RECOMMENDATION / DANSE-GUERRE, exhibition curated by Bojana Cvejić and Cosmin Costinaş / Musée de la danse, Rennes, FR



I'd like to invite you to the exhibition DANSE GUERRE [Dance War] for which I commissioned a number of works by/with Shir Hacham&Ido Feder, Lennart Laberenz, Franck Leibovici, Steve Paxton, Marta Popivoda&Ana Vujanović, Yvonne Rainer&Pat Catterson. 

Please, see the short catalogue in attachment.

The exhibition DANSE GUERRE also comprises the work of Rabih Mroueh curated by Cosmin Costinas.

Musée de la danse, Centre Nationale Chorégraphique de Rennes et Bretagne, Rue Saint-Melaine, Rennes.
September 20 - October 24


When WAR was the Political Unconscious of DANCE
Bojana Cvejić
The conjunction “dance-war” evokes images of war-dances from ethnography or warmongering propaganda – where dancing bodies represent and aestheticize military training or combat. My interest was to reverse the perspective and search for indirect, yet grammatical relations and isomorphisms between war and dance. “Dance-war” appears as a problem from the viewpoint of the Euro-American tradition of modern and contemporary theatrical dance in the notions and aesthetic figures that explicitly renounce war, death and destruction. Modern dance was born in the 20th century from the democratic liberal self-expression of the body of the individual, who rebelled against the military-like discipline of ballet. Thus, modern, and contemporary dance has ever since adopted a vitalist perspective on movement, which celebrates life, energy, love and other positive, humanistic affects.
Two lines of inquiry frame this exhibition. Firstly, what are the moments and figures in post-WWII dance where war surfaced as the political unconscious of dance? The political unconscious here isn’t a psychological term but an aesthetic figure. It doesn’t mean that either dance or dancers were politically unconscious of war, but that dance embodied or articulated an impossibility to address war. What it couldn’t do politically, it displaced, compensated, repressed or reconfigured in a form marked by a contradiction between dance’s aesthetic expression and its immediate political context. Two videos combined with documents (by Bojana Cvejić and Lennart Laberenz) respond to this question by investigating Yvonne Rainer’s WAR, “a high sprawling non-competitive game-like piece for 31 people” from 1970, and Steve Paxton’s views on the relationship between Contact Improvisation, aikido and war (…in a non-wimpy way” ). In their illustrated text, Shir Hacham and Ido Feder critically retrace the development of Ohad Naharin’s famed movement technique, “gaga,” the landmark of the Bat-Sheva Dance Company, as an attempt to demilitarize and morally justify the presence of the Zionist body in the new nation-state of Israel (A 'dancing body' offers legitimacy to the state). Secondly, what are the instruments that dance discipline and warfare offer for description and analysis of one another respectively? In Corps formés, Noé Soulier observes geometry as the focal point for governing the form and displacement of bodies in classical dance and military practice. In messages to bricklane (parade ground), a non-choreography for non-dancers, Franck Leibovici uses various systems of notation for a series of redescriptions of a propaganda video demonstrating paramilitary camp training (from the practices in Tchechnya, Middle-East, Indonesia, Philippines). Apart from these two installations that juxtapose heterogeneous documents, images, drawings and objects, the video Watch out for Gorillas in Your Midst! by Marta Popivoda and Ana Vujanović recomposes one but last parade (“slet”) of the communist youth in Yugoslavia after Tito’s death (1987-88), where the collapse of social choreography and ideological confusion in mass dancing signals the imminence of Balkan wars.    
The exhibition is conceived as a choreographic agencement of documents, texts, drawings, scores, video clips, interviews, and films, but also objects like props and tools, as they clash and resonate in drawing out the problem of dance(-and-)war.
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