On Friday 5 November an online session was dedicated to shared practices by the six Dancing Museums choreographers. Ana Pi, Eleanor Sikorski, Ingrid Berger Myrhe, Masako Matsushita, Quim Bigas and Tereza Ondrova who in turn suggested physical practices and scores that could be used later on whilst in a museum or imaginary journeys to make from home.
Ana Pi went first, and suggested a collective practice called ‘Immobility and interruption‘. The practice was called that to resonate with the collective trauma from the murder of George Floyd by Derek Chauvin, Ana explained. The core of this invitation was to be with contemporary questions, with the news, with political matters. “This violence entered our lives and I want to respond with poetry” Ana added.
How much can happen when we are still? In our own homes?
A song was played for five minutes – we each chose a position that we held for 5 minutes. Our eyes couldn’t move while we were being still. The song was They don’t really care about us by Mickael Jackson. When the music stopped, we each took another position, one we might have seen on our screen and reproduced it, inspired by another person. And, as if we were clay being remodelled, we slowly transitioned into the new position.
We became still, like live statues, and stopped for 5 minutes. This also resonates with the political action of removing statues that are reminiscent of racism and colonisation from the public space, and with a work Ana developed this autumn at the MAC VAL Museum, called È𝑺𝑪𝑼𝑳𝑻𝑼𝑹𝑨 (and we will share more on this project on the Journal later).
Eleanor Sikorski then asked us to turn our cameras off. She took us on an audio-guided tour. A visit of Newstead Abbey, one of the museum spaces she is working with in Nottingham. We were invited to close our eyes and follow her, virtually approaching and entering the building, discovering the architecture and some of the works and artefacts present there through her words. Listening to her voice calmly depicting the surroundings, our gaze seemed to hover over the premises, floating from room to room as a disembodied presence.
A white man – a lion – a black man – a horse – another white man
These words stay with me as the depiction of the protagonists of a painting hung on a wall at Newstead Abbey. I was curious to see what the painting looks like so I went online.
It resonated with Quim’s virtual stroll trough Fundació Joan Miró from earlier in the week, using audio to feel connected when we are apart.
Ingrid Berger Myrhe shared part of her research itinerary when suggesting experiencing the museum space as a scavenger hunt.
“There is already a lot of movement in a museum: people going in and out of the building, the dramaturgy of people moving inside from room to room, exhibitions put up and down, the place is dynamic. And as with the Boijmans Van Beuningen’s Collection in Rotterdam, it is a moving one, changing from one building to another during renovations I felt that my role there was not so much about dancing but thinking about choreography through the building. And so organising a treasure hunt in the space stimulates curiosity and conjures up different ways of seeing things (by not just looking), enabling to play with new perspectives, multiple directions, distance and proximity, agenda… A map has to do with the politics of seeing, as it is a worldview, and a tool to be put in motion by the people that are using it.”
Masako Matsushita invited us to grab a paper and a pen. The paper was divided into different spaces.
Write what movement means for you today, right now Draw the space you’re in Choose and name a cardinal point using a compass if you have one on your phone or at hand Choose, name a movement.
Then Masako said, or I wrote, or we spoke about:
care / senses / a flow between in and out, inside and outside taking the time a personal experience → including a community → sharing knowledge personal archive / memory / cultures / geographies / identities / intimacy / digital or non digital tools and processes going from outside in / inside out a community created by participation a personal guided tour: measuring the space with one’s body, how many times does it fit in a given space?
Another practice, another moment, like Quim Bigas‘ suggestion.
Pointing our cameras towards a door near us. Looking at it, considering this threshold. Doors are liminal places. How do you feel before entering a space, standing outside, about to cross the threshold? A door can be difficult to close. People may have walked away from there and never been back. How can some people return and be present, even if they are not?
To close this sharing of possible practices, Tereza Ondrová suggested an experience called Sculpting the connection.
Choose a small object around you. Now a big one. Approach the small one from the big one. What about touching the big object with the small one? And what about: taking more time to observe, reflect, choose be a learning practice be in a collective again be into an observation and be fully connected to everybody at the same time finding ways of transmitting connections drawing focus on a person’s intimate archive how to get out of immobility?
During the Barcelona workshop’s different talks and exchanges there was often a strong desire to find ways of bringing the absent physically into the space. How could we inhabit the museum rooms where we should have been meeting and working, even though we were all apart? How could we make the European team and the distant audience travel through the space of a museum or a dance house anyway?
Quim Bigas’ lecture could be described as a kaleidoscopic journey, or rather a stroll through the Fundació Joan Miró in Barcelona, but from afar. From a dance studio in Copenhagen, surrounded by the team of Dansatelier, Quim speaks and dances, walking us across his personal and sensory experiences of the Fundació Miró with his every word and movement. Conjuring up anecdotes and memories involving the team working at Fundació Miró, but also the visitors, some of Miró’s works of art and a variety of people present in his mind while talking, Quim weaves a kind of web made of feelings, memories, actions, movements and thoughts shared with us. Filmed from different viewpoints, thanks to several computers placed in the space, his performance is also accompanied by a live text shared by Joana Ellen Öhlschläger in the chatbox, which adds another layer to the experience, recalling a previous visit to the museum space, depicting some precise moments.
The vivid imagination at work here has many entry points and for us, assisting behind our screens, Quim’s proposition transforms into a personal stroll, during which some sounds, textures, words or images stay with us. For instance, a way of retracing this moving in and out the museum could be:
Details and bigger pictures, trivia and art are mixing and cohabiting within the experience, in the space of the imagination.
From Monday 2 November the Dancing Museums team is joining forces online around the Barcelona workshop, hosted by Mercat de les Flors, Fundació Joan Miró and Barcelona-based choreographer Quim Bigas. Most activities and conversations are happening online, bringing to the forefront the questions of togetherness, remote collaboration, of finding the meaning in trying circumstances and a roundtable on Wednesday questions what the roles of the artists in Dancing Museums are. A chance to put the six choreographers’ current thoughts about their practices and engagement within the project on the table.
Eleanor Sikorski talked about the reality and challenge of wearing all kinds of different hats, and therefore the versatility of the artists’ roles within the project. Dancer / choreographer / teacher / facilitator / colleague / listener / curator / organisator… Some roles sometimes combine, but sometimes they are challenging to navigate. It takes time to figure out what space is available inside the project to wear the different hats, or even be clear about what is required at a given time, since the project is focused on research.
Eleanor : I have been drawn to wearing the ‘organisational hat’, taking some interest and perspective about who is present, who do we have visiting, working inside a museum?
Ingrid Berger Myrhe brought up the important notions of Context and Constellation
Ingrid : Where am I working? Under which circumstances? Who is involved? The work and conversation can only occur considering these questions.
How to be a good colleague is also a question currently on her mind in this collaborative project. And a reflection on the feeling that together the six artists and the teams are associated in producing knowledge in different ways.
Understanding the context as best as possible is also a strong point in Ana Pi‘s way of working, of questioning roles and positions within any project. What kind of people live in the suburbs of Paris where the MAC VAL Museum is situated for instance? How do these people feel about the museum space and what range of interactions they are comfortable with within the space?
Ana : Critical observation is very important, in order to acknowledge and compose with what and who is already there / what is missing / who is missing.
Looking at what is at the centre of her attention, she also points out:
Dealing with peripheral imagination into insitutions organised around centrality
Rising the temperature in the relationship, creating warmth in a context
Connecting different people from different contexts together
How not to be a token within the institution, within a project
Quim Bigas pointed out that ‘role’ can be a charged word, and relates to this the importance of Context and Constellation when speaking about the challenge to find out what makes sense for him in relation to each place he works with. The challenge is also present when thinking about what it means to collaborate together, how togetherness can come from the very basis of how we work together from scratch, deciding on what grounds we decide to collaborate.
Quim : How to be a resource, to be available as an artist, to ask someone else ‘what do you need?’ I’m finding my ways of addressing that within the project as well.
In that sense Quim concluded with a wish, a hope, that his actions and his presence can create a foundation for something else to arise in the future, that would not depend on him.
Masako Matsushita talked about needs. For instance, as an artist working inside a museum space, the need to be offically introduced to everyone, to the whole team.
Masako : When talking about togetherness, why be there if the museum’s teams don’t know we’re here? Because art is not to be made alone in the space.
Being in touch with everyone present is also linked to being able to share ideas with the whole team. There is also, in her words, the mention of the delicate balance of being considered as an artist: how not to be underestimated or overestimated? Reflecting back on the project Diary of a move that she engaged in, in Bassano del Grappa, this spring and summer – a daily archive of proposing one movement per day, gathering the contributions of sixty people – Masako shared this thought of being able to “leave traces in the space that are there for the future when I’m not.”
Tereza Ondrováshared the word ‘stimulation’, how the project stimulates a lot of thinking in different directions, and makes her curious about finding other forms in her work. She also asks this: how could we make a continuity possible for a lot of different people present in the space, not just the dance artists. Tereza also shared what her journey inside the project resembles so far, and in relation to the pandemic:
. Walking in circles . Getting out of the circle, and finding one direction . Being stuck in one place now
The afternoon continued with the group Favelinha Dance from La da Favelinha, who were guests during this residency, and an intervention within the Museum collections in collaboration with Ana Pi. Everyone gathered in the Museum hall to finish the day around Ana Pi Radio Mix, broadcast live on 96.2 FM. Daniel Favier, Director of La Briqueterie and choreographers Eleanor Sikorski and Masako Matsushita were among Ana Pi’s guests!
On the last day of this week at Ivry and Vitry-sur-Seine, the Dancing Museums team and their guests shared an afternoon and evening of propositions with the public of the MAC VAL Museum. Here’s an overview of the rich programme in pictures, beginning with the first part of the afternoon: a collective proposition from the six choreographers in the large gallery, followed by individual interventions by each one of them, in interaction with the people around.
THE KNOWLEDGE OF POSING from Voguing tradition to the Museum’s conventions, is a workshop led by Mother Lasseindra Ninja, within the MAC VAL Museum collection. From the circulation of vogue practice and culture to pose learning, this is time for reflection on the act of posing within a museum.
The crew from La da Favelinha, dancers Vitinho, Tiffany, Negona, Dudu and Dj Nym offered a Passinho dance workshop, a dance born in the Favelas of Rio de Janeiro. A demonstration in movement of displacement knowledge and peripheral footwork dance.
The evening continued with a party to practice the moves with this question in mind: how can a party be a collection of gestures, how can such a collection be alive in a space such as a museum?
On Friday afternoon we attended a round table at La Briqueterie CDCN du Val-de-Marne with Prof. Dre Maria Aparecida Moura, Samuel Mwamé and Kdu dos Anjos from Lá da Favelinha. “When the invisible becomes visible, the eye takes time to get used to – peripheral innovation, epistemological reparation & steady feet” is the title of this gathering and exchange of experiences and knowledge.
Prof. Dre Maria Aparecida Moura shared her research on epistemicide, colonial imperialism of knowledge. Samuel Mwamé shared the importance of a taking a step through the practice of tap dancing. Kdu dos Anjos shared the story and the model of the social and cultural independent center Lá da Favelinha he founded in Belo Horizonte, a place for dance practices with a library, English, yoga, or rap classes, a fashion department and that also organises social and cultural events.
On Friday the whole team spent the day at La Briqueterie CDCN du Val-de-Marne. The morning started with a practice-based workshop led by Susanne Franco and Gaia Clotilde Chernetich on the glossary they are currently developing for Dancing Museums 2. In the studio ouest we worked in small groups around key words such as “site-specific” “material and immaterial”, “communities” to explore the vocabulary in a participative and active way.
Today more encounters with students, children, teenagers, teachers, facilitators at the MAC VAL Musée d’Art Contemporain du Val-de-Marne! The team worked in twos to think about workshops for inside the museum space. Here’s a glimpse of what was going on in the different spaces.
✨ After a first full day in Vitry-sur-Seine yesterday, the Dancing Museums team gathered this morning at La Briqueterie CDCN du Val-de-Marne for a time of sharing and reporting on the ongoing research.
On Monday 25 November, the day continued with lunch at the MAC VAL prepared by the Centre Social Les Portes du Midi and a visit in the afternoon to art theoretician Jean-Claude Moineau at his house-library!
The Dancing Museums team has arrived at the MAC VAL Musée d’Art Contemporain du Val-de-Marne for a new week of workshops, exploration and sharing! This morning, we visited the museum from the storage and archives space to the rooftop! With Stéphanie Airaud (Head of Public Department and cultural programme), curator Frank Lamy and Bernard Cabrisy (Head of Building and Security). Follow us all week right here and on our facebook page!
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