Jan Rozman: Zdravo Dragana! Evo, sva na liniji, mislim, da bi moglo to delovat? Maybe in English?
Hi Dragana! :)
Dragana Alfirević: Hi!
So lets start: I invited you because I needed a company, a dialogue, about this wish that I have, which is to start a long-term process of research and presentation of the idea of a new possible use of dance. I feel we are dancing all the same, the conditions we are producing and presenting our work are all the same all the time. I watched the film of Maya Deren, The Living Gods of Haiti, (trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wmQHml54shI)(full film https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Tla44ZDyZs&t=1678s) where people are dancing and singing and watching dancing and singing with a completely different intention, with different focus and I started asking myself how it is possible that we only know one function of dance today. Who has any use of it and what is the use of it, other than supporting the already existing order. It would be already good if we were satisfied with it, but I feel we are not.
Then I was kind of invited to organize this Choreographic Turn #2 and then I invited you.
Surely this is not the story of one project or one result, but I hope we can open some questions and mark some terrain through which we can keep on walking…
Jan: Yes, I was really happy to receive the invitation to help with the CT#2, firstly because I think the topic is interesting - it is something that should be checked again and again and secondly, because I feel excitement to work through a curatorial position rather than being an author.
You write that we know only one function of dance, which makes me question who are “we”? Talking about the topic of the function of dance, which is the covering/overall topic of this particular CT we (the two of us together with Katja Legin, who was a memeber of the team for a short period in the begining) came to the sub-topic of watching dancing. And working on the materials now I realize that ‘watching dancing’ is another possible apporach to explore the function of dance - it means questioning how we watch and perhaps even more how we see dance, how we understand it. In the frame of the CT I’m currently transcribing short interviews about dance I did with people around me and I must say that even though there are some main threads or ideas of what dance (its function) is, there is also a big diversety of what they (the people I decided to talk to) think the function of dance is. And this is only a small, local, even personal pool of people. I imagine the idea of the function of dance of us (humans?) wouldwide is far more rich, wide and complex. So perhaps it would make sense to set a specific context in which we are interested in the function of dance?
It’s really exciting to be a part of this - I see this process as planting a seed for what might come/grow in the future. It is also very exciting that we have the possibility to invite other people into the process. I invited Agata Siniarska, Mojca Sovdat and Alejandro Karasik, who are supporting/extending/questioning this process and bringing their perspective on the matter in view. I also have to mention an important reference for me - Susan Leigh Foster’s Choreographing Empathy, which can set an interesting frame for watching dancing or thinking about the function of dance (you can find an interesing lecture by her on this topic here).
Dragana: Yes! For me personally this is quite a shift - the ambition of Choreographic Turn as a concept is to present the spectrum or the richness of the studio work instead of insisting on a “finished” format of choreographic-dance work. But to invite people to witness the opening, the beginning of the process instead of presenting the end result for me is something new. I have to deal daily with emotions and with expectations and with this huge change of perspective. There is a lot of fragility and some sense of real process inversing its skin and showing its insides. I have nothing to be afraid of ashamed of, it is just that I become aware how used we are to show our prettiest face and to share something when it is “done”. In this case, my question is what is it that is “done” here and what is not done. So some questions arise: What is important in a certain process of making? How do we share our thinking process? How do we create a common space, the space in-between in such a fragmented way, online and out of small parts of time and thoughts? Who is the owner of all this? Etc.
I guess the context can be determined by personal/individual invitation to people we think might have some answers. I have invited Mårten Spångberg, dance-maker and writer to contribute with a text; Marjeta Kamnikar, a 82-year old dancer, who discovered dance when she was 69, Jurij Konjar to contribute to the answer of the question “what is the function of dance” speaking from his practice at this very moment, then Jurij invited Katerina Vlahbey, an architect.
I was interested to approach this question from various perspectives: from a perspective of a dancer who is dancing daily, who is practicing every day and has a certain relation to dance, to movement. Then the voice of someone thinking about dance, writing about dance, having some expectations or requests from dance itself. In the end, I wanted to also to hear the voice of someone who never had to dance for living, who always cherished a specific relation to dance, always receiving something from dance but never expecting anything from it…
Jan: Perhaps what is done here is (among other things) an alternative format of curating. it’s the curating of a process rather than of finished art works. And the studio for the process became the cyber page of the shared document we are using for our correspondence and the webpage that hosts this choreographic turn. It is important for me, that this ‘event’ or ‘processual event’ (or even the ‘eventual process’) is happening mostly as text - written and read and not as a video stream, which could of course be a kind of obvious or conventional choice. I think the chosen format really allows a different entrance point into the materials we collected and so also opens alternative output lines/streams both for us, collaborators and for the interested public. In terms of how people can interact with the content, how they can find their own path through the materials in ways they find fit. I would be curious to somehow track these engagements and see if they can also tell us something about what has been done …
Dragana: We will see. This is something we cannot predict, but speaking from the point of view of pure physics, my experience is that when something is produced it comes back and we will know it. Honestly, in the beginning I had many mixed feelings about the relation of process and result in this work, many opposed ideas and questions if this is enough, if this is presentable, if I stand behind this. Now I see it as a research material, as an open window into a house where many things are happening at once; there is some raw feeling I like and I enjoy. We have in the end to accept probably that we are living in impossible times this year and that we might also make some use of this fact, instead of pretending that everything is ok. Also - the decision to not proofread the english versions and to leave the material as we received it, makes me understand more of this process. Making use of things and making something comprehensible instead of making things appear more beautiful.
So, are we ready to share this? It’s only a chapter and the site as well as the process will grow and develop and become something. Something we can’t see the shape of yet, but it started to grow, it is growing … In this period of mediatized dance I see this way of working as a possible alternative approach to sharing dancing without compromising the nature of it. Its form. Or its function.
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