immolated in Tibet. Of these, 133 are known to have died. The whereabouts and condition of those who survived are still largely unknown. While many of those who set fire to themselves were monks and nuns, they also included teachers, students, herdsmen and farmers. The youngest was 15 years old. The self-immolations usually occurred in public spaces – on street corners, outside places of worship – in full view of passers-by. They were acts of protest and they were intended to be witnessed. The actions of the self-immolators in Tibet could similarly be seen to be taking place in the service of a noble goal, fully congruent with the Buddhist ideal of sacrificing oneself for a larger goal that benefits many. Here self-immolation becomes the only action available to protest and draw attention to the increasingly intolerable situation in Tibet, one where all other avenues of peaceful protest have been brutally shut down. Burning the self is transformed into a political action to save a nation. Our lecture for the “Bodies, (un)settled” series will be based on our multimedia installation, Burning Against the Dying of the Light, which was our attempt to respond to and make sense of the self-immolation movement in Tibet. It was exhibited, first at Khoj Studios in New Delhi in 2015 and then as part of Contour Biennale 8 in 2017. Our talk will include photographs, video excerpts, last testaments and fragments of poetry that were presented as part of the installation.
Indian-Tibetan filmmakers and artists Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam are based in Dharamshala, India. They have been working together for more than 30 years. Their work includes award-winning films and art installations. A recurring subject in their work is Tibet, with which they have been intimately involved; personally, politically and artistically. Their documentary, The Sun Behind the Clouds (2009), won the Vaclav Havel Award at the One World Film Festival in Prague. Their Tibetan-language feature films, Dreaming Lhasa (2005) and The Sweet Requiem (2018) premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. Their art work has shown widely, including at: Berlinale Forum Expanded, Contour Biennale, Busan Biennale, Mori Art Museum, Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary and Khoj Studios. They are also the directors of the Dharamshala International Film Festival, which they founded in 2012 and is now one of India’s leading independent film festivals.
THE COLONIAL PREDICAMENT OF COLONIZED BODIES
Any of the Arab-looking girls in some postcards sent from Algeria in the early 20th century, could have been my ancestor. In 1850, a British traveler who visited one of the embroidery schools in colonized Algeria reported: “there were several little Jewesses squatting most amicably among the Mauresques, conspicuous only by their simpler robe of colored stuff and a conical cap of red velvet, tipped with gold lace.” The photographs I have of my grandmother in Algeria, taken a few decades later, show her already as a French-looking woman, a Jewish Arab who has learned the lesson of Frenchness these schools were established to impart. Where did my great-great grandmother, who was a native Algerian and could have been one of these girls, disappear to? This lesson of Frenchness, standardization, eradication has a name in French: laïcité. The term “secularism” doesn’t quite capture the stripping bare the worldliness, or being-in-the-world, of a person, which laïcité requires. Part of solving the “Jewish question” in Europe required the refashioning Jews as secular Europeans (who could still be “Jews” at home) before they could go in public. With the French conquest of Algeria, the Jews were singled out from the Arabs and were made into a “problem,” forced to get rid of what identified them as indigenous, so that a few decades later the colonial regime could reward them for their efforts with the gift of French citizenship. The lecture will explore some aspects of the colonial predicament of the decolonization of bodies.
Ariella Aïsha Azoulay, professor of Modern Culture and Media and Comparative Literature, film essayist and curator of archives and exhibitions. Her books include: Potential History – Unlearning Imperialism (Verso, 2019), Civil Imagination: The Political Ontology of Photography (Verso, 2012), The Civil Contract of Photography (Zone Books, 2008) and From Palestine to Israel: A Photographic Record of Destruction and State Formation, 1947-1950 (Pluto Press 2011). Among her films: Un-documented: Unlearning Imperial Plunder (2019), Civil Alliances, Palestine, 47-48 (2012). Among her exhibitions Errata (Tapiès Foundation, 2019, HKW, Berlin, 2020), and Enough! The Natural Violence of New World Order, (F/Stop photography festival, Leipzig, 2016).