idocde » Symposium

symposium description

practical and tactical applications in taking care of mortal dancing


The academic year 2020-2021–if ever there was one–is a year of mutations, and of per/mutation. We have been forced to re-arrange our lives, to adapt to new circumstances on a daily basis, and live on short notice. How, as dance artists, have we–have you enacted/embodied these permutations? is the question we'd like to start from. And how has this process interacted with your creative practice?




A mutation is a change in the sequence of an organism's genetic material. According to the Encyclopedia Brittanica, mutations occur (1) at random as "accidents during the normal chemical transactions of DNA," are caused (2) by radiation, or (3) exposure to highly reactive chemicals in the environment. Mutations occur all the time–in viruses and all living (multicellular) organisms–millions of times, each and every day. The reason why we are not walking bags of cancer or other diseases caused by cell mutation is (partly) due to the mechanism called apoptosis: a programmed cell death. Apoptosis, in other words, is one of the reasons why a living organism can survive a lifetime.

The condition of life at one scale (the human scale), it follows, is the continual living and dying at another (cellular). The same way the condition of life at one scale (ecology) is the continual living and dying, emerging and disappearing at another (all living and non-living beings, material and non-material, the world consists of).


In mathematics, a permutation of a set could be said to describe an arrangement of the set's elements into an order. According to Merriam-Webster dictionary of English, the work permutation stands for "the act or process of changing the lineal order of an ordered set of objects." This would mean that an anagram, for example, could be said to function as a permutation of a set of letters; the word “listen” is a permutation of the word “silent” and vice versa. The same set of letters, depending on how the letters are organised, communicates different values.






We've witnessed this past year put the members of this community of dance-artists-students-and-educators––put our community!––in a situation from which it was impossible to achieve anything other than a mediated performance of a familiar practice: dancing online was rapidly becoming a new normal wherever winter reigned. Outdoor dancing started popping up with spring flowers and it bloomed where the sun shone until, from a kind of hybrid of ever-more-complex combinations of site-particulars, emerged a new collective understanding of what it means to participate online - relative to your bathroom, your porch, a park, or the street.

A wave of mutations started emerging as new methodologies from (and for) a world engaged in surviving but not only.

What have we learned, as individuals and as a community, about dance documentation? is what we'd like to dream about this summer. What have we learned about dancing, about writing, about photographing, about social-media? About participating in this hybrid world––as a twenty-year-old, a forty-year-old, a sixty-year-old or an eighty-year-old? What are the ways we are engaging with these mediums to enable continued practicing? How is technology helping us survive, helping us keep on working? And not only.

In a poetic sense, what parts of your experience of this mortal dance did you choose to trace this year? How did you record those traces? Did you share them? How did you share them? And how did your experience of documenting and sharing change your practice? Who died?

And who survived?

The last in this long series of questions we’d like to explore this summer is: what has continued practicing through this stressful period––albeit in a mediated way––taught you about the values that practicing dancing (inevitably) brings to this world and represents in this world? This changing world? This living world? This dying world? And how did documenting support that work, and did it support instead of weighing it down?




In closing, and in ackwnoledgement of openendedness, we'd like to say that this year's IDOCDE symposium continues the experimental streak of the previous ones––and not only due to how difficult it is to plan with the pandemic on the loose. We will be introducing new formats this year, and with them a wider range of options for engagement, and exchange. Please keep in touch if you're interested in participating. And please (!) keep in touch if you're interested in mobilising.



yours in optimism,
Kerstin Kussmaul and pavleheidler for Team IDOCDE





Join us at the 2021 IDOCDE Residencies & Symposium to engage in these questions…
and a whole lot more. 


Symposium @ Impulstanz, Vienna and Online : July 31st - August 1st, 2021
Residency @ Impulstanz, Vienna, and in various other locations as well as online:

May - July 2021 


Calls for participation in residencies and for symposium contributions will be published in April on Continuous updates on! And follow us on instagram, facebook!