theatercombinat | 1 december and 2 december 2012 - struggling bodies in capitalist societies (democracies)
an experimental symposium about the body as the place of the political, zollamtskantine vienna (a)
in english.

language: english

gerald siegmund (D): the body and its other: choreographies of confrontation

in recent years, cultural discourses have emphasised the weight of the body as a bearer of meaning this side of language, as a residue for experiences and emotions. this also lead to a focus on dance as a form of art that deals with the long neglected physical side of western culture. however, on the other side of the body’s emancipation, lies its subjection. in neo-liberal economies today this ubiquitous body hovers between constant self marketing and psychological depression, between flexibility and inertia. there is, so it seems, no way out of the body. this overidentification of self and body creates a new dilemma. taking my cues from jean luc nancy’s ontological body and bernard stiegler’s idea of a psychopower colonising and dissociating our mental faculties i would like to stress the necessity of language in relation to the body. as the outer limit of the body, language prevents the body from closing in itself. it prevents it from becoming an absolute in itself ready to (ab)used by the self and others. thus it creates the possibility for distancing, disengagement and disidentification – a technique which may theatre productions employ as an aesthetic strategy to confront the body with its other.

elke van campenhout (BE):

elke van campenhout will tackle the struggling body through the perspective of the ascetic body practices of the hunger artist, the anorexic worker and the poverty projects. in contemporary capitalism, the body can no longer be 'performed' as authentic, and the ties with the body arts of the 1960-1970's have come undone. more than an irreducible, unique territory, the body functions as a hollow marker, a machine reproducing the affects of a libidinous capital. but this doesn't necessary mean that the body has become incapable of resistance. in the ultimate embrace with its own emptiness the body becomes a meditative void in the prevailing discourse, a blank spot in the endless string of self-referential signifiers.

sandra noeth (D):

the body’s discipline as well as its disciplining is multiple and shows us a body which is subject to various, visible and resonating, personal, cultural, political and other conditions, regimes and practices. the struggling bodies, however, seems to give expression to something that escapes these textures. it introduces a moment of stumbling, a hesitation, a movement out of balance, asking for more, for other efforts, expressing and facing resistance. much more, the body’s struggle confronts is with the simultaneity of being one and another at the same time, it leads us to deal with any those bodies that we are not yet, engaging us in physical but also individual and collective realms that we do not yet know. the lecture follows the movement of struggling bodies in the context of religiosity and exemplary experiences and practices of care, vulnerability and address.

it designs a body that beyond representation, imago or being an executive agent of discipline, ritualization and exercise, connects and disconnects us to a kind of desiring machine – to a physical, discursive and potentially political exercise of dealing with paradoxes.

marina gržinič (SLO): struggling with the performative body in the garbage dump of history 

in the context of the symposium struggling bodies in capitalist societies i want to talk about the performative and body in relation to history and politics (religion? as well). i would like to talk on the process of performing. i am not thinking only of the work processes that lead to the research, experimentation, technical procedures and the like, but how theory and current social events, and the biopolitical body are a training ground for displaying performing procedures in which the various elements are being performed live, on the screen.

alice pechriggl (AT): concerning the constitution of the inevitable democratic body

beyond the metaphor of the political body, what is a pre-, what a postdemocratic body? do we actually know how a democratic body feels like, how it touches and how it is touched, how it moves? and how do we wish the democracy with/as our bodies? open, oscillating, standing the friction of plurality or conflictuality, carrying out, talking, gesticulating, dancing, speaking with rosa luxemburg: “a revolution, i can't dance to, is not my revolution”? this would be my motto: "la démocratie est le corps de nos voeux... le corps politique est un corps est un corps est un corps animé-animant". how inevitable and unconsidered did (the never totally realised) democracy become for our animate-animating western european body, or asked the other way around: how inevitable is this minimal liberal-democratic body at least for surviving, yet for realising democracy? everything else is “the body as battlefield” or the old-fashioned military-patriarchal body as only obeying, being controlled, fixed in heteronymous constitutions, being drilled. why do we feel disgust when we hear fascists and how does fear for dictatorship feel or its contempt...


hrvoje jurić (HR): scientific de(con)struction and artistic (re)construction of the body

the body exists, simultaneously, both as a thought and a physical object. we live it both as a thought and a physical object. what is able to reflect this peculiar existence of/as the body? science? no. philosophy? maybe. art? surely. politics? absolutely. the absolute power of the politics encompasses – be it passively or actively – all the body phenomena, ideas, regimes and manipulations. however, it should be stressed that the main poles of today's dynamics of embodiment are represented by the science and the art. although their dystopian (scientific) and utopian (artistic) autonomy is not in question, these two poles are conditioned by the two magnetic forces: in-between, there is the whole history, culture and philosophy of the body, its temporal and trans-temporal subduing and reaffirmation, its concrete suffers and fluid imaginaries; above all, there is the (bio)politics of the body. having in mind previously mentioned general framework and conceptual basis, i will try to emphasize, in the first place, the crucifixion of the body between scientific de(con)struction and artistic (re)construction. theatrale produktion und rezeption