Precarious Bodies

Dance, Performance, Body Politics

“The human body is the microscopic illustration of a society.”
(Mary Douglas)  

Already for some time now, we have all become well versed in the precarity of living and working conditions. The structural instability associated with this and the economization of the social has become inscribed in the body, foregrounding the violability of the individual in society. Although all bodies share radical vulnerability, the consequences and effects are linked to power relations that don’t always come down equally. Subjects who are not white, not male, not western, not heteronormative, and do not earn enough are more susceptible to violation than are those who belong to the so-called dominant positions. A language of the precarious body, which is the focus of the series “Precarious Bodies,” from April 8-14, would take this public and political dimension of the body into account, just as it would that of the greed inherent to neo-liberal capitalism, in order to embrace the body with all its effects, needs, and aspirations. 

The starting point for this series are re-stagings of two innovative pieces by Jan Fabre/ Troublyn (This is theatre like it was to be expected and foreseen 1982/2012, The Power of Theatrical Madness 1984/2012), both of which have since become classics of international performance art. The duration of the two pieces (eight and four-and-a-half hours) brings the spectators, but even more so the performers, to the brink of what is physically tolerable. Art is work, eight hours of work per day. In his piece “Étant Donnés.” Markus Öhrn uses the idea of theatre as corporeal work – a straightforward and critical reference to Fabre - and problematizes the perspectives of the time, connecting them with the risky, sexualized working worlds of today. 

The festival will open with a conversation between Jan Fabre, Markus Öhrn, and Panaibra Gabriel Canda, moderated by Christine Wahl. The performers of Young Jean Lee's Theater Company will also speak about their Untitled Feminist show. This talk is moderated by Margarita Tsomou.

The “Untitled Feminist Show” by Young Jean Lee's Theater Company exhibits the violability of its performers without abandoning them in their nudity; rather they seek to mix up existing gender norms and attributions, questioning cultural identities, but also formal aesthetic conventions. 

The focus of the work by the Mozambican choreographer Panaibra Gabriel Canda is his own body and the story he is telling. The ideas of different historical periods that Canda has lived through have been inscribed in his body, which is always also conceived of as social. Colonialism, the liberation struggle, socialism, and the attempt to democratize the country today have become part of his body. Panaibra Gabriel Canda transforms this knowledge in “Time and Spaces: The Marrabento Solos” into a dance expression that refers to both African and European traditions. His solo is accompanied by the Marrabenta guitarist Jorge Domingos. 

Normal Love, the follow-up project by the Berlin band Rhythm King And Her Friends, take up influences from club music and the singer-songwriter genre and combine them with queer-feminist texts.