Summer update

Summer update

If I Can’t Dance, I Don’t Want To Be Part Of Your Revolution

Attachment, 2011. Image taken from the performance ‘Business proposal’ by Hito Steyerl.

July 3, 2011

With news about
Jeremiah Day
Sung Hwan Kim
Wendelien van Oldenborgh
Hito Steyerl
Emily Wardill
and Performance in Residence

Westerdok 606-608
1013 BV Amsterdam
The Netherlands

info [​at​]

If I Can’t Dance has just returned from a visit to the Wyspa Institute of Art in Gdansk, where we presented presentations and performances by the five commissioned artists of Edition IV, highlighting the current phase of production of each artist, and anticipating what is to come next. The gathering, moderated by curator Jacob Korczynski, provided a platform for exchange and discussion between the artists and the audience and made manifest the relations and correspondences between works. Following the meeting at Wyspa, all the artists are back at work and will present their final works this fall and winter.

During the period of Edition IV (2010–2012), If I Can’t Dance is considering different approaches to theories of affect—a notion that not only concerns our emotional and emphatic relations with others, but also our ability to act and the possibilities for freedom or ‘manoeuvrability.’ If I Can’t Dance would like to explore these aspects of affect in artistic practice and research. Our engagement with this theoretical concept emerges from our longstanding dedication to examining the fields of performativity and feminism(s). If I Can’t Dance began researching affect with the exhibition Art Sheffield (Life: a User’s Manual) in 2010. We have further explored the notion in our monthly Reading Group and in the workshops we conduct at the Dutch Art Institute/MFA ArtEZ.

If I Can’t Dance’s interest in affect can be understood as a field of research that illuminates and intensifies our projects, allowing for connections to be made where relevant. Within this context, each commissioned artist follows his or her own research path.

Projects in development
Wendelien van Oldenborgh’s new project is the final in a triptych of works that looks at performativity and cultural production in terms of female agency, within the context of the current economic shift from industrial labour to affective labour. She will be working on site in Brazil in the coming months. Sung Hwan Kim is developing a new production that further explores aspects of sensuality and materiality, in collaboration with musician and singer David Michael DiGregorio, during a working period in Amsterdam this summer. Hito Steyerl continues her research into feeling in relation to power, in a work on epistolary affect and romance scams involving artworks on the internet. Emily Wardill is currently shooting the last scenes of her new film, about a woman who constructs a house to accommodate the ghosts of people killed by the guns from her father’s firearm company. The work stands in the tradition of melodrama and is a collaborative effort that developed out of workshops with precarious groups in society. Jeremiah Day appropriates historical incidents to serve as allegories that might shed light upon broader philosophical and political questions, working within what Hannah Arendt called the ‘web of human relationships’ and taking ruins from the cold war as his departure point.

Performance in Residence
Parallel to these commissions, If I Can’t Dance has introduced a new programme titled Performance in Residence, which aims to connect archival research to practice. Performance in Residence ‘hosts’ a performance-related (body of) work for a substantial period of time, allowing a researcher to engage in an in-depth inquiry.

If I Can’t Dance has so far initiated research trajectories with Guy de Cointet & Marie de Brugerolle; Isidoro Valcárcel Medina & Bulegoa z/b; Flávio de Carvalho & Inti Guerrero; and Matt Mullican & Vanessa Desclaux. Marie de Brugerolle is working towards a collaborative restaging of Guy de Cointet’s play Five Sisters and in her research analyzes light as a producer of emotion. Five Sisters will premiere at Frascati Theater in Amsterdam this fall, and tour to STUK in Leuven, MUSAC in Léon and America and Britain in 2012. The Spanish collective Bulegoa z/b works closely with Isidoro Valcárcel Medina, an artist who is known for establishing affective relations with his audience through his work. Their research revolves around a new work by Valcárcel Medina, and considers how his undocumented performances from the past entail an ‘act of belief’. Inti Guerrero’s research focuses on Flávio de Carvalho’s exploration of crowd psychology, individual subjectivity and the body in connection with the dancer Josephine Baker. Vanessa Desclaux investigates the hypnosis performances of Matt Mullican. In a dialogue with the artist, Desclaux concentrates her research on his interest in acts of empathy, personification, and the construction of characters in the field of theatre. Mullican himself is developing these interests in a new production, and in the fall will lead a masterclass in Amsterdam. The introductions of these four research projects took place over the last months in different venues in Amsterdam; the outcomes will be presented in fall/winter 2011-2012 in the Netherlands and abroad.

The projects of all these commissioned artists and researchers share an interest in the construction of subjectivity in relation to the people around us, and a sensibility towards the negotiation of intimate feeling in the public sphere. These projects are defined by long-term commitments and an enthusiasm to collaborate with others, expressing precisely If I Can’t Dance’s method of working from its inception in 2005.

If I Can’t Dance, I Don’t Want To Be Part Of Your Revolution
If I Can’t Dance, I Don’t Want To Be Part Of Your Revolution produces art works and thematic programmes. Departing from a spirit of open questioning and long term enquiry with artists, If I Can’t Dance is dedicated to exploring the evolution and typology of performance and performativity in contemporary art.

Emma Goldman’s famous quote “If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be part of your revolution” is a source of inspiration for us in exploring critical and celebratory dimensions in contemporary performative art practice and in curatorial and theoretical practice. We like to embrace Emma Goldman’s statement, as it suggests that the search for agency and the potential for empowerment lies in all elements of life and cannot be regulated within a firmly cordoned-off arena called the political. It is also embedded and reflected in art.

If I Can’t Dance – Frédérique Bergholtz, Director; Hans Schamlé, Financial Director; Tanja Baudoin, Head of Discursive Programme; Sara Carels, Production manager and Marcel van den Berg, Head of Communications.

The five artist commissions will be finalized and presented to the public in fall/winter 2011 in collaboration with our partner institutions M HKA in Antwerp; Site Gallery in Sheffield and Wyspa Institute of Art in Gdansk. The commissions are co-produced by City Projects; The Serpentine Gallery and Tate Modern in London; Galerie Wilfried Lentz in Rotterdam; Stedelijk Museum and Straat van Sculpturen in Amsterdam.

The Performance in Residence projects are developed in collaboration with CAM/Contemporary Art Museum in St. Louis; Frascati Theatre, Stedelijk Museum and hetveem theater in Amsterdam; MOMA/The Museum of Modern Art in New York; MUSAC/Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León in Leon and STUK Kunstencentrum in Leuven.

If I Can’t Dance’s programme is generously supported by the Mondriaan Foundation and the Culture Programme of the European Union, as well as by the Amsterdam Fund for the Arts; the Danish Arts Council; Etant Donnees; Film London; the Guy de Cointet Estate and the Netherlands Foundation for Visual Arts, Design and Architecture.

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July 3, 2011

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