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reflections on the 2022 IDOCDE symposium
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Hot Stones Notwithstanding
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Failing Successfully!
Her sweet boredom…
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reflections on the 2022 IDOCDE symposium

dear member of the IDOCDE community,

 

 

As many of you will know, IDOCDE emerged from an observation Kerstin [Kussmaul, IDOCDE’s founding member] made about fifteen years ago. Namely, that a need existed for a place where independent dance pedagogues could gather to document and exchange knowledge, and so invest in preserving the past and ensuring the future of the field.

This website is one of the original outcomes of what came to be known as the IDOCDE project.

All these years later, it is becoming increasingly obvious that parallel to the need to gather growing stronger, the interest in documentation and dance pedagogy is waning. This seems not to be the result of a lack of interest in documentation or dance pedagogy. To the contrary, in fact, this seems to be the result of a decade of disciplined dedication the members of this emergent community of independent researchers devoted to long-term, trans-disciplinary, and–perhaps most importantly–embodied study.

Here's what I'm thinking...

 

 

To wane, verb is often associated with the waning moon. The Oxford Dictionary of English associates the first meaning of the verb with the moon, saying that to wane is to have a progressively smaller part of its [the moon’s] surface illuminated, so that it [the moon] appears as to decrease in size. What I find astounding about this verb is that by defyning an appearance of a decrease in size, not an actual decrease in size it both specifies the reality of the fact of the moon's unchanging size and the reality (the symbolic and affective reality) of the observers changing perspective. We are reminded, then, that in this particular case one of the named realities conditions the other. Which is to say that only because the moon's size remains unchanged are we able to perceive the phenomenon of the waning moon, created by the changing relative position between the Earth, the Moon, the Sun, and the observing human. 

 

In fact, poetry. In contradiction, meaning.

 

 

Documentation is as relevant a topic as it ever was. Social media, the market economy, and the global threat to the existence of the notion of RIGHTS make each professional’s and each citizen’s ability to document, to communicate eloquently online and offline essential. Both the diversity of natural habitat and cultural–human or otherwise–diversity are at stake. But where fifteen years ago the world wide web was still in its technological infancy and home-computers were yet to reach the status they currently occupy, today most members of the IDOCDE community use a smartphone regularly, without thinking too much about it.

I think a similar parallel could be drawn to dance pedagogy. The question of production and dissemination of knowledge (pedagogy) as well as the question of institutionalised and independent research in what could be broadly termed as bodily experiencing (dance) are both as relevant as they ever were, if not even more relevant than they ever were before.

And so it is not that we lost interest in documentation per se, or dance pedagogy. It’s that our questions have changed because our experience of documenting and teaching has. Or is, indeed, changing. As are our communities. And the way we get to experience taking part in participating in these communities.

 

All these changes are taking place in real time. Most are taking place quickly as result of decisions made more or less intentionally; negotiation doesn't come easy when the conditions are already precarious.

 

The more researchers take partial financial refuge within the inflexible framework of academic scholarship, the more artists get partial access to the fluctuating resource that is art-market economy, and the more junior professionals learn online than they ever will in school or directly from their elders, the more necessary it will be for a place to exist where professionals–junior and senior, artist and researcher–are permitted to come together and take time to conduct an at-least-partially independent study.

A study of what, you might be thinking? A study of the current condition for conducting professional activity, be that activity artistic or scholarly in kind.

 

***

 

The 2022 IDOCDE symposium, evocatively titled The Rest of Art, a Manifesto, was one such experimental gathering. In the attempt to learn what happens when rest is taken to be one of the defining features of labour, instead of an activity engaged only in opposition to labour and specifically to enhance labour’s productive potential, this symposium’s approach to resting wasn’t to refer to it but to enact it, embody it, experience it. One could say, then, that to successfully participate at this symposium, one wasn’t required to meet an academic or a professional condition, but was required to meet a proprioceptive one.

To participate, in other words, one needed not to consider what happens when rest is taken to be one of the defining features of labour. Instead, one needed to approach this professional gathering conducted at the heart of Europe’s largest dance festival attended by thousands and do nothing in particular.

 

 

2022 IDOCDE symposium at ImPulsTanz Workshop Arsenal © pavleheidler

2022 IDOCDE symposium at ImPulsTanz Workshop Arsenal © pavleheidler

 

(the following is a poetic experiment entitled “one person said…” i begin writing every sentence the same way, whilst recalling what was said. i write down what i remember was said. the point of the exercise is to document my own impressions of what was said, not to create a factually correct record of what was said.)

 

one person said, “i wrote so much yesterday and then went to see a performance. i don’t know if i ought not to have written anything. i tried. but then i got inspired. it’s so difficult to do nothing.”

one person said, “i finally decided that i didn’t need to go to the studio, i could simply start practicing right then and there. so i sent a whatsapp message to the group to say that i wasn’t coming in today. it was a strangely liberating experience.”

one person said, “this was a formative experience for me.”

one person said, “would you like to join me? i have the need for a communal experience.” another person said, “no.”

one person said, “you didn’t sit in the hammock yet? it’s the best seat in the house.”

one person said, “i have to go home now. i need to rest. it feels silly to admit that i need to rest after we spent the whole day resting. but that’s the truth, i’m tired. i’m really tired today.”

one person said, “you’d think that putting up a boundary would make you unapproachable. but that wasn’t my experience. here i am, acknowledging my boundaries. and here we are, doing something together. it’s counter-intuitive. i’m so happy.”

one person said, “thank you for this dance. this was the best dance. i couldn’t have believed half an hour ago i would ever dance again.”

one person said, “the problem with conceptualising nothing is that conceptualisation itself is an act of creation. however immaterial the concept of nothing is, it’s still a concept. thereby, thinking (about) nothing transforms nothing into something. is this what you’d call a catch22?”

one person said, “were we supposed to bring a manifesto? i read somewhere that we needed to bring a manifesto.” another person said, “i decided to bring this poem i read instead of a manifesto. well, not instead but in place of a manifesto? i think this poem is a manifesto, even though it is officially a poem. anyway. i forgot to bring it. and here we are.”

 

***

 

After the closing ceremony, in which the community shared a real watermelon by a fake fire, I asked all the participants to take away with them any object that was created during the experiment that doesn’t belong to the studio we were about to depart from. Anything that was left behind, I said, I was going to collect for archival purposes.

The next day I took photographs of every item that remained in IDOCDE’s archive. Once collected, I decided that the collection of photographs of the objects created during the 2022 IDOCDE symposium, entitled The Rest of Art, a Manifesto, spell out at least one of the manifestos experienced as part of this experiment.

Visit this manifesto by following the link below.

 

LINK TO THE REST OF ART, A MANIFESTO

 

 

2022 IDOCDE symposium at ImPulsTanz Workshop Arsenal © pavleheidler

2022 IDOCDE symposium at ImPulsTanz Workshop Arsenal © pavleheidler

 

 

I wrote this editorial in the attempt to begin weaving a name for a feeling I’ve nursed since leaving Vienna on Tuesday, July the 26th. Namely, that with the 10th IDOCDE symposium The Rest of Art, a Manifesto we–members of the IDOCDE community–celebrated an end. An end of an era. An end of an era of trial and error. An end of an era of speculation. An end of an era of uncertainty.

It’s as if we’ve finally answered the question we didn’t even know we were asking. The question being, how is dance science conducted?

This is what I’ll leave you with today. I hope my writing comes across as poetic instead of enigmatic, thought provoking instead of disorienting.

More documentation and more writing relating to this summer’s symposium and the past, present, and the future of the IDOCDE project is due for release in the coming months. Stay tuned and vibe on.

 

 

  • Der anfang ist die ende und der ende ist der anfang.
  • The beginning is the end and the end is the beginning.
  • from Netflix's series Dark.

 

 

 

May your research thrives,
pavleheidler for Team IDOCDE
July 31, 2022