1st conversation

present via videocall: Kathleen, Marie

How do we sum up the project?

We were saying very often women are taught to look after others, to pay attention to others, but do not pay attention to other women or only for competition, evaluation etc. Trying to find this “feminist body” in dance means as women to pay attention to the bodies, gestures, movements of other women with surprise – like when we see someone doing something for the first time, filling up the gaps of what it means to see a woman standing her own ground in all kinds of unexpected ways.

What kind of material are we going to use?

In the application we talked only about official archives, but it seems to make sense to use non-official sources, since the history of women is usually unofficial, discreet, hidden. The only restriction to using non-authorised documents (phone footage, private videos and pictures etc.) would be the anonymity of the people filmed and the lack of context – when, where etc. But better for now to have too much material than not enough I imagine.

Ethical questions:

If we find inspiring and surprising material including women who are not represented in our research group as it is now, how do we handle this material? What would it mean for example to extract movements from an archive with a disabled person and to start a research based on this movement, research that is then recorded, while we are not disabled? Where does appropriation start? Same question goes for classes: if we say that this archive is meant for artists (is it?) what does it mean to extract something from real working-class movements to make it into a fragment of dance? Is that ethical? Does not sound so at first. This problem is usually resolved in performance by simply being dissolved in the research and the sources hidden, but since we are, from an archive, creating another archive, what is our paradigm exactly?

The position of learning:

We are learning from the women’s experiences we see caught on camera or pictures, maybe the beginning of an answer as to our ethical position.

The format of the archive:

The archive is mostly the archive of the winner, of the coloniser, of men… it often still carry this ideology of cutting up the reality into bite-size categories. There’s the tree model, like for species, with its evolution into a phylogenetic tree. It’s an exciting challenge for our project to think how we could avoid reproducing the exact same philosophy of the reality as something splittable, digestible, containing a sort of innate hierarchy. How do we create and archive, videos, that respect also the uniqueness of the material we have? That contains an element of growth in its form? That doesn’t deaden, but revives? That avoids hierarchies and Schuhbladen?

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