In-between a performance and a workshop, the project puts on stage fight-exercises open to participation to challenge cultural “prohibitions” and “permissions”. Minimum participation involves an observation, maximum would be to play outside the comfort zone. A Trainer gives the instructions and guides the participants. A series of dialogues will be added gradually by performers to add up to the physical challenges. Roles of victims and aggressors will be exchanged and explored.
Comfortable clothing recommended!
The project’s theoretical references recall Chantal Mouffe’s concept of bringing back the agonism and the political into public sphere (by the book Hegemony and Socialist Strategy’, which she co-authored in 1985 with Ernesto Laclau). Mouffe proposes an agonistic democratic model focused on the transformation of political enemies into adversaries within a necessarily conflictual democratic framework. The project explores notions of permissiveness and prohibition, identifications with victims/ aggressors and “the other” as the one who destabilizes our identity. How to go beyond these divisions without suppressing desires and rights under societal consensuses?
The performance is inspired by Systema, a martial art from Russia used in the military as survival exercises, often claimed to offer a sense of “self-heal”. Originally its a hand-to-hand combat, grappling, knife fighting and fire-arms training. A mixed movement from both Systema, different martial arts and contact improvisation (without arms or knives) structure the performative exercises. To that dialogues/monologues from performers are added, the “inner voices” of the people who fight, in order to challenge our concepts and bodies on “limits”, aggressions, victimizations. Our contradictions come to play.