Ljubljana, 16 − 24 September 2017

Since 2012 CoFestival has been emerging through the process of collective curating, which its team has been introducing through debates open to differences, while endeavouring to develop qualitative argumentations. This process is also a process of learning, understanding, listening and sharpening the mind and views. We strive to be well informed in the theory, history and essays on the dance field and sensitive for what belongs to the order of bodily presence and its phenomena. We believe that the relations we develop amongst each other, with the community, works of art and the artists are a rebellion against the ‘life’ in which systematic contradictions are solved on an individual level.

In order to allow for the differences to be heard we decided to split the programme into several thematic blocks. We believe this to be creative and constructive, for by exposing the choreographic, political and social issues we wish to intensively address the viewer’s task and encourage the contemplation of this process. In the catalogue we have accompanied these blocks with texts that offer one of all the possible entries into them, however there are plenty of interpretational and experience connections between the performances in various thematic blocks.

The incapability of a relationship, empathy and touch, as mentioned by Franco Berardi Bifo in Mark Fisher’s necrology, the incapability of feeling and understanding one’s own weight, ways in which a body moves with it, the burden that we share due to the incapability of understanding that we will not get rid of the penetration of the sinister world by closing ourselves in armour and installing antivirus programmes into our bodies – all of these erode the understanding in contemporary dance. We believe that the future of contemporary dance lies in a shared body: contemporary dance has to exonerate the possibility of the bodily relation and its presence, not representation. We understand resensitization as generating bodily (material-movement) codes, relations between bodies that evade being neutralised by the language code. We do not want everything to be available immediately, to be subdued to instant gratification of the consumer desires. We want time and relations that demand duration and gradual development. We hope you will take the time for this and join us.

The CoFestival team

You can view this year’s festival catalogue with a description of each program block here.


Corpus and its insecure bodies

Žigan Krajnčan, Gašper Kunšek, Jan Krmelj: Chorus (Chorus, 2017)
Doris Uhlich: Bum teles (Boom Bodies, 2016)
Christos Papadopoulos: Elvedon (Elvedon, 2016)
Magdalena Chowaniec: Zatočišče (Sanctuary, 2014)

Performances with numerous performers that have been shown at CoFestival over the past years are linked to the thoughts on an individual body or a group of bodies as something that could apply different narrations in different circumstances: the body as a plural of all possible embodiments and at the same time never single and alone. Insecure bodies are not merely bodies in a pickle, but bodies as an endless source of possible embodiments and spaces in between bodies. Over recent years contemporary dance started showing an increased interest in paths leading into presence, a space in which bodies appear with their insecure, gradual, emerging and unfinished images. Bodies are not products of names and identities (language), it is the other way round. They embody themselves because of their various paths into presence, while at the same time being the source of everything they are not. This is where their basic political notion hides. »The between-bodies reserves nothing, nothing but the extension that is the res itself, the areal reality through which it happens that bodies are exposed to each other. The between-bodies is their images’ taking-place. The images are not likenesses, still less phantoms or fantasms. It’s how bodies are offered to one another, it’s being born unto the world, the setting on edge, the setting into glory of limit and radiance. A body is an image offered to other bodies, a whole corpus of images stretched from body to body, local colors and shadows, fragments, grains, areolas, lunules, nails, hairs, tendons, skulls, ribs, pelvises, bellies, meatuses, foams, tears, teeth, droolings, slits, blocks, tongues, sweat, liquors, veins, pains, and joys, and me, and you,« wrote Nancy in the last paragraphs of Corpus. In this work he also stated that the body is not anybody’s image, but a path to presence. It is like an image that appears on film or a television screen, an image that does not come from behind the screen, but simply emerges on it – the spread out essence exists as its extension. In the performance Chorus Žigan Krajnčan, Gašper Kunšek and Jan Krmelj focus on bodies as an endless source of possible embodied images, bodies in their insecurities, in spaces, before they change into visible and defined images that assume names or are given names by others. They are interested in bodies before they step into the directory of the spectacle (world). In the performance Sanctuary the Polish choreographer Magdalena Chowaniec is interested in the exact opposite: the central focus of her performance lies on trademarking, inflation and institutionalisation of the bodily images, the entrance into the presence which is enabled by economic and religious transactions. The sole choice of the dancing line-up in Doris Uhlich’s performance gives us the possibility to notice nobody’s image in the mass of bodies. Instead of a visible choreographic configuration the artist poses a series of questions, which cause insecurities in the relations between bodies and with which the bodies slide into space with their definite, but always unfinished images. On the other hand Christos Papadopoulos uses similar choreography procedures to establish conditions in which the viewer himself has to add the relation to the choreomorphic mass configurations. The meditative, pulsating rhythms of movement, defined by the rhythm of the heart beat, erase the contours of individual bodies and open up the spaces between them. These are then absorbed by the viewers who ascribe various meanings to them, in most cases their own stories and this helps them enter these spaces.

Dance on the various sides of time

Martin Nachbar: Ponavljavec – Plesna predstava z očetom (Repeater – a Dance Performance with Father, 2007)
Larrèrović & Jevtović: Epizoda 6: Koreografija, BABY! Slava materinstvu (Episode 6: Choreography, BABY: Hail Mammary, 2017)
Konferenca Ples na različnih straneh časa/Conference Dance on the Various Sides of Time
Zavod Maska in NDA Slovenija: Predstavitev posebne izdaje časopisa MASKA o arhiviranju koreografskih praks na Balkanu

Over the past decades contemporary dance has started to question age exclusion. Even though the history of contemporary dance included almost all age groups, predominantly through amateur activities, a good example of addressing such exclusion can be found in the dance portrait of the French ballerina Véronique Doisneau in Jérôme Bel’s choreography (2004). In this portrait the dancer speaks about her work biography two days before her retirement, and reveals that she did not manage to realise herself ideally in the ballet hierarchy. »I never became a real star,« explained the dancer while listing all her injuries and showing all her favourite dance solos that she performed merely as a corps de ballet soloist. In Slovenia similar issues were recently raised by Maja Delak in her performance What if (2013) and Iztok Kovač and Janez Janša in their duet Falcon! (2013). Due to the flexible repertoire and less invasive movement techniques, contemporary dance might not be as committed to old age postulates as ballet, but even they are to a large extent exclusive. With the Dance on Various Sides of Time we wish to open the issues and possibilities that are brought forth by including older bodies in dance. For the past few years CoFestival has included choreographic works from the historic periods of yesteryear which made contemporaneity face its decisive art contexts from the past. We do not wish to open the issues of body age in contemporary dance merely in the sense of gerontological problems, but also in the sense of various inscriptions into the body and heritage (cultural, artistic, economic, social, political, family, genetic, etc..) that co-create our presences and simultaneousness. In the performance Repeater – A Dance Performance with Father the German choreographer Martin Nachbar uses a socialisation form as a choreographic tool: »In the same way as my father used to set boundaries for me in the past, I set them for him in the performance.« Nachbar invited his father to participate in the performance in order to overcome the temporal restrictions of the contemporary work economy and repeat the conditions for spending time together. A social obligation from the past is repeated in art as a part of a game. The social obligation is directly operative in the performance Choreography, BABY! Hail Mammary (2017) created by Jana Jevtović and Célina Larrèrović. In their performance they consider the similarities and differences between giving birth to a performance and a child. The conference Dance on Various Sides of Time will address a number of issues, questions that are placed in front of us by the concrete performances found in the programme, as well as numerous other issues addressed by NDA SLOVENIA as members of the European project DANCE ON PASS ON DREAM ON.

Parallax of bodies

Barbara Matijević & Giuseppe Chico: Zlivanje (Forecasting, 2012)
Jefta van Dinther: Drobir (Grind, 2011)
Samuel Lefeuvre: mono(p)LES (monoLOG, 2012)
Rodrigo Sobarzo de Larraechea: A P N E A (A P N E A, 2013)

The block Parallax of Bodies is comprised of four choreographies. They deal with the subject of bodily processes and phenomena, which can usually not be recognised by the individual, for they are hidden even though they are present. One such phenomenon is for instance apnea, a temporary pause in breathing, a held or skipped breath. During apnea the muscle activities cease, the volume of the lungs does not change, and the exchange of gases between the lungs and the environment is brought to a halt. When the body experiences this during sleep, it is incapable of recognising it. The parallax effect of this block can be seen in the fact that, in unison with the bodies, these usually unregistered aspects of the bodily presence, anomalies, deviations, shadows appear in the choreography presented in front of the viewer. What is usually hidden from the eyes is now placed in clear view. We could say that revealing the bodily invisibilities appears in these performances as a process. If the shift that occurs when looking at an object after shutting one eye is a consequence of parallax in physics, parallax is understood in this part of the festival as a way in which chorographical objects and various aspects of embodiment become visible to the viewer who then shifts his view. In their performance Forecasting, the Croatian choreographer and dancer Barbara Matijević and the Italian dramaturge Giuseppe Chico use a laptop to create a hybrid body composed of a video representation and a material body. The series of amateur videos found on YouTube creates an entertaining video drama, which is abstracted into a vague significance by its material bodily addition from the computer screen. The performance makes the extension of our bodies into the virtual space visible and at the same time sheds light on the virtual interventions into the way that we feel, see and understand our bodies today. This also directly choreographs the ways in which we desire our own and other bodies. In his short solo monoLOG the French dancer and choreographer Samuel Lefeuvre realises the disunity of the body with uncontrolled force, which as an array of contemporary cinematic technological possibilities brutally choreographs his movements and his desperate attempts to tame the technological landscape within. In the performance Grind the Swedish choreographer Jefta van Dinther dismantles the body in a non-orientable space into various sensory manifestations and their traces. Light and sound are rhythmical laptops, through which the body enters the viewer’s perception in an affective, invasive and unique way. In the performance A P N E A the Chilean choreographer and performer Rodrigo Sobarzo de Larraechea transfers the physiological anomaly of paused breathing into the environment, with which he transfers the specific bodily state to a type of materiality separated by various membranes, thus never hermetically sealing the situation.

Choreography as a transmission: Yvonne Rainer and Trio A

Andrea Božić: Po Triu A (After Trio A, 2010)
Jack Walsh, Christine Murray: Občutki so dejstva – Življenje Yvonne Rainer (Feelings Are Facts: The Life of Yvonne Rainer, 2015)
VOJNA Yvonne Rainer, instalacija Bojane Cvejić in Lennarta Laberenza (Yvonne Rainer’s WAR, installation by Bojana Cvejić and Lennart Laberenz)

In 2015 the director Jack Walsh and producer Christine Murray completed their documentary film on the life and work of Yvonne Rainer, a dance radical from the Judson Dance Theatre collective (1962−1964) and the author of an exceptional experimental film opus, which she started to film at the beginning of the 1970s with a strong choreographical experience and engaged feminist sub-tones. The interest in American dance neo-avant-garde choreographic experiments that arose in Europe and USA after the turn of the millennia, once again dragged the slightly forgotten choreographer Yvonne Rainer to the forefront of the international contemporary dance stages as well as other venues – for instance to museums of contemporary art, in which her artistic opus suddenly appeared as an entity that was diverse yet made perfect sense. It was the film that persuaded us to give Yvonne Rainer some space at this year’s festival. With CoFestival’s block Choreography as a Live Broadcast: Yvonne Rainer and Trio A we continue with the presentation of important choreographers, who have decidedly marked contemporary choreographic practices. Since 1966, when the American dancer and choreographer Yvonne Rainer, David Gordon and Steve Paxton first presented a fragment of Trio A in the Judson church on Washington Square in New York, this representative work of American post-modern choreography has experienced numerous repeats and infinite different embodiments and depictions. Trio A and the No Manifesto (1965) became Yvonne Rainer’s choreography signature. In 1978 the French film director Babette Mangolte recorded it, however Yvonne Rainer was not pleased with that performance. Nevertheless Trio A became one of the central contemporary dance film documents of the 20th Century. Its wide reach is connected to the fact that this dance score, which has been performed in various choreographic configurations and contexts, has seen an extremely high number of different embodiments. At the same time it is a manifestation, concept and realisation of dance populism and egalitarianism, which was defended by the Judson choreographers in their struggle against the elitism of modern American dance institutions. In some repetitions of the choreography the choreographer herself participated, in others her place was taken over by her transmitters, i.e. certified pedagogues licensed to teach Trio A to dancers and viewers. In this block we will see a number of events and works connected to the work of Yvonne Rainer. In the documentary Feelings Are Facts: The Life of Yvonne Rainer (2015) the authors Jack Walsh and Christine Murray addressed the artistic and private biography of the American artist in a playful and performative manner. In the performance After Trio A the Croatian choreographer Andrea Božić addresses the epochal work focusing on the concept and problem of its specific distribution, at which the various transferral and embodiment procedures are subdued to similar reductions and changes as described by Rainer in her famous No Manifesto.

Situations, displacements, rearrangings

Mateja Bučar: Urbani zarisi (Urban notes, 2009−2017)
Willi Dorner: Eno (One, 2016)
Andreja Rauch Podrzavnik: Trajanje – Minevanje (Lastings – Passings, 2016)
Bacači sjenki: Bitka na Neretvi (Shadow Casters: A Battle On The Neretva River, 2016

The block Situations, Displacements, Rearrangings seems to be the most heterogeneous in this year’s programme and apparently hard to classify under a common denominator. Yet, historically speaking, it was those artistic tendencies that the history of art placed within the context of various avant-gardes, which fundamentally shook the classification of the sensuous, the viewing regimes and the various institutions of artistic practices. They were the ones that blurred the borders between practices, receptions and productions of art, along with questioning the usual frames of artistic contexts. The question of situation is how it is prepared: what kind of eco-system is created by an event in order to open the spectator’s sensitivity, curiosity and reflection; in what way are the potentials of the spectator’s experience planned so that s/he might add to it fresh and unexpected meanings; in other words, how does an artistic object change into a tactic and how does the spectator’s specific production of sense becomes evident to her/himself. Situations and Displacements in our programme are not brutal artistic invasion but rather environments in which the reflection on choreographies, bodies, displacements, space or simply ourselves, unfolds through sharing common time and space. Mateja Bučar initiated in 2009 a series of choreographies in public spaces. Through choreographic orders, she provided an aestheticized kinetic membrane to the inertia of functional usage of public spaces, a membrane that enters the lives of passers-by’s as some kind of disturbance. Hence she provides certain conditions to the fleeting beauty of the treasures of everyday life, in which the architectural spatial parameters become evident, along with the rhythmical everyday life, the choreography of urban errands, social and socializing rituals. If we recall Andreje Rauch Podrzavnik’s masterful dance improvisations, we might realise that their rhythm was always torn between the movement’s thickening and thinning, between impulsiveness and its standstill, between details and the edges of their frames. In other words, before the formal volumes and dynamics in which the conditions for the differences in perceiving dance would be established. It seems that the structure of her situationist works in gallery spaces, which have the effect of magnifying glass on her choreographic compositions, is similar. The difference is that those compositions have an ampler time and space volume. She will present at the festival one of her purest dances with the formal dimensions of choreological parameters. The unfolding of time in the production A Battle On the River Neretva by the collective Shadow Casters is extremely spatial. The initial 1943 historical event, which provided the conditions for establishing the AVNOJ Yugoslavia (AVNOJ – Antifascist Counsel of People’s Liberation of Yugoslavia), unfolds in front of us in a format of interrogation as a polymorphous, metaphorical, metonymic, highly flexible thematic material. The two performers compose this material into some sort of Cubist portrait. It’s centre is the Socialist Yugoslavia, spatially and dramaturgically objectified as a permanent battle, conscience and responsibility. The motor of choreography in Willi Dorner’s work entitled One is a play of signs. We might even call it a semiotic battle, with small explosions of connotations smoking out of the variety of signs. The performance literally turns into an exhibition as the choreographer dismantles in front of the spectators that, which in regular theatre formats usually fuses into a compact structure.