Symposium: Mediating Immediacy: Choreographing Affect

Symposium: Mediating Immediacy: Choreographing Affect

The image used for the symposium (the ‘hands up, don’t shoot’ gesture from Black Lives Matter manifestations) is an example of how bodies may try to protest and mediate the 'immediate' affective energies with which they respond to each other as they attempt/resist moving and feeling together in shared spaces.

With Theory of Contemporary Dance Kunstencentrum STUK and KU Leuven join forces to deliver a diverse series of classes introducing students and the wider public to contemporary dance theory. The course starts with an introduction to dance history and several of the most important historical theoretical concepts, as well as contemporary dance theory, particularly in relation to cultural studies. During several guest lectures we then zoom in on a number of current debates taking place within the contemporary dance world. Prominent dance practitioners and theoreticians will be invited for these events.

The students will have the opportunity to put their newly acquired theoretical knowledge into practice while attending a selection of performances at STUK. In addition to these performances, choreographers such as Marc Vanrunxt, Lisbeth Gruwez and Wim Vandekeybus will join the students in conversation in the form of public talks.

The program will close with a symposium entitled Mediating Immediacy: Choreographing Affect. Here, we will explore how choreography can produce a space in which to negotiate affect – a concept that has attracted great attention at the intersection of the humanities, social sciences and cognitive studies in the past decades. In short, affect denotes basic, psycho-bodily energies that are produced in encounters of lived bodies and environments and influence one’s capacity to act or move. While those energetic intensities are frequently described as non-conscious and happening immediately, we raise the question whether this implies that they are also unmediated. Is there a necessary contradiction between choreographic technique – which can suggest notions of mastery and reproducibility – and affect – often associated with (active) passivity and immediacy? What can ‘structures of feeling’ tell us about structures of power and a politics of moving/feeling bodies? Does choreography carry the potential to critically research which energies appear between moving bodies in relation, and can it intervene to reconfigure such affective production for the future?

With Ben Anderson, Cécile Guédon and Erin Manning as our speakers, we bring together three international experts from the discipline of affect studies. They will approach the above questions on mediating the immediate each from their own perspective, addressing not only how affect can be choreographed in a more narrow sense (choreography as the scoring of movement for a danced performance), but locating, as well, choreography in the social sphere of everyday interactions.

The symposium will close with Alma Söderberg’s performance Nadita.
The guest lectures, public talks and mini-symposium will all take place at STUK and are open to the public.


14:00 - 14:10: Introduction 
14:10 - 15:00: Cécile Guédon, Articulating Modernity: Choreographing Abstraction
15:00 - 15:50: Erin Manning, A Manifesto for Immediation

15:50 - 16u:20: Coffee break

16:20 - 17:10: Ben Anderson, Neoliberal Structures of Feeling

17:10 - 18:00: Round table discussion  

20:30: Performance: Alma Söderberg, Nadita


You can read and/or download the abstracts and bios below.


STUK Soetezaal
Wed 17 May 201714:00 - 18:00

FREE without reservation

Abstracts & bios available here 

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