This talk takes as its departure point an oxymoron: dance and war as two contradictory terms that appear in conjunction.
From the Euro-American perspective, modern dance is born in the 20th century from the democratic liberal self-expression of the body of the individual. And yet earlier, dance has provided the aesthetic ideal of social order, a kind of social choreography as an aesthetic expression of harmonious social arrangement. Nowadays, when expedient military interventions and long-term low-intensity conflicts replace body-to-body battles between warring sides, choreography surfaces the metaphor for smooth operations and flow beyond political blockages.
Bojana Cvejić will pursue two lines in this talk: what are the moments and figures in post-war modern and contemporary dance where war surfaced as the political unconscious of dance? What dance couldn’t do politically, it could displace, compensate, repress or reconfigure in a form that bears on the contradiction between dance’s aesthetic expression and its immediate political context. Secondly, what are the instruments that dance discipline and warfare offer for description and analysis of one another respectively? In other words, could choreography act as an instrument to illuminate the mutation of warfare in the so-called low-intensity conflicts?
Bojana Cvejić (Belgrade/Brussels) is a performance theorist and performance maker, a co-founding member of TkH editorial collective. Cvejić studied musicology and philosophy (PhD at Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy, London). She is (co-)author or collaborator in many dance and theater performances since 1996 with J. Ritsema, X. Le Roy, E. Salamon, M. Ingvartsen, E. Hrvatin. Her latest books are Public Sphere by Performance, co-written with A. Vujanović (b_books, Berlin, 2012), Parallel Slalom: Lexicon of Nonaligned Poetics, co-edited with G. S. Pristaš (TkH/CDU, Belgrade/Zagreb, 2013), En Atendant & Cesena: A Choreographer’s Score, co-written with A.T.De Keersmaeker (Mercator, Brussels, 2013) and Choreographing Problems: Expressive Concepts in European Contemporary Dance and Performance (Palgrave, upcoming). Cvejić teaches at various performance programs in Europe. Her latest works are exhibition Danse Guerre at CCN Rennes (2013) and Spatial Confessions at Tate Modern (2014). Her current research interests are social choreography and the critique of liberal individualism in contemporary art.