Womxn in Motion: The making and unmaking of the world through movement and movements

Womxn in Motion: The making and unmaking of the world through movement and movements

Institute Art Gender Nature, Basel Academy of Art and Design FHNW

Womxn in Motion, 2020. Design: Ana Domínguez.

October 5, 2020
Womxn in Motion: The making and unmaking of the world through movement and movements

Symposium: October 7–8, 2020
Institute Art Gender Nature, Basel Academy of Art and Design FHNW
Freilager-Platz 1
4002 Basel
Instagram / Facebook

Guests: Kat Anderson, Julieta Aranda, Barbara Casavecchia, Mayra A. Rodríguez Castro, Pan Daijing, Dorota Gawęda and Eglė Kulbokaitė, Ingela Ihrman, Pauline Curnier Jardin, Bhanu Kapil, Lynne Kouassi, Isabel Lewis, Tessa Mars, Sonia Fernández Pan, Sadie Plant, Martina-Sofie Wildberger

Moderated by Quinn Latimer and Chus Martínez
Research Assistant: Alice Wilke

The symposium will be held in English and will be streamed live. More information, program and live stream available online

“Womxn in Motion” is dedicated to ideas and iterations of performance, and to the way in which its embodied practices—its bodies—are often framed or received by narrow notions not only of gender, race, class, geography, and technology, but of what performance itself means and entails: a body in motion, for example. Whose body, though, and what kind of movement? Movement is always both, suggesting something singular—a body in tender, private effort—and something collective. Picture a “demonstration” (in every sense) of bodies in communal action, in solidarity, in some street. Picture bodies on some stage (itself a street, perhaps); now feel yourself among them. This symposium, then, is dedicated not only to the practices of artists and thinkers who engage bodies (their own or others) and corporeal movement in their work, but to those social movements built on a collective body demanding collective change together.

If injustice is predicated on creating and instituting bodies that do not matter, performance—and all its variously embodied practices—is the medium where, critically, new forms of justice, space, and critique have often emerged. Presence, proximity, voice, movement, and performative relations (both online and off) are the tools by which many contemporary artists, in unprecedented ways, continue to explore how to create equitable space for our ever-regulated, dully delimited bodies. This symposium will serve those practices, examining how performance has become the means by which so many artists reflect on and denounce political systems that foster inequity, violence, and binary relations at their core. 

Performance remains the way in which many artists bring their dissent into the art and cultural context, reclaiming care and the right to address the collective as a body, as an organism that can synchronize and act against pain. Performance can allow for an exploration of the universalist role of the viewer that Modernism promised, and our cultural institutions reinforce. Too, performance has historically been a key force in radically transforming our inheritance—political, social, cultural, biological, technological—for the body in motion can challenge us to accept responsibility for social injustice and the conditions that allow it to flourish. Finally, the movement or blocked movement of the singular and collective body is a reminder of the physical suffering that underpins progress as measured in a capitalist society. 

At the Art Institute HGK FHNW, “Womxn in Motion” will explore performance in all its forms: from dance, poetry, music, sound, and the moving image, to participatory social actions and institutional critique, to writing, reading, and orality. The symposium will feature performances as well as critical and conversational reflections by the invited artists and thinkers on how both their work, and their ideas of what performance and its unique poetics denotes and might one day become, has evolved. Thinkers Sadie Plant and Barbara Casavecchia will offer keynotes against speculation and for an embodied and entangled art and politics, while performances by Isabel Lewis, Dorota Gawęda and Eglė Kulbokaitė, Pan Daijing, Lynne Kouassi, and Martina-Sofie Wildberger will variously consider the politics of encounter and participation; technologies of language, sound, and silence; and the aesthetics of catharsis. A new film by Kat Anderson offers a collection of audio/visual notes on oppression, Black liberation, and the white imagination, while Bhanu Kapil will send a new series of notes on shame and performance and Mayra A. Rodríguez Castro will read from recent work. Finally, talks and screenings by Julieta Aranda, Tessa Mars, Ingela Ihrman, Pauline Curnier Jardin, and Sonia Fernández Pan will explore the performances demanded by practices and lives devoted to image- and world-making.

“Womxn in Motion” is the fourth Master symposium at the Art Institute within a series dedicated to new forms and ideas of artistic practice, gender, language, and social justice. An essential ambition for this series of seminars from its inception in 2018 has been to talk about the subjects at hand—that is, contemporary art practices and the singular and social lives such practices might alter and be altered by—in languages of clarity, virtuosity, respect, intelligence, and love. We aim to practice the very values that might produce the emergence of a different, and more just, artistic and social order.

The symposium “Womxn in Motion” is a collaboration with Instituto Susch / Art Stations Foundation CH and Grażyna Kulczyk.

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Institute Art Gender Nature, Basel Academy of Art and Design FHNW
October 5, 2020

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