self (3)

Here is the premiere of our wearable tech / contemporary dance piece at the HASTAC conference last week. 

Our clumsy bows aside, we got some good feedback, and I am interested in continuing this line of research where new media technologies can be employed to enrich the affectivity of performative art. 

Would love to get your thoughts on it.

Enjoy. Click!

Watch it at night. If you don't I'll know. :)



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Concentric: Literary and Cultural Studies 36.2
Sept. 2010: 89-102

Malabou, Plasticity, and the Sculpturing of the Self
Hugh J. Silverman
Department of Philosophy
Stony Brook University, U.S.A

In What Shall We Do With Our Brain? (2004), French philosopher Catherine
Malabou returns to the traditional philosophical mind-body problem (we do not
experience our mind as a “brain”) and introduces the concept of a difference or
“split” between our brain as a hard material substance and our consciousness of
the brain as a non-identity. Malabou speaks of the brain’s plasticity, a term
which stands between (as a kind of deconstructive “indecidable”) flexibility
and rigidity, suppleness and solidity, fixedness and transformability, identity
and modifiability, determination and freedom. This means seeing the brain no
longer as the “center” and “sovereign power” of the body—as it has been seen
for centuries, at least in the West—but as itself a locus and process of selfsculpting (self-forming) and transdifferentiation, as being very closely interconnected with the rest of the body. Malabou also speaks of our own
potential to sculpt or “re-fashion” ourselves, and (by further extension) to reform our society through trans-differentiating into new and potentially freer, more open and more democratic socio-political forms. In this bold project
Malabou still remains close to her Hegelian roots, and she is also influenced by
Merleau-Ponty’s notion of the body-subject and Nancy’s alter-mondialisation
(other-worlding) as an alternative to globalization.

brain, plasticity, non-identity, self-decentering, transdifferentiation, entre-deux
altermondialisation, sculpting the self, Hegel, phenomenology

For the rest of the doc go to:

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Self interview 2005 Galina Borissova

Text by Galina Borissova

Self interview 2005

Published at

Translation in English from Bulgarian - Katerina Popova

photo: Viktor Vlaesku

I entered ballet school by pure chance. The first time I applied I wasturned down for the ridiculous reason that I had a face scar (from aburn when I was three). The second time I was admitted for the just asridiculous reason that I’d had plastic surgery to remove the scar. Ialso hid the fact that in parallel position my legs weren’t exactlystraight, as required of ballet dancer. As a result of all this Ideveloped, perhaps unconsciously, a sense of individuality and apointless ambition to prove myself even while I was a child. Later onthese two things – lies and chance – taught me to recognize realitywhich, at the time I was old enough to finish school (1985), didn’t lookpromising at all.

The subsequent “intentional” specializations in the USand Western Europe fine-tuned my senseof discernment and orientation in the vast [boundless] field oftechniques and styles, methods and dance tastes. I realized that if Ifollowed fashion I’d lose individuality and if I followed myself I’dlose the chance to take the easy path.

After 1989 I had the luck to start teaching at the age of 21 without knowing exactly how to do it, and since I wasworking with a group of actors I could experiment with them. That is howI started looking for my own way of effective movement, at timescomfortable and at times uncomfortable, desperate to free my body fromthe nine-year straitjacket of conditioning by ballet technique deeplyencoded in my mind and body. I wanted to be free and I wanted to beoriginal, to avoid repeating the already familiar.

So, my choreographies could not be identified with any particular dance technique, and in Bulgaria atthe beginning they often upset my colleagues but not the audience,which watched my shows intuitively with an open, unbiased mind. Myindividuality was appreciated eventually in Holland,where I won an international choreography competition and was supportedon several occasions by the Grand Theatre in Groningen. This gave me strength, muchneeded, to fight for a place on the national scene too.

In the last twenty years I have produced, participated in and staged more than fifteen shows, almost all of them with free-lanceartists from Bulgariaand other countries. Dancers crossed boundaries as early as thebeginning of the twentieth century, and have since been traveling andchanging continents nonstop. To speak of Finnish dance or of Bulgariandance is, in my view, a rather limited way of looking at things becauseFinnish dance or Bulgarian dance is made by names and not bynationalities.

The themes I “explore” in my pieces are common, human, natural reactions to myeveryday and private life. I was once paid the compliment that I was a“Chaplinesque actress.” Or that my choreographies have a sense of humorsimilar to Mr. Bean’s.

Those compliments are my biggest reward.

I prefer modern variety and cabaret acts to intellectual experimental pretensions that nobody wants to see.

I am surprised sometimes by people who don’t understand that although there is no text, nonverbal shows also have a script thatcan be very serious. Whether I want to end my show facing or with backturned to the audience is a statement. What is conveyed not by words butby actions has a much more powerful emotional effect than verbalcomments or statements.

Classical dance I associate more with appearance and aesthetics, beauty and vitality,while modern dance gives me more opportunities to rearrange realitybecause modernity means destroying the primacy of external reality.

In my latest shows I notice a distancing from the material I am creating. This enables personal interpretations of the observed andexperienced. I use the immediacy of facts rather than sensationalismthrough their use. I am not interested in concepts of space, time, andmovement because I think they exist in us. I am more interested inintuition, love, hate, risk… The ugly cuts through me deeply, like deeplines and wrinkles on the face, and the beautiful makes me cry, likesomething impossible to repeat.

After music, dance is what can make me open my eyes wide.

I can’t imagine that the future of dance lies in cloning of individuals who meet European standards. I believe in the survival ofindividuality. Sometimes at the expense of the individual.

You need to be very brave to “strip naked” before the audience, to show yourself directly but discreetly expose yourselfunobtrusively. The scene shouldn’t be interpreted. It is perceived as asensation and grasped through this emotion.

I call myself a mutant choreographer. In English, mutant means “changing, altering, something orsomeone that is the result of change.” I don’t know why in everydayBulgarian mutant has negative connotations.

Galina Borissova

Sofia, November 20, 2005

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