Im/possible choreographies : dis/orientation, diffraction and/as dance's response to the contemporary moment

Perazzo Domm, Daniela (2017) Im/possible choreographies : dis/orientation, diffraction and/as dance's response to the contemporary moment. In: Dialogues on Dance, Philosophy, and Performance in the Contemporary Neoliberal Moment; 01 - 02 June 2017, Coventry, U.K.. (Unpublished)


In this paper, I consider the ethical potential of current choreographic practices which respond to the bewildering events of our contemporary world by staging im/possibilities and dis/orientation. I propose to engage with the ethical discourse that emerges from agential realism and ask: how can the notions of material-discursive entanglements and agential cuts support an investigation of dance dramaturgies that question conventional understandings of modes of interaction? I embrace Karen Barad’s (2007) feminist onto-epistemology as an inspiring framework to discuss the significance of choreography that queers patterns of relationality, with particular focus on the concepts of indeterminacy, intra-action and diffraction. Disrupting traditional ideas of temporality, spatiality and materiality, quantum entanglements diffract notions of here-now, there-then and cause-effect, conjuring a field of dis/continuous occurrences. Barad’s argument, which challenges dualistic interpretations of matter and meaning, also points to the destabilising and trans/formative nature of quantum processes, through which historical narratives are unsettled and identities are un/done. I engage with recent work by movement artists as distinct as Trajal Harrell (USA), Charlotte Spencer (UK) and Fevered Sleep (UK). I interrogate how their dramaturgies open themselves up to indeterminacy; in their embodiment of relationality, real and imagined encounters are threaded through one another to portray modes of being and becoming which acknowledge the irreducible heterogeneity of our world. Through the lens of Barad’s ethics of entanglement, I argue that such modes of embracing dis/orienting experiences of time and space are ultimately a way of being “responsive to” and of taking “responsibility for” the processes of differentiation of the world we live in (Barad, 2010: 266).

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