performance platform. body affects

“In affect, we are never alone. That’s because affects … are basically ways of connecting, to others and to other situations. They are our angle of participation in processes larger than ourselves.” (Brian Massumi)

Humans and animals, organic and inorganic bodies are interwoven together and constantly interact with one another. They contaminate and affect each other, are connected and in movement. body affects presents artists and theorists who regard the body not independent of its extensions and contexts and integrate the body in a solidarity with other life forms.

The programme is informed by cultural and feminist thinkers – including Sarah Ahmed, Rosi Braidotti, Patricia T. Clough, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick and Brian Massumi – who take the affective, relational and permeable body as a starting point for their theorization of the social. This perspective brings the materiality of the body to the foreground. The body is seen in a dialogical relation to the world, it is regarded as interspersed with external influences (organic and inorganic, human, animal and technological) and as in a constant state of becoming. Affect is hereby not so much understood as emotion, but more “as the body’s simultaneous capacity of affecting and being affected, which hints at a transition, a virtual co-presence of potentials, as we move through life”, as stated by Brian Massumi. Affects run counter to the dichotomies of body and mind, rationality and passion, self and other and indicate the co-presence and co-emergence of the body in a broader social, technological, (in)organic and ecological context.

Rosi Braidotti and many others point at the urgency to withdraw this affective body from its growing capitalist exploitation and to place it at the centre of a new ethics, which some refer to as “posthuman”. It is considered as such because humans cannot be perceived as  independent of their technical extensions and because they are part of a solidarity that transcends the human species.

body affects presents selected artistic and philosophical approaches that regard other life forms as “companion species” (to quote Donna Haraway) and not as disposable commodities and the human body as part of a larger context of relations and connections. The live performances, lectures, screenings and installations focus on three main themes:

1. The investigation of the material body, which transforms in the affective encounter with “the other” and with organic or inorganic “objects”. With Performances, Videos und Lectures by Lygia Clark, Patricia T. Clough, Amanda Baggs, Nao Bustamante, Tuija Kokkonen, Marcela Levi & Lucía Russo und Boyan Manchev.

2. The complex relations and encounters between humans and animals (or human and non-human animals, as formulated by Donna Haraway). Videos, Performances and Lectures by Julie Andreyev, Antonia Baehr, Vinciane Despret, Simone Forti, Vladimir Miller, Kira O’Reilly, Carolee Schneemann and Corinna Schnitt explore various dimensions of this topic.

3. The relations between the body and urban (micro-)ecological networks with works by Tuija Kokkonen, Zoe Laughlin und Wietske Maas & Matteo Pasquinelli.

This extended programme booklet deepens the reflections with contributions by participating artists and theoreticians as well as further authors.

performance platform is a new programme that systematically explores performance as a medium. The platform understands performance as an investigative and experimental artistic practice that straddles the divide between art and life. Not least due to this social and political relevance, performance art has undergone a revival over the last years and is increasingly becoming the focus of attention. performance platform is therefore engaged in the sustainable development and production of – and a deeper reflections on – this form of expression located at the crossroads between the visual and performing arts. Realised in cooperation with different institutions from both artistic fields, each instalment wants to focus on a pertinent theme in the visual and performing arts that will serve as a basis for conducting a conversation across genres.

Next to the cooperation with Sophiensaele and the Videoforum of the Neuer Berliner Kunstverein (n.b.k.) the Hochschulübergeifendes Zentrum Tanz Berlin is actively participating in this programme with its teachers and students. Another important contribution is from WOW – wir arbeiten hier, a research and exchange platform from and for Berlin based Performance artists.

We look forward to seeing you!

Bettina Knaup & Silke Bake

July 2012