Author Archives: Moritz Majce

What Forms The Present? – Sandra Man and Marita Tatari, Talk at Flutgraben Performances #4, 9 Feb 2020


At the fourth event of Flutgraben Performances on February 9th 2020 Sandra Man invited philosopher Marita Tatari for a lecture. The text that was read at this occasion is an excerpt of an ongoing talk between the two, initiated by Sandra Man in late 2019 and to be continued all over 2020.

SM: In a recent talk that you gave at the conference in Munich in November 2019 you spoke about the becoming irrelevant of tradition, of history as a frame and source for the new in contemporary art. You said something like: Not that today’s art forms would not refer at all to their history but – in contrast to strategies of breaking up, overcoming, deconstructing etc. – the progressive relation to the past is no longer the reference or the source for the new.
The contemporary change in the relation between art forms and a certain understanding of history, between art and its past, actually has been the core of your thinking for some years now. Let’s start from here: Could you describe today’s shift in relating to the past? Why and how is it no longer out of a “post” to the past that art forms emerge? What is it that is changing so radically today that you even headline it in your talk as “the change of change” itself?

MT: If we take the term „contemporary art” beyond the restrained meaning of the art-period coming after modern art, the idea that artforms respond in a very particular way to their present time, was shaped in modernity: the idea that they respond to their present time by giving to it a form, opening it up as such, all by opening up in it something new, a possible (or impossible) future. The change of artforms has been related to historical change both as a result and as anticipation. Modernity projected this idea of art retrospectively into the past as well as into other, non-western cultures. In the core of this idea lies a precise understanding of relationality at stake in all artforms.
We could even say that the word and the thing of “art” were invented in modernity to designate a relationality that on the one hand is concrete and singular, let’s say, a touching, an affective relation in the present moment (affecting not only for instance visually or acoustically, but also a sensuous feeling even of ideas or thoughts). But at the same time “art” designates this relationality as bringing at play or opening up in each one of its addressees, in each one that is affected by it a non-defined relation: this is its public, its addressees is a non-defined “we” – the common, namely when the common is not conceived as a given order, when it is not defined or definable in a hierarchy. It is from this non-given common, this universal activated in the public addressed by art, that comes all the trouble with art.

SM: Let me interrupt you shortly, I would like to insert a question: How does the public, relate to what we usually call an “audience”? I am asking because I think there is a relation to it but however what you mean by public is not simply spectators as opposed to performers, makers, authors etc. (they are also affected and addressed by the work). Is and how is the public you are talking about an audience?

MT: Well it is first of all a change of perspective, a way to think of an artform/artpiece/artwork/artprocess I mean, it concerns everyone implied in it. But if we think of it in these terms, then we can’t take audience as a ready-made concept, applied to each artform. We have to think of the audience out of the way this special kind of relation takes place (it is actually an emanation of relation). So, if the central question concerning the arts is where lies the extreme limit, that enables relation under different cultural conditions not to be relation between given things, but emanation, then we have to think of the audience and its transformations out of this question too. There is a whole field of artistic research that can be opened up by this change of perspective.

By common as non-given order I mean here the extreme limit that allows for anything to come to the foreground and relate, to appear not as defined by something else (as in an order). The common in this sense is mortality and natality together, the extreme limit on the one hand, and the emanation of relation on the other, the extreme limit as emanation of relation. This emanation of relation has also been called techne and technique, because it does not belong in a pregiven natural order. If art has been touching to these extremities, if it has been touching to the common as non-given, that is to say to relation as emanation, it has been opening up a non-given, an excess of the given, in the punctuality of its form, or of its taking place.
This non-given, this emanation may be felt as intensity, and intensity is an emanation of a “more”, a surplus. But at the same time art opens up in us, in each one touched, a distance – the limit or nothingness, that allows to address all “me” as other than “me”, namely „we” as emanation of relation. This emanation exposed as such in a form interrupts the flow of time and opens up a non-time into historical time, an infinite. Christianity understood this infinite as a moment or a pretaste of eternity.
In contrast to this understanding, the modern designation of art in singular, the modern invention of art, distinguishes art from cult and ritual. While the latter addresses the “we” in its distinction from gods (as in non-western or pre-western cult-practices) or, in Christianity, in its relation to God opening up an eternity as an outside of the historical time, art in singular – this modern invention – deals with the surplus interrupting and exceeding the given, the surplus exposed as such, as newness arriving into historical time.
That is to say as change projected into historical time. “We” as exceeding any given, is then being translated in terms of the demand for equality, for inclusion of alterity, inclusion in a non-given order, inclusion of everybody in a non-given and non-hierarchical “we”, a demand opening up a future. The new in art, the change of artforms has been related to this demand and has been interpreted as progress.
All forms of “post”-art: postmodern, postdramatic, posthuman, some tried even to speak recently of postcontemporary art, they all neither just designate a new artform, nor just an artform that gives form to their present time, but also they relate overcoming the older forms to a better realization of the demand for equality into historical time. In other words, emanating relationality was still until the beginning of the 21st century perceived as in modernity, perceived as a non-hierachical and all inclusive “we” to come – be it in Derrida and Agamben’ terms as always to come, suspended in the present, never given, open to its non-giveness; be it as disillusionment from and denouncement of the utopias in which the 20th century still hoped (as in Lyotard’s “sublime”, vertiginous, postmodern art); be it by permanently subverting given orders and hierarchies – for instance between spectators and actors, beholders and art objects, keeping open the non-given common (as in many positions ranging from Ranciere to Judith Butler and theories of performativity); or be it as non-anthropocentric, subverting the established hierarchies between humans and non-humans (as in new materialisms, in technoecologies and OOO)… The variations of the modern scheme conceiving art, history and the evolution of artforms in their relation to history as progress, history as a project of a better realization of the demand for equality and art as progressively contributing to this goal – even as a goal impossible to achieve, or as an open horizon – all these variations are still inscribed into the modern understanding of relationality at stake in artforms. The address exceeding any given as common or universal is being translated into the demand for equality exceeding the present into historical time.

Despite all kind of critique of the concept of art, of its singular, despite the critique of the bourgeois beauty, the bourgeois ideal of state, later on the critique of the political utopias, the emergence of participating artistic forms, etc., etc., the progressive understanding of the evolution of artforms remained untouched until the beginning of the 21st century. Anthropocentric criticism, non-anthropocentric art-forms, as well as postcolonial-art, colonial-criticism are in this sense extensions of western enlightenment: they serve an always greater demand for equality. From a posterior point of view (im Nachhinein), the public each time at play in an artform, is restricted. Forms to come have to address otherness again and as progress, better, more, they have to bring at play a greater openness to otherness.

Today it is said that the oneness implied in the modern invention of “art”, its public (the conception of public upon which the concept of art was based) and the universality implied in it have been founded on racist and anthropocentric presuppositions. We are thus seemingly confronted with the paradox on the one hand to stand for the western demand for equality (which cannot and did not exist in societies not dealing with the non-giveness of the common, that is to say in societies not dealing with the autonomy of the common), and on the other hand to denounce this same western demand for not being enough at its own height. I say seemingly because actually this paradox obeys the scheme of western logic itself, it is projecting into historical future an improvement of the previous conceptions of the common and of the public implied in art, so to include non-western realities or non-humans.

Saying that all these critiques of the enlightenment’s conception of art are still inscribed in it, sounds today almost as an insult; yet this is not how I mean it. Why does art have to be new, why do forms have to be new? Newness was not a request for “artistic” practices in ritual communities. Art, this modern invention projected, I repeat, retrospectively into other cultures, has to be each time new because it addresses a non-determinable “we”. Hence this can only be addressed each time under the conditions of its time. It has to bring at play a „we” escaping the given.

Nevertheless, there is currently in my view a shift of this same western scheme. While the demand for equality, enabled by the autonomy or the non-giveness of a “we” persists, as well as the need to address “us” (in other words the need to address the absolute in us, extreme limitation as emanation of relating), oneness has lost its hold over the contemporary world. Under current technological (and actually techoeoconomic) conditions there is no one horizon to project change, and no one history to understand the present. Maybe this is why currently the new in arts, “contemporary” art does not appear in the form of a “post”: not a new artform defined by overcoming the older. The demand for equality, the denouncement of colonial or anthropocentric blindness do not help us understand what is happening currently in terms of art, because they are inscribed in the scheme they denounce as its improvement and continuation. Hence it is this very scheme that shifts: it is not in terms of a new artform, it is not in form of a “post”, that the demand for equality in art persists. So how can we grasp what is happening in terms of art, in terms of form, of artmaking?

When we say that the new in art is not conceived in terms of form as an overcoming of older forms, we say that the surplus of relationality at stake in it, the excess of the given in it is not projected into a horizon. But also, that the given is not the oneness of a history. We could then say that it is rather the framing of what is a form that shifts and with it the very notion of public, the space of appearance, the space in which relation accesses an extreme limit able to address its free course, its emanation. For instance, I find interesting in the case of the so called decolonialization of aesthetics or of postcolonial art, that the demand for equality – the confrontation with the pain and violence caused by colonial blindness in western-global culture, is paired with an experience of limit that is completely strange to western culture: an experience that cannot project the excess of the given into future, an experience of alterity that cannot be motor for historical change.

Audience Voices on Chora

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Chora | Concrete Runners | 2019

“Es ist ein wirklich einzigartiger Raum, den ihr geschaffen habt. Auf eine Weise unaufgeregt und tief berührend zugleich, die ich noch nie erlebt habe. Ich war sehr glücklich darin.”

Christine Börsch-Supan

“Dears Sandra and Moritz. I came to watch Chora and I found it very precious and deep. I loved how it is so connected with bodies, persons and relations but speaks to me at the same time about the world, the environment and human/nature. I loved the installation and the dance and how the two are interdependent. It opened new possibilities of imagination and I loved as a public member to be inside this game/performance/state of being.”

Elena Dragonetti

“Ich liebe den Raum, den ihr kreiert habt, die Filme, die Präsenz. Am Ende habe ich bemerkt, am besten ist es, wenn ich mich mitbewege und beeinflussen lasse von der Umgebung, dann ist jedes Teil ein Element vom Ganzen.”

Joséphine Evrard

“Thank you for the space you created with Chora. I was there on the last day for many hours, and I experienced a peace that I rarely feel within art. A lot of accepting, specific energy from the performers that was very unique and ego less. There was something very safe in the space and I am grateful to have been there and absorb and just be. I felt very connected to this work, and I am happy for experiencing it, visiting this poetic world.”

Anna Fitoussi

“Sorry for my thousands of likes but I am in love with your project Chora😊
Thanks for sharing it at Tanzfabrik.”

Paola Fontana

“I was very moved and inspired by the work I saw from you and Sandra. There were so many layers of my self in context to your work that I had to transgress, but once I did, it was like a doorway to another world of feeling and sensation and new spaces and possible paths. I was very happy to have experienced it. And I really mean ‘experience’, because I think If I had just watched, I wouldn’t have understood all that the inside of that work was offering so generously and so efficiently. So thank you both again. I think my words aren’t doing my experience of it all justice.. but I just wanted to express how happy was to have been there and to have stayed. Thank you”

Jared Gradinger

“I wanted to say thank you !
I really enjoyed your work, enjoyed entering this whole world of Chora. It felt like something very special to come on a Saturday morning after breakfast and being able to take part for some moment. This world you created felt very open, opening up, transparent, inviting, stimulating, as if answering open questions somehow. Always something subtle changing and giving a new impulse, a new tempo, some new information: let it be your movement, some change of bodies in space, the connection in between, all platforms, the videos changing, the light, the doors opening, fresh air, new colors, new visitors.. I enjoyed it all.”

Friederike Heine

“Ich wollte euch sagen, dass mir die Performance unglaublich gut gefallen und mich sehr berührt hat und ich froh bin, den Tag miterlebt zu haben!”

Lara Lehnert

“I came in without knowing and expecting what to happen, not even much about the program of Tanzfabrik. I walked in, stood in the space to experience what is happening, then visiting the space to see what is there; the screen, the poem, the landscape (video and reality), the materials, the people/ performers… it seemed to me that the setting was participatory since we, the audience, are not assigned any specific way of being in the space (apart from some pillows on the brown square blocks). Then I asked myself how much I am also creating the landscape and how much I can be involved. Then I see the poem about cells, eyes, skin, and I embodied them in a way that I am part of the everything, like an animal walked into the human made nature. It took some time to settle, text the boundaries, and not to disturb the space and the habitants, and it was a meeting to the existing things in the space, and I feel happy to be noticed that I am there but not overly taken care, it gives me space to keep regenerating my senses and thoughts. Sliding was fun, meeting through clashing softly and meeting bodies, being in the space with others, thanks for allowing.

I enjoyed the screen was placed outside the studio. Seeing the reflection of people dancing on the window with the poem together have brought me a special way of seeing the space. Thank you once again for the creation.”

Cary Shiu

Chora – 5-9 November 2019 @ Open Spaces Festival, Tanzfabrik Berlin

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Chora, © Moritz Majce + Sandra Man, 2019

CHORA
Space Choreography

The Earth is a foreign planet. Every day it shows a different face.

5– 9 November 2019
Open Spaces Festival, Tanzfabrik Berlin, Uferstraße 23, D-13357 Berlin

There is no piece, no premiere, no stable frame. Chora will grow in time over 5 days up to 16 hours on the last. The whole space will be different every day. In varying media, constellations and rhythms 12 performers will appear in images of technonature, texts of terrestrial phantasies, on mobile objects as unsolid grounds. How to inhabit and how to visit an ever changing space? Chora is a space choreography, a liquid environment of objects, performers, images, texts and sound.

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Chora, © Moritz Majce + Sandra Man, 2019

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Chora, © Moritz Majce + Sandra Man, 2019

Tue 5 11 | 19.00 | BEFORE – A nature comes back. | Audio-visual installation

Wed 6 11 | 18.00-20.00 | BEGINNING – Choros is a life form, Chora its habitat. | Ongoing live installation

Thu 7 11 | 17.00-21.00 | MOMENT – The moment is a living germ. | Solo action for one visitor at a time

Fri 8 11 | 15.00-23.00 | HISTORY – While we circle quietly. | Film + text screening

Sat 9 11 | 09.00-01.00 | BECOMING – Time is an unknown territory. | Ongoing live environment

6.11.19 | 20:15 | Artist Talk with Marie-Luise Angerer (Uni Potsdam), Bernd Bösel (Uni Potsdam), Moritz Majce, Sandra Man and the performers. Moderated by Jacopo Lanteri (curator Tanzfabrik Berlin).

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Chora, © Moritz Majce + Sandra Man, 2019

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Chora, © Moritz Majce + Sandra Man, 2019

IDEA, SPACE CHOREOGRAPHY, VIDEOS: Moritz Majce + Sandra Man OBJECTS: Moritz Majce TEXTS: Sandra Man PERFORMANCE: Zoé Alibert, Eli Cohen, Judith Förster, Charlie Fouchier, Assi Pakkanen, Florencia Martina, Gian Mellone, Sonia Noya, Stephan B. Quinci, Laura Siegmund, Maya Weinberg, Natalia Wilk VOICE: Frank Willens PRODUCTION: Patricia Oldenhave ENGLISH TRANSLATION: Anna Galt VOICE RECORDINGS: Fernand Kenzler

A production by Moritz Majce + Sandra Man, supported by Hauptstadtkulturfonds and Wien Kultur. Coproduction: Tanzfabrik Berlin, WUK Wien.

Tanzfabrik Berlin • Uferstraße 23 • 13357 Berlin
Entry: € 15 • Tanzfabrik Berlin

Facebook-Event here

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Working on Chora

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Bergheider See, June 2019

The relation of time and space is central to Chora. How does a space move us and how does it change when we move (in) it?

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Bergheider See, June 2019

In Chora we continue working outdoors. Mountains and dunes have been our rehearsal spaces and video spots for the last years. Since Choros and even more so in Chora we are intrigued by technologically transformed environments; abandoned areas in which nature is coming back; artificial lakes waiting for the first creatures to come alive.

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Prenzlauer Promenade, May 2019

A landmark is with us in Chora, an object, a mobile piece of earth. It is called ekkyklema, in reference to an ancient Greek theatre device, a mobile platform which was used to present happenings from the invisible inside of the stage house (the skene) to the outside.

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Wölla, July 2019

The ancient Greek name chora is known to us through Plato’s dialogue Timaeus. Chora is the name of a receptive space in constant movement giving space to movement. It is a mythological concept – dating from before classical Greek philosophy and also from before classical Greek theatre –, storing archaic ritualistic dimensions. In Plato’s Timaeus chora is the space of movement as such that lets everything else – the elements and their movements – emerge; it does so by not having any shape itself and by being permanently moving. In Timaeus it is said that chora is a space which is never still and never in balance: it is shaking, trembling. Timaeus also links this mythological precosmic shaking of chora to the human body and its desire to move – in order to keep the elements in healthy relations.

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Wölla, July 2019

Through the ancient name chora the contemporary perception of space in motion, of a world and a planet in fundamental transformation is linked to the peripheries – pre-philosophy, pre-theatre –, to the deep times of Western thought and art. Chora, the name, is a channel to the ancient, the mythological and even archaic and to their symbolic and affective potentials. In a strange way it seems right and coherent that today in the most futuristic conceptions of space the most archaic image of transformation reappears. The most natural and the most artificial meet at the same time, disturbingly and convincingly in many of the most contemporary places on our planet.

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Prenzlauer Promenade, May 2019

We dedicate Chora to questions and experiences of time and space. We understand it as a process of growth that will continue and last into its time of being publicly presented. We will grow into publication, through it and out of it. We expose ourselves to a time – the growing – that is usually over when a work is presented, when it is finished. In Chora we set a frame that allows us to stay open to time, to be affected by time, to let time come to us.

Videos / pictures with Zoé Alibert, Charlie Fouchier, Judith Förster, Micaela Kühn Jara, Julia B. Laperrière, Sonia Noya, Assi Pakkanen, Katharina Wallisch

Call for Choreutic Movers (Dancers and Performers) 2019 OVER

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Chora, model view

For their new space choreography Chora Moritz Majce and Sandra Man are looking for choreutic movers. The essence of Chora will be a chorus in a growing landscape on mobile grounds. Expanding over one week in November 2019 as part of Open Spaces Festival of Tanzfabrik Berlin Chora will be dealing with expansion and excess – diving into pleasures of becoming and facing threats of too much.

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Choros VI, District, Berlin, 2018

In Chora Sandra and Moritz continue their work on space choreography and landscape, consisting of movement, objects, videos, spoken words and sound (see their recent work Choros VI), on the chorus as a life form of somatic and spatial relations and technonature as our current biosphere.

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Choros V, WUK performing arts, Vienna, 2018

They are looking for professional dancers and performers with strong interest in precise group work and intense choral practices, joy in relating to others, becoming and incorporating a collective organism by investing their strong individual presence.

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Choros I, Uferstudios, Berlin, 2016

They will give a workshop in April in Berlin.

After a tryout block in May and two video shootings in May and September main production time is from mid September until the last performance on Nov 9th.

Moritz and Sandra are looking forward to read from you on:

ms@moritzmajcesandraman.com

Choros VI – Talking Cure with Elisabeth Schäfer 30.11.2018

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Choros V, Afterplace

When I ask you to talk about Choros this invitation comes out of a desire to talk and to talk about desire. To talk about the desire hidden and expressed in the piece, the desire to make and create, and to talk about the desire to visit and to watch, to feel, to listen, to explore and to be touched. The desire to understand, to explain, to think, to go beyond and let go. To talk about the desire to perform, to move and be moved, to be present, to connect. The desire to be more and other than one. To talk about the desire to participate and to share the desire.

Maybe talking is taking care – of the piece and every part in it.

Let’s try.

Elisabeth Schäfer is a queer-feminist Philosopher and Extern Lecturer for Philosophy (national and international), e.g. at the Department for Philosophy at the University of Vienna, Austria. Her work crosses the borders of Art and Philosophy. Currently she is writing her habilitation thesis on: „Writing Matters: Trans-Sensible Exposures. Writing as Arts-based Research“.

Publications:

– Die offene Seite der Schrift. Jacques Derrida und Hélène Cixous Côte à Côte. Passagen Verlag: Vienna 2008.
– Anthologies/Selection: Together with Esther Hutfless (Eds.) (2017): Hélène Cixous. Gespräch mit dem Esel. Blind Schreiben. Wien: Zaglossus and together with Esther Hutfless and Gertrude Postl (Eds.) (2013/2017): Hélène Cixous: Das Lachen der Medusa. Zusammen mit aktuellen Beiträgen. Vienna: Passagen.
– Editing of Journals/Selction: Together with Arno Böhler and Eva-Maria Aigner Elisabeth Schäfer edited the first bilingual Edition of the Journal PERFORMANCE PHILOSOPHY JOURNAL. Title of the issue: „The Concept of Immanence in Performance Philosophy“, Palgrave Macmillan, 2018.https://www.performancephilosophy.org/journal/article/view/137 DOI: https://doi.org/10.21476/PP.2017.33137

Choros VI – Spectator Training with Gabrielle Cram 29.11.2018

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Photo: © Rasmus Bell

29.11.2018, ab 14.30 Uhr

Somatic Spectator Training with Gabrielle Cram

In the installation setting of Choros VI
District Berlin, Bessemerstraße 2-14 12103 Berlin

Registration: ms@moritzmajcesandraman.com

Spectator Training (Open Level) is an applied space and movement practice within the installational setting of Choros VI and which seeks to sensitize your own body for space, relationships and gravity. In an explorative way and through simple scores and practices stemming from body work together with the performers we will investigate the kinesthetic experiencing of the existing performance in the shared space in our own bodies. Like that we draw attention to our own sensing as a form of active participation and tune it for possible (relational) modes of reception. The idea of the offered practice is a body-based spatial preparation, which consciously seeks to augment, deepen and alter the potentialities of being a “spectator”. It is directed at all interested and doesn’t require any previous knowledge. Languages spoken are English and German.

Gabrielle Cram, born in Falkirk, Scotland, lives and works as Dramaturge for Contemporary Dance and Performance in Vienna. Her research focuses on transpersonal agency within transmedia alliances and her applied movement research on mixed abled strategies. She is certified DanceAbility instructor, a movement form based on the principles of early Contact Improvisation and which understands the multiplicity, singularity and diversity of the dancing bodies from their potentiality within. The engagement in transdisciplinary fields and practices of translation—between genres, spaces, times, locations, languages—takes an important role in her work. Her practice is marked by diverse forms of mediation such as the creation of spaces for negotiation and contact zones for still open processes.

From 2014-17 she held the position of head of dramaturgy and research at choreographic centre Tanzquartier Vienna and she is member of collective ttp–Dance Theatre Performance (production, training and research) WUK. She works as translator, artist and as curator e.g. as Curator for Performance and Performative Expressions at electronic music and progressive performance festival donaufestival Krems (2012-14) and as a project curator for Vienna based art foundation Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary (2005-08). Her research focuses on the fields of unlearning in the context of de-colonial practices, narrative hacking and transculturality. She studied a combination of Romanistics, Art History and Theatre, Film and Media Studies at University Vienna as well as Conceptual Art and Cultural Studies at Academy of Fine Arts Vienna. https://cominghome.dance