Choreography as Ars Combinatoria
This lecture reflects the approach to the term Choreography as it is discussed within the Master Dance Program at ZHdK Zurich. Here, the practice of choreography is understood as Ars Combinatoria embracing the craft of combining/organising the form and quality of movement in space and time. Described by Gottfried Leibniz, Ars Combinatoria is a logical method to combine terms which leads to new knowledge. Similarly, choreography is understood as the artistry of combining elements of movement aiming for a certain aesthetic entity. In this sense, the focus of Ars Combinatoria is accentuated further by diving into the concept of Expanded Choreography in which the action of choreographing is disconnected from the necessary use of human bodies. Linking practice and theory, choreography students transfer their knowledge into digital essays which use the principle of Ars Combinatoria as formats of artistic investigation. Under the roof of Ars Combinatoria three approaches to teaching choreography at ZHdK will be introduced.
Prof. Dr. phil. Friederike Lampert studied ballet in Frankfurt/Main and Applied Theatre Studies in Gießen. Since 1988 she worked as a dancer and choreographer at several dance companies in Germany. In 2007 she received her PhD on the topic of Dance Improvisation at Freie Universität Berlin. She worked as a dance researcher at the University of Hamburg, Palucca Hochschule für Tanz Dresden and at Codarts – University for the Arts, Rotterdam. Since 2018 she is responsible for the Master Dance Program at ZHdK Zurich and holds the professorship for choreography.
Choreography as Method
We live in a world of movement. Logistics, migration, travel, traffic: the movements that surround us are manifold. To understand this world in motion, we need to analyze its logic. How do economic, social, and ecologic forces create, control and direct movement? In my lecture I will discuss choreography as a conceptual tool to analyze movement beyond the realm of dance. How can we use the choreographic knowledge of dance and dance studies to explore the way movement organizes our surroundings and how movement is itself organized? Drawing on my recent study on choreopower, a special focus will be on the politics and power-relations at work in these movements. In the last decades, the governing of movement has become one of the most powerful operations. The circulation of people, goods and information are considered as producing high values and at the same time a constant source of threat. I will address the different modes of power at work in these situations by using choreography as method. How do techniques of power operate in and by movement and how do they create their own choreographic politics?
Gerko Egert is a dance and performance studies scholar. He is currently a lecturer and research associate at the Institute for Applied Theater Studies, Justus-Liebig-University, Giessen. His research deals with philosophies and politics of movement, dance and performance, radical pedagogy, process philosophy and (speculative) pragmatism. Gerko holds a PhD from Freie Universität Berlin (published 2016, engl. transl. Moving Relation, Routledge 2020). His publications include: „Choreographing the Weather – Weathering Choreography (in: TDR 2016) and Operational Choreography. Dance and Logistical Capitalism (Performance Philosophy, 2022). He is co-founder of nocturne, a platform for experimental knowledge production in arts, academia and activism (www.nocturne-plattform.de).
Listening through and with costume – a dialogical performance-making process.
In performance contexts we often perceive costume as visual expression and as something that serves something else. The objective of this presentation is to discuss costume’s performance-making potential. How can listening through and with costume become a performance-making strategy? With a few historical examples and examples from my own research practice, the ambition is to expand the notion of costumes as a scenic and world-making agent.
In Orientation Matters Sara Ahmed writes that ‘bodies as well as objects take shape through being orientated toward each other, an orientation that may be experienced as the cohabitation or sharing of space’ (Ahmed, 2010:245). This suggest that it is through and with the costume (and its crafted materialities) that we, designer and performer, are orientated towards each other. Hence, it is by sharing and navigating between our different ways of being affected by observing and inhabiting costume that a potential shared or co-creative space occurs. Ahmed continues ‘if orientations affect what bodies do, then they also affect how spaces take shape around certain bodies’ (Ahmed, 2010:250). This indicates that the way we dialogically share our different individual experiences will affect the way we co-inhabit the co-creative space. To cultivate a co-creative culture indicates that I, the designer and researcher, have an ethical responsa-ability (Barad 2007) to listen to how a costume affects a performer. How a costume affects one performer isn’t equal to how another performer is affected. I propose that it is in the dialogical process of negotiating through and with the costume that we can co-explore and co-create a scenic ‘world’. A co-creative process where the costume ‘has the ability to instigate performance and tell a story in its own right’ (Marshall 2020:165). In performance-making processes, in our openness and willingness to ‘make kin’ (Haraway 2016) with crafted materialities, costume offers us a co-creative space ‘to debate and navigate the world’s becomings’ (Pantouvaki et al. 2021, p. 202).
Charlotte Østergaard is a Danish visual artist/designer, educator, and researcher in between the fields of costume, textile, and performing art. She has designed costumes for more than 65 performances, e.g., for Danish Dance Theatre, Skånes Dance Theatre and Rambert Dance Company. Østergaard has received several grants from the Danish Art Foundation, her costume-driven performances have been shown at, e.g., PQ2019 (collaboration with Sally E. Dean), Walking Copenhagen (2020), Up Close performance festival (2020), and SWOP (2022) and her artworks are represented in the collections of Danish Design Museum and The National Gallery of Denmark. Her performance-project AweAre was nominated for the biennale prize at The Biennale for Craft & Design, Denmark (2019) and received an Excellence Award at From Lausanne to Beijing – 11th International Fiber Art Biennale, CN (2020). Currently she is PhD fellow (artistic research) at Malmö Theatre Academy at Lund University, Sweden. In her research she studies costumes as co-creative encounters between agents, positions, disciplines, perspectives, epistemologies and methodologies.