The one-year project series “OUR DANCE – What is your dance?”, funded by the Berlin Senate Department for Culture and Europe, since spring 2020 has been based on a setting that is concerned about our work and our constellations. In this setting we wanted to use the potentiality of the local to bring together different neighbors or non-neighbors and emerge from unlikely encounters with a shared or individual experience, with mixed or unambiguous feelings, energies, affects, anger and insight. We ask: How can a public space be curated through the collaboration of a group? How can different audiences be mixed through unexpected gatherings in this process?
Largely under the unexpected auspices of the pandemic caused by Covid-19, we have been searching for constellations of shared learning and unlearning for more than a year now. Instead of giving and taking, instead of outreach and receiving, we set up our work as an exchange of expertise of various kinds. This tangents to some, but not all. It opens to these, but not to those. Only in the overall view of the fluctuations and confusions did small tectonic shifts become apparent. Beyond a paternalistic ethos of gratification, which accompanies many activities in the intermediate area between art and cultural education, we asked what we ourselves want to know and what points of contact arise from this. How do we proceed, how does this world proceed through and as an embodiment of changeable structures? Therefore, seventeen months ago by now, we consciously started with a very simple question that is close to us, that takes the subjective extremely personally, but at the same time offers the possibility to be examined in its social, historical and cultural complexity. In this respect, the central question of OUR DANCE is: What is YOUR dance? And, even further, how do we then dance together?
The durational online event that concludes our project, “OUR DANCE - The living room edition”, inquires into biographical elements whilst exploring the hybridity of cultures and cultural techniques. It approaches embodiment as a shared memory space and offers connections to a biographical as well as socio-political and (inter)cultural exploration. Dancing is practiced here as a special case of what Stefano Harney and Fred Moten describe in “The Undercommons” (2013): They conceive learning at all levels as a collective act of knowledge exchange and knowledge production. For them, this collective learning means a practice against general disinterest or the hyper-individualized interest of individuals. Un/learning is about an interest beyond the individual search for self-interest. It crosses identities and generates new communities.
Given the abundance of dance happening in and around Uferstudios, we want to conclude with “OUR DANCE - The living room edition” together with our guests with a program series that examines dance in its various forms, as a practice that is in each case its own – biographically determined, acquired, deformed or found – along the following questions:
* What is the history, what are the cultures, politics, structures and preconditions of YOUR dance?
* How is YOUR dance embedded in the politics of its history and origins, what are the collectivizing and what are the individualizing forces that can be found in it? How and what does it embody and how does it produce a particular knowledge that cannot be found anywhere else?
* What is YOUR dance at all, how does it work and how can I – the other – dance it?
Different strategies and methods of investigation apply to different types of dance – be it street dance, dance history(s), Madonna videos, Irish social dances, theoretical practices or workshops. Whether as affirmation, as critical embodiment, or as techniques of individualization or communization: the various researches and an international conference which have been realized within the framework of our series questioned 'their dance' with their own methods and by drawing on different inputs from experts in other fields. In each case, specific decisions were made about what kinds of collaborations and what kinds of openings were needed.
PSR is a collective of Berlin-based artists and cultural workers (Lea Martini, Sheena McGrandles, Modjgan Hashemian, Stefan Hölscher, Mila Pavićević, Juli Reinartz and Simone Willeit) who have been collaborating since the 25h event “Househeating” at the Heizhaus of Uferstudios in October 2019. Most of the PSR artists are also active as cultural workers, mentors and teachers in addition to their artistic projects.
Production management: Monica Ferrari and Francesca Spisto. Technical support: Hanna Kritten Tangsoo.
Graphic design: Matrose Mantober.
Funded by the Berliner Senatsverwaltung für Kultur und Europa and the Bezirksamt Mitte. Supported by the Creative Europe Program of the EU, Life Long Burning and the Uferstudios.