Ljubljana training week inscribed itself in the context of the 23rd International festival of contemporary arts – City of Women. It combined a range of activities, such as practical and theoretical workshops, debates and meetings, encounters with specialists and other artists, as well as intensive dialogue between the five dance makers and the local dramaturg, Tea Hvala.
Thematically, the focus had been on different yet intertwined aspects of reproductive freedom: the history of feminist struggles for legal, accessible and safe abortion; new family models and the present-day struggles of lesbian and gay parents; attempts to queer the idea of a family unit; and biotechnological innovations that allow us to think of bodies and reproduction beyond anthropocentricity.
The training week provided the chosen dance makers with an abundance of raw material for the development of their performative sketches, which was publicly presented on the last day of the training.
Photo credits: Nada Žgank
7th and 8th October, 10.00 – 11.30 (open to all) / 12.00 – 14.00 (Performing Gender artists only), Old Power Station
The workshop starts with a yoga-style warm up, using the body and the lungs to relax and open the mind. We will move into a led improvisation, working with images from Oona Doherty’s Poem for Hope Hunt, developing small individual phrases. We will be working with images of Concrete, white Peacocks, magma, Manuka honey, drugs, Jaxson Pollock, Francis Bacon, Caravaggio, mistakes of the father and glory white, Ascension into Lazarus.
The second day we will develop script, speech and character. We will explore Doherty’s stutter technique. We will be working towards a group canon chorus.
This workshop takes its inspiration from the works Hope Hunt and Ascension into Lazarus, which work with European stereotypes of youth, masculinity, poverty, escapism, bravery and vulnerability. We will attempt to reach out to our own known places in our bodies, to become more engaged with our nervous systems.
8th October, 19.00, Alkatraz Gallery
Film installation with an opening talk between Anna Linder (SE) and Jasmina Šepetavc (SI).
Experimental film about unwanted childlessness in a world where normative heterosexual relationships dictate who can become parents and in what way. When it comes to reproduction, our merciless bodies reduce us to merely a set sex or given gender. But the longing for children is not limited to our bodies, and the possibility of pregnancy can be gifted, shared and undertaken together.
The author on the project: “The darkness is about being able to focus on our bodies and our body parts, while providing the necessary intimacy required for the film. Nakedness without exhibitionism. Bodies without ownership. Body parts belonging to a large family body instead of individuals. The idea of filming loose body parts, both incoherent, disconnected from each other and intertwined, felt important for the film. Important for us. Important for the notion of the family. That there are many who belong in different ways. I knew early on that the film would be very dark, with inconsistent and moving light, and would by all means be filmed in Super 8. These three distinct starting points formed the basis of the film project in 2011.”
9th October, 17.00, Old Power Station
Who in Slovenia can be a parent and who is childless against their will due to legal obstacles? How to render parenthood a social matter, beyond wider blood relations and institutions? How to revolt against the idealisation and essentialisation of motherhood? In what kinds of family forms do we live and what kinds of family forms would we want? We shall be discussing all these questions, despite conservative and liberal standpoints that would dictate their answers to us.
Guests: Anna Linder (SE), Roman Kuhar, Maja Šorli, Estela Žutić, Gilles Duvivier and Tea Hvala (SI)
9th October, 19.00, Alkatraz Gallery
Five experimental feminist and queer films made over a period spanning 90 years. The films selected by Anna Linder were chosen for their compelling work with moving images, movement and music:
- Themes of Variations by Germaine Dulac (1928)
- Warm Up: Hermitage State Theatre by Klara Lidén (2014)
- MAN by Maja Borg (2016)
- S… … … ….ELLE by Marcelle Thirache (1990)
- L´Oiseau de la nuit by Marie Losier (2016)
11th October, 18.00, City Museum Ljubljana
Throughout the world, the sexual order has become a major political issue. The battle about “gay marriage”, that is, the opening of marriage to same-sex couples and the recognition of queer families, is part of a history that includes reproductive rights for women, contraception, abortion, and access to assisted reproductive technologies. To understand these political and geopolitical controversies about sexual difference, sexuality, and the family, in particular the religion mobilization against the (so-called) “theory of gender” and in favor of a “human ecology,” one needs to analyze the diffusion of the democratic logic that is at work in our societies to sexual issues.
Eric Fassin (France) is a committed sociologist whose areas of interest are the politicisation of gender and racial questions. He is a professor at Université Paris-8 Vincennes-Saint Denis (The Department of Political Science, Centre for Women and Gender Studies) and a researcher at the Institute of Interdisciplinary Research of Social Questions (IRIS, CNRS / EHESS). The event is a part of the cycle of events Understanding the World, organized by the French Institute in Slovenia in collaboration with the City Museum of Ljubljana, the newspaper Delo and the Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana.
11th October, 20.00, Španski borci Cultural Centre
Oona Doherty performs a distillation of the male.
Thumping sweaty theatre, virtuosic states. Heaving lungs shout in the dark. Doherty takes you through a dirty Europe on a shared nervous system. A kinetic experience between the flesh and the soul. A Hunt for Hope.
The winner of the Dublin Tigre Fringe Best Performer 2016; nominated for Dublin Tigre Fringe Best Production 2016 and for Total Theatre Award Edinburgh Fringe 2017; Aerowaves Twenty17 selected.
The performance will be followed by Rory Moore’s DJ set and the exhibition opening of Doherty’s collages The Deep Clean, which are composed of images that haunt and accompany her creative processes.
13th October, 10.00 – 18.00, Old Power Station
The networking of local, regional, and international feminist and LGBTIQ groups working in culture is going to start off with brief presentations of specific socio-political contexts that affect their respective thematic focuses and working methods. If political art speaks the unspeakable, envisions the unseen, how do they, as initiators and producers, navigate between the Scylla and Charybdis of institutionalisation and capitalisation of both art and gender politics?
Contributors: Cultural Gender Practices Network (SI/HR/RS/BA/MK), Nordic / Baltic Queer Art Network (DK) and Gender Bender / Il Cassero (IT). The discussions will be held in English and will be moderated by Tea Hvala.
13th October, 18.30, Old Power Station
During a week the five international makers will be busy asking themselves where does dance as a living art form meet gender as a lived performed expression of one’s self? On the last day, they will share their processes and first ideas/sketches with the audience.
The sketches are their very first draft of an on-going investigation that will be further developed in the next training weeks in other cities, therefore fragile and precarious in process, content and form. The interaction with the public is proposing a shared presence and communal gaze, beneficial for the maker’s further development, but also for the audience that might sharpen its awareness on gender politics and/or broaden perceptions of dance. As this event will be of experimental nature for both the makers and the audience, we are looking forward to create a space of mutual share and care, where traditional roles and division, between the one who performs and the one who looks, will be challenged and enriched.
The evening will conclude with some food, drinks, music and socializing.