Research Pavilion: Choreographic

Tuesday, June 27, 2017 - 10:00 to Wednesday, June 28, 2017 - 19:00
Sala del Camino, Venice
Research Pavilion

A two-day research event consisting of talks, discussions, workshops and performances / Valand Academy in collaboration with GradCAM, Dublin and the Department of Art, Goldsmiths.

CHOREOGRAPHIC aims to test, interrogate and animate the valence of choreographic registers for artistic and cultural work within contemporary socialities. If we understand the choreographic beyond its normative association with dance as a set of language possibilities, procedural matrices and production protocols, how are its competencies to be understood in a post-skill environment?

The emergence of dramaturgy as a professional category within institutional curating attests to a new interest in the choreographic as work, as much as the interest in and circulation of dance and related forms under the conditions of museum displays and collection protocols. The largely consensual inscription of the choreographic into the broader milieu of artistic labour and commodities is one key perspective for this proposal; debates around practice- based research formats within HE institutions and their material and discursive supports are another. Against these backdrops, the choreographic aims to test the extent to which languages of the choreographic (discursive as well as performed) afford us the possibility to re-visit habituated languages of curating, artistic production and display.


For Venice 2017, Choreographic stages two theatrical productions to problematise how dance might perform as a site of political contestation. A dance workshop pitched against neo-liberal choreographies of production on day one, and a delegated performance profiling passivity against authorship on day two, will be framed by lectures, performative presentations and ample time for discussion.

The event is co-sponsored by Valand Academy, University of Gothenburg, Department of Art, Goldsmiths, and GradCAM, Dublin. It builds on research initiated by Edgar Schmitz.


Edgar Schmitz is an artist who produces escapist backgrounds from film, sculpture, animation and writing. His work was part of A.C.A.D.E.M.Y (Vanabbemuseum 2006), No Soul for Sale (Tate Modern, 2010), British Art Show 7 (Hayward Touring, 2010/11) a.o., and has been presented in solo exhibitions at ICA, London (with Liam Gillick, 2006), FormContent (London, 2010), Cooper Gallery (Dundee, 2012) and Himalayas Art Museum (Shanghai, 2015). His Hubs and Fictions book (with Sophia Hao) was published by Sternberg Press in 2016. He is currently working on Alovestorysomewherearound2046 (with Pieternel Vermoortel), Choreographic (with Mårten Spångberg), Animate Assembly (with Verina Gfader and Esther Leslie) and Imminent Futures (with Sophia Hao). Schmitz is Associate Researcher 2017 at netwerk center for contemporary art, Aalst (B), one of their shadow artists for 2017-18, and a Senior Lecturer in Art at Goldsmiths, University of London.

Dr Andrea Phillips is PARSE Professor of Art at Valand Academy and editor-in-chief of PARSE, Faculty of Fine and Applied Arts, University of Gothenburg. Andrea lectures internationally and writes about the economic and social construction of publics and markets within contemporary art, the manipulation of forms of participation and the potential of forms of political, architectural and social reorganization within artistic and curatorial culture. Previous to her role at Valand, Andrea was Professor of Art and Director of the Art Department Research Programmes at Goldsmiths, University of London where she remains a Visiting Professor.

DAY ONE, 27 JUNE 2017

10:00-10:15                              Assemble
10:15-10:45                              Irina Gheorghe, Foreign Language for Beginners (performance)

“The l lies between the words and the worlds. Between the words lies the world. Between the worlds lies the word. The l between the words and the worlds lies. As anything placed in between, its character is ambiguous. The uppercase of i overlaps the lowercase of L, creating an imprecise zone of contact between the upper and the lower. As above, so below.
Foreign Language for Beginners explores the dynamics and history of an improbable first contact by way of speech, sound and movement. It's a guide of conversation with the world outside the word by way of word, inside a room.”

Irina Gheorghe is an artist from Bucharest, Romania. She studied painting and photography at the University of Arts Bucharest, but has worked mainly with media which involve being physically present. She is interested in ways to bend this presence to explore the unobservable, the limits of possibility, the deep past and the deep future, while staying within the confines of the everyday, using techniques of the backgarden sci-fi, minimal weird, modest land art, and deviant situation. Under the working frame Psychic Agency, her works have been exploring ambiguity as a language to address visitors from another world, estrangement as a method to access this other world while never leaving this one, as well as art’s relation to other disciplines in proposing deviant knowledge methodologies.

10:45-11:00                              Andrea Phillips/ Edgar Schmitz, Welcome and Introduction
11:00-13:00                              A conversation around and through choreography with Mårten Spångberg, Andrea Phillips and Edgar Schmitz: etymologies, histories, politics, futurities. Intervention: Adriano Wifert Jensen

13:00-14:00                              Lunch
14:00-16:00                              Mårten Spångberg, Digital Technology

“I don’t know what this is all about. A little trip I do with the audience. Together we can perhaps figure out what’s between the lines and move on in small dances, a bunch of objects that animate themselves in companionship with me. It’s a little like talking about a book that we all read but really long ago and remember different things and now they are played again, in front of us but more inside and there is also a quite slow film. A film – like the piece – that’s there more like the television left on without sound. I like television sets that sit there without nobody looking. I image that that’s the time when the TV really enjoys itself, appreciating the images and sequences for what they are not what they show.

I have a friend whose name is Juan Dominguez. It’s a name with a really nice flow and in the end we eat ice-cream together without speaking too much. That’s so sweet, to enjoy something really good and in silence. If you wait for a while, it is possible to just show up.

Digital Technology is a meditation in the company of objects, a feed of impressions that comes to an end and there we are and it’s nothing special, ok?”

Mårten Spångberg is an artist who has always identified as a choreographer and has operated across disciplines. He was educated as a musician and has a background in writing and criticism but as a professional artist has always had stronger affiliations with the visual art field than with dance and performance. His work has since the early 2000s has been shown worldwide and he has collaborated with choreographers with strong connections to visual art such as Xavier Le Roy and Tino Sehgal. In collaboration with the architect Tor Lindstrand he worked as International Festival between 2003–2010, with activities mostly in architecture and visual art contexts, producing projects for Tate Liverpool, Venice Biennale for Architecture, Performa, Tensta Konsthall, Witte De With, Haus der Kulturen Der Welt, Van Abbe Museum, Gothenburg Kunsthalle and many more places. In 2010 Mårten Spångberg created Production together with Xavier Le Roy for Move, curated by Stefanie Rosenthal for Hayward Gallery (London), Haus der Kunst (Munich) and K20 (Dusseldorf). In 2011 Spångberg published his first book which brought him to New York where he started a close collaboration with MoMA PS1 that commissioned first a small solo exhibition in the form of talks and then a large scale performance that opened in January 2014 and has since been exhibited/ shown in Moderna Muse­um (Stockholm), Palais de Tokyo (Paris) and in numerous festivals and season programs. His The Internet (2015) - commissioned by Gallery Supportico Lopez (Berlin) and Index (Stockholm) – is a 4 hours long exhibition in the form of a performance. Spångberg’s NATTEN (2016) premiered in MAMBO (Bologna). In 2017 the piece will be shown in Boghossian Foundation in Brussels. Mårten Spångberg is associate artist at Black Box theater, Oslo (NO) for 2017-18.

Adriano Wilfert Jensen uses choreography to analyse and produce conditions of relations. His practice manifests in making, performing, curating, representing and dealing choreography, as well as other occupations like a series of cocktail hang outs, publications, research projects, teaching etc. He has worked with artists such as Mårten Spångberg, Anne Imhof and Dora Garcia and presented his work in venues such as Material - Mexico City, Jan Mot - Bruxelles, Impulstanz - Vienna and De Appel - Amsterdam.

Together with Simon Asencio he is since 2014 running Galerie - an immaterial gallery for immaterial artworks. And together with Emma Daniel, Linda Blomqvist and Anna Gaïotti he is organizing Indigo Dance Festival, Magazine and Tink Thanks at Performing Arts Forum. The mission of Galerie is to support and promote immaterial objecthood: works that cannot be reduced to material objects or to the documentation of an action. Economical formats and “representations” are tailored to each artwork and developed in collaboration with represented artists, offering unique opportunities for the artwork to extend and disseminate on its own terms.

16:00-16:15                              Coffee
16:15-17:15                              Astrid von Rosen & Linda Sterno, DIY Dying Swan

This presentation features a staging of excerpts from Astrid von Rosen’s video work from 1994-96 when she was employed as a classical and contemporary dancer at the Gothenburg Opera, a major cultural institution in the Swedish city of Gothenburg. Experimenting with DIY punk inspired techniques and using a Video Home System (VHS) camera Astrid went backstage to film her colleagues acting out their frustration with being caught up in a system of brutal, sexualized means of expression. Merging a devastating feeling of belonging to a dying art form with a feminist urge to represent what it was like in the early 1990s economic meltdown to try to survive as a dancer, mother, wife and mistress she also created her own, rather bloody version of The Dying Swan, after a canonical work by Mikhail Fokine from 1905. Not deposited in any authorized archive, the VHS-materials have been rescued – transferred to a digital format – by filmmaker Linda Sternö and edited to resonate with Astrid’s live talk.

Astrid von Rosen is a former classical and contemporary dancer educated at the Royal Swedish Ballet School. Today she is a senior lecturer in Art History and Visual Studies at the University of Gothenburg and a research coordinator for the Embracing the Archives cluster at the Centre for Critical Heritage Studies. Her research interests include historiographical and participatory approaches to independent dance community archives and archiving, the power of images in relation to social change and transformation, and border crossing methodological development. Recent publications include Dream-Playing across Borders (Makadam 2016), and “ ‘Dream no Small Dreams!’ Impossible archival imaginaries in dance community archiving in a digital age” in Rethinking Dance History, (second edition, Routledge July 2017).

Linda Sternö has worked as a lecturer at Valand Academy since 2012.  She holds a BA in film directing from Gothenburg University and an MA Visual Culture and Learning with a specialisation in Visual Arts Education from Konstfack in Stockholm. Linda has worked as film director and producer with films shown on national television and international cinema. During the last five years Linda has been focused on developing a pedagogic method and theory around visual practice. 

17:15 – 18:00                           Alexandra Kolb, Multiculturalism at the Crossroads: The choreographic visions of Akram Khan and Lloyd Newson

“In a climate riven by national insecurities, anti-immigration movements and (in the UK) competing visions of a post-Brexit future, this paper examines the contentious space that multiculturalism has inhabited in 21st century choreography. It will examine two acclaimed contemporary dance pieces by Akram Khan and Lloyd Newson to investigate the starkly differing perspectives which characterize current discourses on multiculturalism in the UK. As Falcous and Silk remark (2010, 168), multiculturalism has been seen (variously) as a solution to the problem of national unity and inclusivity, and as an impediment to an integrated and harmonious society.

Khan’s and Newson’s works provide aesthetic reflections of this conflicted discourse. Abide with Me, Akram Khan’s contribution to the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games, was part of a global media spectacle which asserted the UK’s post-imperial and multicultural profile. By contrast, Lloyd Newson’s contemporaneous theatre work Can We talk about this? (2011/12) was highly critical of current British approaches to multiculturalism, particularly prevailing attitudes to Islam and Islamism. The two choreographies will be illuminated and assessed using a theoretical framework that draws on political thought as well as dance studies. Both works share commonalities in manifesting the entanglement of dance with British politics, and offer contributions to national (and, by extension, broader international) debates around tolerance, culture and diasporic identities. Taken together, they reveal Britain’s ambiguous attitude to multiculturalism and, indeed, to nationalism.”

Alexandra Kolb is Associate Professor in Dance at Middlesex University, London. Following her doctorate at Cambridge University, she held positions as chair of Dance Studies at Otago University in New Zealand and head of Academic Studies at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance in Leeds. She is the author of Performing Femininity: Dance and Literature in German Modernism (2009), editor of Dance and Politics (2011), and contributor to a wide range of international dance and arts journals. She is a recent recipient of the Gertrude Lippincott Award for the best English-language article in dance studies (2014), a British Academy/Leverhulme Grant (2015), and a Harry Ransom Fellowship at the University of Texas at Austin (2013). She is on the board of directors of the SDHS, the executive committee of the SDR, and is Reviews Editor of Dance Research.

DAY TWO, 28 JUNE 2017

10:00-10:15                              Assemble/ Resumé
10:15-10:45                              Cathy O’Carroll, Mask–Track–Merge

“I’m following the spot op. who follows the dancer, from the lime man, to the cue sheet, to the prompts and protocols of the digital lighting board. This playful performance mobilizes the work of Gilbert Simondon to reflect upon a choreography of the masking and unmasking of back stage labour.”

Cathy O’Carroll is a lighting designer based in Dublin with a practice in performance scenography. She is a second year Fiosraigh scholar with GradCAM, Dublin Institute of Technology. Her research focuses on the interrelation of scenography, techné and practices of the ‘amateur’. She is a member of the GradCAM ‘Aesthetics Research Group’ whose creative practice centres on collaborative writing and pedagogical performance. Recent presentation/performances: “Palimpsest” (EARN, Brussels, 2016), “Authored Site as ‘Amateur’ Space” (International Federation of Theatre Research Conference, Stockholm, 2016), “When the Amateur Appears on the Scene” (Performance Studies International Conference, 2017).

10:45-11:00                              Coffee
11:00-15:00                              How Can One Know In Such Darkness? A work by Myriam Lefkowitz, performed by Vanessa Desclaux and Emilie Renard in collaboration with Raimundas Malasauskas

11:00-11:45                              Session 1
11:45-12:30                              Session 2
12:30-13:30                              Lunch
13:30-14:15                              Session 3
14:15-15:00                              Session 4

One performer welcomes one person. The person is invited to close her eyes and lie down on a mattress placed on the floor of a theatre stage. Around the mattress, on the floor, one can see several blankets, pillows, different kinds of cloth, stones, and other objects. During the 30 minutes that the experience lasts, the performer will weave a non verbal narrative of space, made of the activation of the present objects and materials which will come in contact (through sound or touch) with the lying body. The person will hardly notice the performer’s presence; nor will she fully recognize his or her gestures, his or her movements. Only the ‘inanimate’ elements in space will be experienced as being animate.
A blurriness seeps into the mind around what one feels, imagine, recall, or think: a strange mixture of sleep and wakefulness where a different regime of images appears.

Myriam Lefkowitz has entrusted her work How can one know in such darkness?  to the curators Emilie Renard and Vanessa Desclaux, who have been trained to perform this work in the context of its activation at La Galerie, contemporary art centre in Noisy-le-Sec, Greater Paris, since November 2016. Emilie Renard, Vanessa Desclaux and Myriam Lefkowitz have invited Raimundas Malasauskas to join them for this new moment of activation in Venice where he had previously invited Myriam Lefkowitz in the context of the Oo Pavillon in 2013.

Renard and Desclaux wonder what happens in regard to their practices of curating when they become performers of Lefkowitz’s work. They are here to continue exploring the displacement of their practice that this situation allows, differently taking care of the artist’s work, of the bodies of the spectators, and their own bodies and of their relationship as co-curators.

Myriam Lefkowitz is a performance artist. Since 2010, her research is focused on questions of attention and perception, which she develops through different immersive devices involving a direct relation between spectators and performers. Her work has been presented at Kadist Foundation (San Fransisco), the MOT (Tokyo), Med15 (Medellin), De Appel (Amsterdam), Le Mouvement (Biel), The Center for Contemporary Art (Vilnius), The Venice Biennale (Lithuanian and Cyprus Pavillon), Le Nouveau Festival (Centre Pompidou), The Bergen Triennial (Council), Public Art Agency (Stockholm). In 2011, she took part in the master of experimentation in Art and Politics (SPEAP, Science Po Paris) founded by Bruno Latour. From 2013 to 2015 she was an artist in residency at les Laboratoires d'Aubervilliers where she started a writing practice (Walk, Hands, Eyes, (a city) - a book was published by les Laboratoires d'Aubervilliers and les Beaux Arts de Paris. For two years, she has been developing a collaborative project called La Piscine, gathering different attention practices coming from the research of 8 different artists. The first edition of La Piscine was carried out in a public swimming pool in Pantin (a city in the suburbs of Paris), produced by Les Laboratoires d’Aubervilliers. La Piscine was presented in Riga (Latvia in the context of Survival Kit Festival), in Bergen (invited by Council and Tarek Atoui for the Triennal) and will be going to Brussels (invited by the Kaaiteater in March 2018). She is currently collaborating with the art centre, La Galerie and is part of the next edition of If I can't dance I don't want to be part of your revolution (Amsterdam) in collaboration with La Ferme du Buisson (Noisiel, Greater Paris).

Raimundas Malašauskas has co-written an opera libretto, co-produced a television show, served as an agent for dOCUMENTA (13), and published a book of his writings:

Emilie Renard is currently the director of La Galerie, contemporary art centre in Noisy-le-Sec, since 2013. Now, showing a collective show “Your hands in my shoes” including artist Myriam Lefkowitz, with Vanessa Desclaux as an associate curator. The exhibition extends over a year and evolves slowly. Previously, as a freelance curator, she curated several shows, including most recently Intense Proximity, La Triennale, Paris, at Palais de Tokyo in 2012 (as an associate curator to Okwui Enwezor, with Mélanie Bouteloup, Claire Staebler and Abdellah Karroum) and was an invited curator at the national art school in Lyon.

Vanessa Desclaux is currently associate curator at the art centre La Galerie in Noisy-le-Sec. She is an independent curator and writer. She completed her PhD at Goldsmiths, University of London in 2016. Her practice-based research in curating reflected on the political conditions of curatorial practice today, specifically looking into curatorial practices challenging notions of authorship, professionalization and expertise through concepts of ethics, spectatorship, or fabulation, and a revised concept of passivity. She is a lecturer at the école nationale supérieure d’art de Dijon since 2011.

15:00-16:00                              Roundtable discussion with Vanessa Desclaux, Raimundas Malasauskas, Emilie Renard
16:00-16:15                              Coffee
16:15-17:00                              Noel Fitzpatrick, Hermeneutics and Gesture 

“This short intervention will propose a framework for the process of interpretation of gesture, the framework will be based on the development of a hermeneutics of gesture. The questions of intelligibility and understanding of the movement in space will be set out in relation to the development of new forms of hermeneutics, the advent of digital technologies has led the new possible forms of hermeneutics of gesture or digital annotation of gesture.”

Noel Fitzpatrick (doc ès lettres, Paris VII) is the Dean of GradCAM, Director of RADICUL and Head of Research at the College of Arts and Tourism at Dublin Institute of Technology. He teaches Philosophy and Aesthetics to postgraduate and undergraduate students at the school of Art Design and Printing and he supervises PhD, Mphil and MA students in the College of Arts and Tourism. Noel also gives seminars on phenomenology, hermeneutics, philosophy and technology at the Graduate School. He is a leading member of the European Artistic Research Network, SHARE and European Society of Aesthetics.  He is regularly invited to speak and host seminars internationally.   Noel is a member of Ars Industrialis, (Founded by Bernard Stiegler) and represents the DIT on the Digital Studies network at the l’institut de recherche et innovation (IRI) at the Pompidou Centre in Paris. Noel has recently published on the the Philosophy of Paul Ricoeur and the ontological status of Fiction and the philosophy of Bernard Stiegler in relations to question of Aesthetics and performance. 

17:00-19:00                              Concluding Session


Event details are subject to change. Event details are subject to change. See also Facebook event.


This event is part of the Research Pavilion’s Camino Events series, a cross-artistic program which consists of screenings, concerts, seminars, artist talks, performances and interventions from over 100 artists and artistic-researchers from art universities of Northern Europe.

The Research Pavilion is created and hosted by Uniarts Helsinki, and realized together with the Norwegian Artistic Research Programme and the Swedish Art Universities’ collaboration Konstex in co-operation with the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna and Zurich University of the Arts.

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