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© Steven Cohen
© Steven Cohen
© Steven Cohen

Body Scenography

Understanding our physical selves as a mobile stage, a designated place for the production of actions ... where we can construct things to be and also learn to let things happen through movement while allowing people to look at us ... we can be a frame for the spectator to put things in.

The Field Project consists of several elements. There will be a practical and physical element, as well as a theoretical elaboration of an 'own' project, where attention will be given to the evolution of a personal idea for a performative action/series of actions that each practitioner should have in mind. That is to say, a portion of each day we will discuss and nourish and even prepare for the development and eventually for the carrying out of an idea which each person has the intention to evolve and desires to realise, be that in a museum, a theatre, in public or in any other space – preferably on this planet.

Otherwise, a typical day (although be not surprised if days are atypical, we are in the nature of that when we are in the realm of art) will consist of a guided and basic warm-up, each at the participants’ level, which is as much wake up as warm-up. There will be short playful sessions exploring ways of moving (or not), individually or collaboratively, depending on people’s wants or want-nots. The participants will be from different disciplines or not disciplined. A clique of anything is not interesting to me.

My way of developing a new vocabulary of movement has always been through re-defining the familiar by restricting the body – strange footwear (think platform), cumbersome costumes (think curtains), impeded senses (think lighting). For this I will bring simple objects to cultivate a re-understanding of what we might have become over-familiarised to, and take for granted. We will unlearn things together. We will interpret a language we cannot speak. We will intensify ways of being present and communicative. I ask participants to bring several (between three and five) physical 'things' of their own choosing and which are significant to them, whether that be an item of clothing or jewellery or something out of the kitchen (or the dustbin), a tool, a toy, a piece of furniture – it is really up to each person. If you want to make your life difficult and bring something cumbersome or precious or fragile, go ahead. You will take responsibility for that, not me. Nothing 'alive' preferably, as I am there to encourage and nurture you, not to feed your dog or worry about the welfare of a parrot. We must try and spend our energy budget wisely.

For the people willing to risk daring to see themselves, we will also work with videoing sessions and spend some time regarding ourselves 'from outside in'. Everything that happens in the workshops, and any material filmed or photographed during the work, stays inside the group. Individually and together we will decide if we keep it, erase it, archive it. I have found it best to let it all be consumed and evaporate in the name of new discoveries.

You can take ideas from the workshops and expand them how and where you will. Although I am sometimes accused of making work to provoke, that is never my intention. I aim to convoke, to invoke, to evoke. Work can be fun and I also want to learn. Let's teach each other how to conjure.

ARTISTBIO: Steven Cohen

Steven Cohen was born in 1962 in Johannesburg, South Africa, and lives in Lille, France. He is a visual and performance artist, staging interventions in the public realm and in gallery/theatre spaces.
He has performed extensively on the festival circuit, at such prestigious venues and events as Montpellier Danse; the Festival d'Automne, Centre Pompidou, Paris; Festival d'Avignon; Munich Opera Festival, Bavarian State Opera; Festival Escena Contemporánea, Madrid; Bozar in Brussels; Oktoberdans, Bergen, Norway; and Canadian Stage, Toronto.

Cohen participated in the most recent National Arts Festival in Grahamstown (2018); EVA International, Irish Biennial of Contemporary Art (2018); the 11th Havana Biennale (2012) and the first Aichi Triennale in Japan (2010). Notable group exhibitions include "Disguise: Masks and Global African Art", Seattle Art Museum and Brooklyn Art Museum, USA (2015-16); "Chercher le garcon", Musée d'Art Contemporain du Val-de-Marne, France (2015); "Josephine Baker and Le Corbusier in Rio – A Transatlantic Affair", Museu de Arte do Rio (2014); "Black Milk: Holocaust in Contemporary Art", Museum for Contemporary Art, Roskilde, Denmark (2014); "My Joburg", La Maison Rouge, Paris, and Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden (2013); "Revolution vs Revolution", Beirut Art Centre, Lebanon (2012); "No Fashion, Please: Photography between Gender and Lifestyle", Vienna Kunsthalle (2011); "Dada South?", South African National Gallery, Cape Town (2009-10); and "Under Pain of Death", Austrian Cultural Forum, New York (2008).

From 2003 to 2008 Cohen was an associated artist of the Ballet Atlantique/Régine Chopinot in La Rochelle, France. He has participated in residencies at the Baryshnikov Arts Center and the Center for Performance Research in New York, and conducted workshops in Body Scenography at CIFAS (International Centre for the Performing Arts), Les Brigittines, Brussels, and Haute école des Arts du Rhin, Strasbourg, among many other institutions.


© Karolina Miernik

Fashionable goodies of the last festivals are available HERE

© Karolina Miernik

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Date: 20.07.2019, 07:45 | Link: