We are pleased to ring the bell for the second round of the project "Democratic Exercices - Body at Risk" in collaboration with Vana Kostayola as part of the exhibition "On the New" at Belvedere 21.
Opening: 6 April 2023
Exhibition: 7 April - 21 May 2023
The project Democratic Exercises - Body at Risk explores different identities and notions such as ‘permissibility’, ‘tolerance’ and ‘prohibition’, identification with victims/aggressors and ‘the other‘ as something that destabilises our identity. The project’s theoretical references are based on Chantal Mouffe's concept of bringing agonism and the political back into public space (Hegemony and Socialist Strategy, 1985 together with Ernesto Laclau). Mouffe proposes an agonistic democratic model focused on the transformation of political enemies into adversaries within a necessarily conflictual democratic framework.
How to go beyond these divisions without suppressing desires and rights under societal consensuses?
The performance is inspired by Systema, a Russian martial art used in the military as survival training, which is claimed to convey a sense of ‘self-healing’. Originally its a hand-to-hand combat training consisting of holds and elements of knife and firearm fighting. A mix of movements from Systema and contact improvisation forms the basis for the performative exercises. These are complemented by ‘inner voices’ of the people who fight, in order to challenge our concepts and bodies about ‘limits’, aggression and victimisation. Our contradictions come into play.
The Democratic Exercises grow with more participants and interactions, moving from Linz to Vienna, on to Geneva and Athens.
Our slogan ‘Be a Warrior. Expand.’ offers space for personal and collective projections. Who is fighting? Which fight is worth fighting? The truth is not to be found, but to be reinvented.
At the opening, in a mixture of performance and workshop, combat exercises are performed in which all can participate. A trainer will guide the participants. Comfortable clothing is recommended.