Symposium: Transforming Relations

In samenwerking met het Departement Culturele Studies organiseert STUK het vak ‘Contemporary Dance & Dance Studies’. Het vak is opgevat als een introductie tot de hedendaagse dans, in theorie en praktijk. Dit jaar wordt er specifiek ingezoomd op het thema gender. De lessenreeks wordt op 26 april afgesloten met een publiek symposium Transforming Relations dat zowel gerenommeerde sprekers uit de dansstudies en gerelateerde theoretische velden, praktijk-experten en een geïnteresseerd publiek samenbrengt. Hoe speelt dans en meer bepaald choreografie een rol in het herdenken en transformeren van stereotypes over gender, seksualiteit, ras en menselijke relaties?

Met lezingen van Prof. Dr. Amelia Jones (University of Southern California) en Prof. Dr. Clare Croft (University of Michigan) en een lecture-performance van Antonia Baehr.

Het vak ‘Contemporary Dance & Dance Studies’ is opgestart vanuit het beleidsplan cultuur KU Leuven 2013-2017.

In recent years, many relations have been transforming: in the wake of the gay movement, the AIDS crisis and queer theory, negotiation and legal protection of LGBTQA rights is emerging in many countries. Likewise, differing genders and sexualities have been gaining visibility in popular culture, and black life, neurodiversity and ageing bodies are continuously arbitrated within identity politics. At the same time, these categorized differences are also what Angela McRobbie, following Deleuze, has called “luminosities”: in all, they are still perceived as divergent—a more-than-human. Heteronormativity and stereotypes of gender, sexuality, race, able-bodiedness, neurotypicality and conventional relationship patterns, remain pervasive and pernicious. This has fed into a new wave of (post-)feminism and a renewed call for empowerment, not just to young women, but to all kinds of subjects and bodies.

In another take on relationality, we might shift our attention from difference as a variation on the same, to difference as a creative differential. Each time elements coexist and coextend, their conditions are shifted toward unknown fields of relating. In their specificity they may carry initial vector qualities of what is to come, but the relation is created inthe encounter, not simply presumed beforehand. Such emergent collectivities ride a fine line between sympathy and threat: as openings for invention, they overwhelm individual boundaries and familiar patterns of interacting—fostering experience-in-the-making, they inhibit processes of categorization.

Dance, a mode of thinking through body, movement, affect and their more-thanhas been particularly responsive to such questions of relating. Many contemporary choreographers articulate a desire to explore corporeality, sexuality, power, and relations between humans and objects or humans and animals, in the shifting contexts of the 21stcentury. These artists seem especially aware that the surplus value produced when differing bodies co-emerge exceeds an addition/subtraction aimed at equivalence. Dance, as an art of the emergent, can attune to such collectivities and assemblages, without the necessity to parse and individualize those processes that made the relation transformative in the first place. Movement and stasis can create a flow in which identities are momentarily destabilized and the accompanying vulnerabilities carry a potential for composition – relations are transformed and relations transform.

We wish to explore these questions of relation, transformation and choreography, by bringing together speakers from dance studies and related theoretical fields, as well as practitioners, for a one-day symposium.

Amelia Jones is the Robert A. Day Professor and Vice Dean of Research at the Roski School of Art and Design at University of Southern California. A feminist curator and a theorist and historian of art and performance, her recent publications include Seeing Differently: A History and Theory of Identification and the Visual Arts (2012), Perform Repeat Record: Live Art in History (2012), co-edited with Adrian Heathfield, the edited volume Sexuality (2014), and, co-edited with Erin Silver, Otherwise: Imagining Queer Feminist Art Histories (2016). Her exhibition Material Traces: Time and the Gesture in Contemporary Art took place in 2013 in Montreal and she programmed the events Trans-Montréal (2015) in that city, followed by a related publication “On Trans/Performance,” a special issue of Performance Research (2016). Her Live Artists Live performance and conference program took place at USC in 2016. Jones is currently working on a retrospective of the work of Ron Athey and a book tentatively entitled In Between Subjects: A Critical Genealogy of Queer Performance.

Clare Croft is a dance historian and theorist, as well as a dramaturg and curator. She is the author of Dancers as Diplomats: American Choreography in Cultural Exchange(Oxford, 2015), a study of the U.S. State Department’s sponsorship of international dance tours as a form of cultural diplomacy. She is also the editor of the book and website Queer Dance: Meanings and Makings (Oxford, 2017), a collection of essays by scholars and artists. In connection to this volume, Croft also curates the EXPLODE: queer dance project, which began in Ann Arbor (2012-15), toured to New York (2015), and will tour nationally in 2019.

Antonia Baehr is a choreographer, performer, filmmaker and visual artist. Her works explore the fiction of the everyday and of the theatre, among other themes. She works together with various partners, frequently in the form of switching roles: from project to project, each artist alternately takes on the role of either guest or host. Baehr studied film and media arts at the Hochschule der Künste, Berlin, with Valie Export (1996) and obtained a DAAD-grant and a Merit Scholarship for the School of The Art Institute of Chicago. There she completed her Master in Performance with Lin Hixson. Since 2006, she has taught as guest professor at several European colleges. She has taken part in diverse group exhibitions (re.act.feminism, Center for Contemporary Arts Estonia Tallinn, Museo de Arte do Rio, MACBA Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art, et al.); in 2012 the Neue Kunstverein Gießen showed her work in a solo exhibition. From 2006 to 2008 Antonia Baehr was associate artist at the Laboratoires d’Aubervilliers. From March to May 2013, The Beursschouwburg, Brussels, presented a programme comprising performances and films as well as an exhibition: “make up: at Antonia Baehr and Werner Hirsch’s table”. The works shown included those of artists who have worked over many years in various roles together with Hirsch and Baehr, as well as numerous works by Hirsch und Baehr themselves. In 2008, her book “Rire / Laugh / Lachen” was published, and “Abedecarium Bestiarium – Portraits of affinities in animal metaphors” was published in 2014. Her long-term collaborators include William Wheeler, Valérie Castan and Lindy Annis, among others, and more recently Neo Hülcker and Latifa Laâbissi. Her productions for the stage encompass “Holding Hands” (2001); “Un après-midi” (2003); “Cat Calendar” (2004), with Antonija Livingstone; “Larry Peacock” (2005), coproduced by Andrea Neumann and Sabine Ercklentz; “Merci” (2006); “Rire / Laugh / Lachen” (2008); “Over The Shoulder” (2009); “For Faces” (2010); “My Dog is My Piano” (2012); “Abedecarium Bestiarium” (2013); “The Wildes” (2014), coproduced by Keren Ida Nathan (Ida Wilde) and Henry Wilde (Antonia Baehr); "Misses and Mysteries" (2015), with Valérie Castan (2015); "Normal Dance" (2016), "Röhrentier" (2016) and "Exit" (2018). In collaboration with Sabine Ercklentz, Baehr produced “Abecedarium Bestiarium. Affinitäten in Tiermetaphern”, a feature for WDR 3 that was broadcast in February 2015; and in June 2015, “Misses und Mysterien” was broadcast as a radio play on WDR 3. Baehr is the producer of the horse whisperer and dancer Werner Hirsch, the musician and choreographer Henri Fleur, the composer Henry Wilt and the aspirant New Music composer and ex-husband Henry Wilde.

vr 26 apr 14:00


STUK Auditorium