attempts at living

to make a system out of delusions

Tag: dance

Bifo, contemporary dance, and politics

Excerpt from an interview between Franco ‘Bifo’ Berardi and a dance group who ran for the Canadian Presidency.

We are a group and we mainly come from performance/contemporary dance. At some point we couldn’t avoid anymore to raise a fundamental question for our art. What is the point to do our performances in the theatre, what is the point to add another spectacle in this society of generalized spectacle? Based on this question we started what we call postspectacle practice, with the intention to go with our skills and knowledge as performers and makers on the main stages – mass media and politics.

Taken from biosorcery bog



Choreography as a political concept.

If I can’t dance, it’s not my revolution!, anarchist and feminist Emma Goldman was reported to have proclaimed.

Bodies in space creating their relationship to space.

The sovereign/power/capital/whatever as the choreographer and the bodies in the administrative space as analogous to dancers.

Choreographic space is not overdetermined or overdetermining but is mutated by the movement of actual bodies in the production/mutation of an only-ever ideally administered space.

Between the choreographer, the body of the dancer, and the production of choreographic (administered) and danced (embodied, lived) spaces their are multiple moments of agental autonomy.

Dance, as a non-verbal, non-linguistic aesthetic does not privilege textural, discursive, or ideological models of critique (although it may include these features).

The figure of the choreographer translates a concept of transcendent cognitive authority back into an immanent, relational and always itself struggling object that orchestrates what is visible without itself necessarily being visible.

The dancer, as a body-without-image and a body-in-motion, is unidentifiable with any subject-position or frozen moment but only with and through their own trajectory.

The dancer necessarily mutates aesthetic regimes in her movement.

The dancer does not passively #Occupy! space but is involved in the continuous reproduction, renegotiation and creation of multiple spaces.

That dance is not simply movement but movements with rhythm implies that the body of the dancer does not simply generate space but also time. Dance denies the idea that spacetime exists as a container in which motion takes place, and as such bends and warps totality and location.

Typically we think in terms of the organism and its environment as if they were resolutely separable. Man and nature; planet and cosmos. If the book is an extension of the eye, and the electrical circuit an extension of the central nervous system, what is it that choreographed movement is an extension of? The dancer performs under this view as a medium. The body of the dancer enacts a carnal communiqué to other bodies about bodies, about ‘what it is a body can do’ (Spinoza).

The dancer as a medium is also an extension of the choreographic imagination, a good analogue for the citizen as the extension rather than the result of any administrative subjectivation. For both citizen and dancer there is always an openness to the ruin and innovation of the vision they are supposed to embody. Disobedience remains live in both performances.

Dance may be more or less abstract, more or less pure, more or less mathematical, more or less athletic, it may take singular or multiple forms, but it cannot forget the body, cannot erase the body. Even the solo is a question of the more than one, of a recombinatory logic that implies and extends out to other bodies.

Other bodies may be conceived in terms of those of the spectator, of other dancers, of the dancer’s own potential other bodies yet to be actualised through her virtuosity.

Contrary to what may seem obvious dance does not collude with ocularcentric regimes. Dance can never depart from kineaesthetic intelligence, embodied cognitive processing, and with the affectivity of the dancing body.

An anarchoreography is the autonomous choreographing of the dancer-without-choreographer, who is her own choreographer.

Embodied cognition and choreography

The concept of ‘cosmos’

It strikes me, furthermore, that debates over whether realities are singular or multiple can be enriched with the notion of ‘cosmos’ (or imminent plane of being if you will). Cosmos is the non-container for the myriad entities, real or imagined, ‘fact’ or factish, material or semiotic that are participating in radically decentralised – i.e. emergent – ‘choreographies’ of creation and destruction. We humans, like any other perceiving entities, can only really ever glimpse a little of our own corner of the cosmos and that too only in a partial manner. We experience reality as primarily local, with reports of distant events having to undergo complex chains of translations before we can experience them – if they reach us at all… and this is despite the digital information revolution.

– Intra-Being. Here.

Cosmos is an indispensible concept, I reckon. Also intrigued by the use of the term ‘choreography’ throughout this post….dance being the materialist art form, if you ask me.

common jumping molecules

calm comes over

    i am a serenity
    a placid forcelessness
    a disolute identity

you are a dance

    a delirium space
    the body’s clear address
    to a lost still place

such abundance

    a suspended antechamber
    an annex to time
    recoiling from all danger
    of the original crime;

    collisions can’t save us
    when whispers are metallic shrieks
    and love and labour have lost the shroud of mystique

    where are we
    that our organisms decline
    and our roots
    contort towards the sun’s glare
    while our flowers bury themselves
    in the deepest pits of stale despair?

where am i today
that i am so far from dancing?

Alva Noë and ‘the space of access’

Alva Noe visits Google’s San Francisco, CA office to discuss his book “Out of Our Heads: Why You Are Not Your Brain, and Other Lessons from the Biology of Consciousness.” This event took place on April 16, 2009, as part of the Authors@Google series.

The notion that consciousness is confined to the brain, like software in a computer, has dominated science and philosophy for close to two centuries. Yet, according to this incisive review of contemporary neuroscience from Berkeley philosopher Nöe, the analogy is deeply flawed. In eight illuminating, mercifully jargon-free chapters, he defines what scientists really know about consciousness and makes a strong case that mind and awareness are processes that arise during a dynamic dance with the observers surroundings. Nöe begins with a sharp critique of scientists, such as DNA co-discoverer Francis Crick, who insist that nothing but neurons determines our daily perceptions and sense of self. He then examines studies of human and animal behavior that demonstrate an inextricable link between identity and environment. Nöe regrettably limits his treatise by ignoring considerable research from transpersonal psychology suggesting that consciousness transcends physicality altogether. Still, the resulting book is an invaluable contribution to cognitive science and the branch of self-reflective philosophy extending back to Descartes famous maxim, I think, therefore I am.

From an interview in Third Culture:

We should reject the idea that the mind is something inside of us that is basically matter of just a calculating machine. There are different reasons to reject this. But one is, simply put: there is nothing inside us that thinks and feels and is conscious. Consciousness is not something that happens in us. It is something we do.

A much better image is that of the dancer. A dancer is locked into an environment, responsive to music, responsive to a partner. The idea that the dance is a state of us, inside of us, or something that happens in us is crazy. Our ability to dance depends on all sorts of things going on inside of us, but that we are dancing is fundamentally an attunement to the world around us.


And with that a question that has been bothering me. Among all the new realists, the new materialists and so on, with the eternally repeated Spinoza quote that we know not what a body can do, why is dance- which physically, materially wants to know what a (human) body can do- so neglected by philosophy?


I read the book she has lent to me; Conditions of Love: the philosophy of intimacy. Violin and acoustic guitar slowly rise from the damp earth of silence. I am thinking of today and of tomorrow. My mind wants me to think about the months to come and to the time provisionally scheduled for her taking leave of this small, modest city. I don’t want to think about these things. I find myself for the first time in a long time unwilling to confront the impermanence of things. Everything is temporary, for how long have I been fond of saying this? And now it isn’t that I want our time in that same damp earth, broken only by the sounds of flesh and minds extending out to one another and by the immediate laughter and demands of her child, to be eternal or endless. Simply, I can’t conceive of such an ending. I find myself refusing to believe in such an ending.

I remember crouching in her garden alone in the night, composing a poem to the stars about their distance and their destiny, speculating on how many might already be dead. I remember telling myself to keep hold of the line: we’d be miracles were we not accidents. I betray these thoughts when, inevitably, images of her are aroused in my imagination; when suddenly everything appears right and just and full with necessity. What new illusions am I happily cultivating? What new joys might they pierce through the arid parts of this indifferent earth?

Here I am. This vanishing singularity. A precarious and fragile system. The meaning of intimacy: showing to the other one’s fragility, one’s catastrophe, the wounds of one’s tiny history and the offering of these wounds as the wellspring from which some beautiful music might emerge. To be a passionate but unhurried duet in a world of mournful solos and the terrifying grandiosity of symphonies. The music of the two instruments submerged in each other, trying to find a rhythm and a pitch. And I imagine her dancing to that melody, any dissonance offering the chance for an innovation in how we might move together.

I don’t love this woman, let’s not get carried away. Our duet is young in its composition. But what dance might it generate? We met one night by accident, under conditions dictated by separate (if not finally separable) trajectories. The conditions of love? I don’t know… but the conditions of its possibility?

Finished typing, I return to the book. It’s covers are smooth and cold in my hands. I will read for a few more hours. I will sleep and dream and rise and go to university where I will talk and learn and teach and…I will be waiting for the hour when she sends me that text: F. is asleep, you can come to my place whenever you want.

And she will show me her fragility.We will show

one another.

Candle glow.

Cold of night.


All music.