BIO Rickard Borgström, Curator, Sibbo, Finland. He works at the fluid intersection of contemporary art, dance and theatre. He deploy a de-central perspective to conceive exhibition and program formats, within diverse backgrounds and geographies, in a collaborative and trans-disciplinary modes, to provide a historical anchoring and engagement with local conditions. Borgström has worked mainly in the Nordic region where his work has been presented at institutions such as Teaterhuset Avant Garden (Rosendal Teater), Bastard Internationella Teaterfestival, Stamsund Teaterfestival, Norsk Kulturråd, Lofoten Internationella Konstfestival, Inkonst, Art Space Sinne, Jyväskylä Art museum, Korjaamo, Nunatta Isiginnaartitsisarfia – The National Theatre of Greenland. At times he lecture in contemporary dramaturgies in dance and theatre at Uniarts Dance department Stockholm. Borgström writes for Norsk Shakespearetidskrift and Ny tid. Currently he is co-curating a platform for dance and visual arts focusing on critical ecology with Rebecca Chentinell, the first pilot “Symbiotic – Erotics” takes place at Färgabriken, Stockholm fall 2021, followed by “Dances and Songs of Soil” at Havremagasinet Boden/Suttes spring 2022. He was a member of the committee of Dance at the Swedish Art Council 2018-2021. Borgström is educated at Dramatiska Institutet and Stockholms Universitet.
There is a codependency, but in the end, machines do not need us, we need them.
– Geumhyung Jeong
I wish to explore that which don’t revolve around the human, but rather focus on the other living world. In this case the realm of the forest. Is it possible to interact with it and not having the human in the center?
– Zheng Bo
The theater has since the Renaissance favored an anthropomorphic logic of the stage, where the human subject has been superior on account of the distant object. However new forms of dance, theatre, and performance, informed by post-human thought, put this dichotomy into question, as these forms show that they are not dependent on only human actors, rather that objects are and have always been great performers, producing sensuous affect beyond the visual presentation. These theatrical and choreographic strategies use different performative modes and manipulation to unsecure the subject–object relation, as they explore and mobilize the agency of the objects, which shed light on their active nature in the world, in ways that reevaluate the status of the human, her position and interactions within a greater ecology. And they do so with a certain urgency, that on the one hand can be traced to the destruction of the environment, where it’s evident that humans need to activate their sensibility to this condition, and on the other hand non-human actors has become omnipresent in the accelerated technological growth, or in other words; non-human matter is an active factor that humans cannot foresee nor control.
What are the artistic strategies that argue for a less anthropocentric driven practice? How do they operate? How is the interaction shaped with non-human actors, are they equal? What consequences does it have on how we understand and produce dance, theatre, performance? How does it alter our understanding of the body, movement, and language? How does it revise temporal and spatial dimensions? How are these strategies ingrained and aligned with ecological and technological challenges of today?
The seminar is devised by DACE – Dance Art Critical Ecology/Rickard Borgström and Rebecca Chentinell in collaboration with Uniarts Dance Department. It is presented in conjunction with the dance exhibition Symbiosis – Erotics with projects by Zheng Bo and Geumhyung Jeong, curated by DACE at Färgfabriken, as a satellite to the project Symbiosis.
As the archaeology of our thought easily shows, man is an intervention of recent date. And one perhaps nearing its end.
– Michel Foucault’s, Les Mots et les choses
Seminar Schedule13:00 – 16:00
13:00 – 13:10 Welcome
Karin Englund, Curator Färgfabriken and Jennifer Lacey, Head of program MA in Choreography Uniarts
13:10 – 13:20On Dance, Theatre, Performance in a More-than-Human World
Rickard Borgström & Rebecca Chentinell / DACE
13:20 – 14:00Atmosphere and Intra-action – Feeling entangled agencies in theatre spaces
Dr. Sarah Lucie, Dramaturge/Editor
14:00 – 14:40
Sky every day – Writing through interspecies relation beyond the Anthropocene extinction
Pipsa Lonka, Playwright/Dramaturge
14:40 – 14:55 Break
14:55 – 15:05 Screening: Record Stop Play
Geumhyung Jeong, Artist/Choreographer
15:05 – 15:45Love, Labor, Loop: Geumhyung Jeong’s Choreographies of the General Intellect
Eylül Fidan Akıncı, Ph.D. candidate, Dramaturge/Performer
15:45 – 16:00 Closing remarks
Jennifer Lacey, Sarah Lucie, Pipsa Lonka
16:00- 16:15 Break
16:15- 16:30 Screening: An Ecosexual Dance in Högsveden
Zheng Bo, Artist
16:30- 17:15 End discussion
Seminar participants and Rickard Borgström & Rebecca Chentinell / DACE
Symbiosis – Erotics is in partnership with Färgfabriken, Stockholm University of the Arts – Department of Dance, Royal Institute of Art – Performance in the expanded field and is supported by Suomen Kulttuurirahasto, Swedish Arts Council, Taiteen edistämiskeskus, IASPIS / Swedish Arts Grants Committee – International Dance Program, Nordic Culture Fund, Frame Contemporary Art Finland, Nordic Culture Point.
For more information about the exhibition Symbiosis – Erotics visit www.fargfabriken.se and to know more about DACE – Dance Art Critical Ecology visit www.dace.nu
About the speakers:
Eylül Fidan Akıncı is a Ph.D. Candidate in Theatre and Performance at The Graduate Center- City University of New York (CUNY). She works independently as a dramaturg and performer across choreography, theatre, and visual arts between the U.S., Europe, and Turkey.
Akıncı’s doctoral research focuses on objects and nature in contemporary choreography through a feminist lens, and creates a trajectory across Pina Bausch, Eiko Otake, La Ribot, Mette Ingvartsen, Gisèle Vienne, and Geumhyung Jeong. Her writing on dance and performance has appeared in academic and popular publications such as TDR: The Drama Review and Etcetera Mag, and is forthcoming in Performance Research 26:8 (2022). She also published on public protests in Turkey, “Sacred Children, Accursed Mothers: Performativities of Necropolitics and Mourning in Neoliberal Turkey” in Performance in a Militarized Culture (eds. Sara Brady and Lindsey Mantoan, Routledge, 2017).
As an educator, Akıncı has been teaching at Hunter College and Baruch College of CUNY, giving workshops on dramaturgy and dance history, and currently co-curates Biennial Dance Education 2022 Stuttgart entitled “Coming Together: Solidarity, encounter, sustainability.”
Jennifer Lacey is a US-American dance artist based in Paris and Stockholm. Her constant project is a renegotiation of production methods, generating pieces that are always based in dancing but don’t always look like dance. She creates works that propose an inventive and playful hermeneutics of bodies and their environments. Often co-signing and collaborating, the products of her activity unbind dance from the spectacular whilst still investing in the multiple ways that the performative can manifest, effect and communicate. Her works have been produced and staged internationally in theatres, museums, galleries, workshops and publications. She is a recipient of a Doris Duke Impact Fellowship and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Currently she is the head of the MA program of Choreography at Uniarts Stockholm.
Pipsa Lonka is a playwright and dramaturg who received her M.A. from the Helsinki Theatre Academy in 2007. Her repertoire of works is not bound to a single type of viewer but instead range from children to adults.
The foundation of her plays are strong emotions and their central questions often ponder both the physical and mental relationships between people, art, and the surrounding world (especially nature). Her plays are often combined with observations on how our surrounding space may impact our existence and the ways in which these experiences may be verbalized through language. According to Lonka: “I’m largely fascinated by the position of the human species in relation to other life and what sort of narrative the play is pushing forward with this narrative. It is possibly an analytical question: what does the human have the right to?”
She has worked in collaboration with theatres like Helsinki City Theatre, the Finnish National Theatre, and Q-Theatre. Lonka has won multiple awards both domestically and abroad, her most recent award being the 2018 Lea Award for best dramatic text of the year granted by the Finnish Playwrights and Screenwriters Guild. This award was granted for her play Second Nature (Toinen Luonto). The play addresses the assumption that the human species is at the centre of the world and is therefore more valuable than other living species by default. Her most recent play Sky every day (Neljän päivän läheisyys) premiered in Viirus Theatre in February, 2021. It is a posthumanist play about gulls and people. The play has been translated in Swedish, English, and will shortly be available in Russian and Danish.
Sarah Lucie earned her Ph.D. in Theater and Performance from The Graduate Center, City University of New York. Her research approaches contemporary performance and digital art through new materialism, ecocritical theory, and posthumanism. Sarah has contributed articles to Performance Research, Theatre Journal, Theatre Survey, PAJ, and Etcetera, as well as The Routledge Companion to Theatre and Politics (2019) and Machine Made Silence: The Art of Kris Verdonck (2020). Sarah is also media editor of Performance Studies: An Introduction, 4th Edition, as well as Assistant Editor of TDR: The Drama Review. She currently teaches in the theatre and dance departments at Marymount Manhattan College and Drew University. She also works as a dramaturg, and serves as General Manager for East Coast Artists.
21 October – 28 November 2021 Part of Open Studio Symbiosis Färgfabriken, Stockholm
The project Symbiosis – Erotics presents two artists with diverse body of work, that yet share similar interest in symbiotic methods, where human and non-human live and act in proximity: Zheng Bo in relation to the plant kingdom (plants and trees), and Geumhyung Jeong in relation to the machinic domain (various objects; from domestic technology to robotics). In their embodied queer and erotic practices – where in this project movement, dance and performance are emphasized – they produce transgressive intra-actions and bewildering bonds between multitudes of bodies (human as more-than-human). Through these tangible practices, they accentuate the manipulative potential of performative acts, as they paradoxically humanize the non-human body only to simultaneously estranging it, where both bodies emerge anew. This procedure opens for a field of co-activity between human and non-human bodies, where, if not binary oppositions between object and subject dissolves, they become ambiguous and porous. The merging of bodies into multiple formations highlights the dynamics of an extended network of encounters of different matter, or in other words the politics of an intertwined world.
The project is carried out in an open studio format, where the artists and curators invite the public to take part of the on-going research process of Zheng: An Ecosexual Dance in Högsveden and of Jeong: Small Tour, presented in different formats such as exhibition, performance, seminar, screenings and talks. The project is curated, facilitated, and organized by Rickard Borgström and Rebecca Chentinell, who are invited by Färgfabriken in the frame of the project Symbiosis and Open Studio in the fall of 2021.
IN PARTNERSHIP WITH Färgfabriken, Stockholm University of the Arts – Department of Dance, Royal Institute of Art – Performance in the expanded field.
SUPPORTED BY Suomen Kulttuurirahasto, Swedish Arts Council, Taiteen edistämiskeskus, IASPIS / Swedish Arts Grants Committee – International Dance Program, Nordic Culture Fund, Frame Contemporary Art Finland, Nordic Culture Point.
Un Le Petit Scandale, even before opening night Zheng Bo´s project strip up emotion. In Dagens Nyheters critic Lisa Boda writes a chronical of the fall season with the heading “When Dalarna lures with Eco- Sexual Dance Workshops the limit is crossed.”
A rather hasty demarcations from Lisa, without even seen the work. One get curious why she does not even engage with the work. The work in itself is something more than fetischistic exercises with a pine tree. It is a question that problematize the human centred perspective, and look into to the nature forest in general and in this case the pine tree in particular, that we have very little knowledge of. The fact that we liv in an ecology of coexistence (or even codependency) with our surroundings, the approach here is to try to understand these more- than- human beings, and to broaden our understanding of the living, even what sexulaity can be. As when I breathe, I am constantly interact with the circular movement of exchanging oxygen carbon dioxide, for example in relation to a tree. But perhaps this touches on a the loaded and constructed dichotomies of modern times?
Interesting enouhg Maia Hörstadius from Dala Nyheter made a report from Högsveden the nature forest in Dalarna. Here article has quite a different perspective than Lisa Boda. You can read Maia´s article here and Lisa Bodas here.
We hope that some more brave critic from Dagens Nyheter will visit the exhibition and program at Färgfabriken this fall. They are more than welcome!
鄭波 Zheng Bo: ECO- SEXUAL DANCE? Public Screening and Conversation
Tisdag 31 aug 18:00 at Färgfabriken
Screening av Zheng Bos tidigare skogsfilmer: Pteridophilia,The Political Life of Plants samt förhandsvisning av nytt material från pågående film/dansproduktion vid Högsvedens naturreservat i Dalarna. Ett samtal mellan Zheng Bo, Rickard Borgström och Rebecca Chentinell kring den eco-sexuella dansens praktik i Taiwan respektive Dalarna ges i anslutning till visningen.
EKOSEXUELL DANS I DALARNAS NATURSKOG AUG- SEP
Den kinesiska konstnären 鄭波 Zheng Bo undersöker ekosexuell dans tillsammans med fem nordiska dansare i Dalarnas naturskogar. Inledningsvis arbetar gruppen i området kring Tandvärkstallen i Högsvedens naturreservat. De utforskar trädens liksom människans sexualitet och agens, och deras ömsesidiga relation och beroende genom dans. Både träd och människa betraktas som dansare (om än träd förmodligen dansar långsammare). De förlitar sig på sina kroppar och rörelser för gemensam interaktion laddad med omvårdnad, begär, lust, erotik och etik.
Utforskandet av den ekosexuella dansworkshopen resulterar i en serie teckningar och en konstfilm där dans mellan träd och människa gestaltas. Materialet visas mellan 21 oktober – 28 november vid Färgfabrikens Konsthall.
Projektet curateras och produceras av Rickard Borgström och Rebecca Chentinell. Duon är inbjudna till Färgfabrikens öppna studioprogram inom ramen för utställningen Symbiosis under hösten 2021.
I SAMARBETE MED Färgfabriken, Stockholm Konstnärliga Högskola – Institutionen för dans, Kungliga konsthögskolan – performance i det utvidgade fältet.
MED STÖD AV Suomen Kulttuurirahasto, Statens kulturråd, Taiteen edistämiskeskus, IASPIS / Konstnärsnämnden – Internationella dansprogrammet, Frame Contemporary Art Finland, Nordisk Kulturkontakt.
KONSTNÄRER OCH CURATORER
Det konstnärliga teamet består av Andreas Haglund, Mikko Hyvönen, Adam Nilsson, Ossi Niskala, Paolo de Venecia Gile, Adriano Wilfert Jensen och Zheng Bo.
鄭波 Zheng Bo (f. 1974, Beijing, Bor och verkar på Lantau Island, Hong Kong) Zheng är dedikerad till mer-än-mänsklig livskraft; han undersöker det förflutna och föreställer sig framtiden ur marginaliserade gruppers och marginaliserade växters perspektiv. Han skapar plantträdgårdar, levande slagord, eko-queera filmer och wanwu-workshops för att kultivera ekologisk visdom bortom den antropocena utrotningen.
DACE – Dans Konst Kritisk Ekologi DACE är en plattform för curatoriellt och koreografiskt utforskande av vad post-human dans kan vara. Plattformen initierades 2019 av Rickard Borgström och Rebecca Chentinell. Centralt för duon är hur kroppen fungerar som ett gränssnitt gentemot omgivningen. De arbetar därför med konstnärer som engagerar sig i de snabba teknologiska, miljömässiga och politiska förändringarna genom diversifierade kroppsliga praktiker, i frågor om hur detta påverkar våra handlingar, vårt tänkande och konstnärliga arbete.
DACE spårar nya kroppsliga sensibiliteter och sammankopplingar mellan människa, teknologi, natur i mer-än-mänskliga miljöer. DACE söker nya estetiska paradigm i den genomgripande förvandlingen av de ekologiska systemen i den geologiska epoken av människoskapt natur.
Background: Rescripting dance – New translocal initiatives
In fall of 2018 we, Artistic Director Holly Bright and Curator Rickard Borgström, met in Nanaimo, Vancouver Island. We found common ground through curiosities in recent artistic developments and experiences in working with performing arts festivals on the edge, in the province, where one engages in one’s local community as much as connecting to the rest of the world, where one finds affinities as shared interests.
In the last two decades within our regional performing arts fields, we have seen the rise of artistic practices that thematisize social-political matters within the work itself, in what it does (relational strategies, social engagement), more so than being about a certain political point of view. As we discussed these developments we wondered if these artistic practices were implicit reactions to the process of weaken the state, or in Nordic terms the Welfare State.
We also recognize an urgent shift in these art practices in our recent decade, where the relational strategies have expanded into a register of the senses and affect, leading toward a more porous, entangled, environment beyond the human-to-human logic, thus expanding dance to a more complex web of human and non-human actors, or in other words a more-than-human ecology, of coexistence and interdependence. The latter questions intersect with social, cultural, political, economic, scientific, ecological concerns of our time that call for expansive visions on how to organize life on a global, even planetary scale, as well on an everyday, social, sphere.
Meanwhile the pandemic has paralyzed the global performing arts system. And it has brought unjust structures to the fore proving the current model to be unsustainable, be it ecologically or socially. ‘Business as usual’ is no longer an alternative.
The pandemic reinforces our dire need to reimagine our artistic and curatorial practices from a vantage point that acknowledges its deep entanglement with ecological systems and the social fabric, both local as global, without losing sight of the asymmetrical relations of resources. That is, how do we, in our communities, despite the current state of geopolitical tensions, environmental injustice (and pandemic), explore new forms of collaborations, working models and dance, and rethink our infrastructure, within these conditions?
This has led us to initiate a research project into these new formats between 2021- 2023 in the Nordic region and Canada. In the process we let our desires and imagination move us to reshape the relations between dance, stages, audience, artists, curators, contexts and discourses.
As part of our research, we are interested in reaching out to peers who work in disparate contexts, with specific discourses, to discuss these emergent forms with us in a public forum.
Our first short pilot (April- July 2021) is an artistic exchange between two artists from Vancouver Island and two artists from Sweden, as well as a series of public conversations.
 Additionally these practices can be viewed as an increasing historical and contemporary criticism of the ongoing state’s failures and misconducts in relation to its diverse communities.
⟶ PART I 15. June 2021 Working Alone Together – New modes of translocal artistic collaboration In what ways might we persist in artistic exchange and presentation despite current limitations and considerations? What new modes of collaboration might be invented? What dance formats can transmit embodied live experiences for a live audience, while taking distance into account?
⟶ PART II 8. July 2021 The lure of the translocal and its discontent – New curatorial initiatives The pandemic is a tale of the accelerated transformation of our ecological system and it foregrounds the unjust structures as the asymmetrical relations of resources within our global performing arts field. The need to reformulate international collaboration is inevitable, so how do we reshape our curatorial practice in response to that need? Would exploring trans-local collaborations, where international aspirations are embedded in one’s locality, be a way forward? A translocality that on one hand engages in the diversity of one’s own locality and on the other operates as a cultural node in a connected network of affinities that transgress national borders. What would such curatorial work look like? What are the critical implications of such trans-local collaboration?
Martine Dennewald, Co-Artistic Director, FTA- Festival TransAmériques [LU] Thorbjørn Gabrielsen, Artistic Director, Stamsund Teaterfestival [NO] Elle Sofe Sara, Choreographer and Founder of Dáiddadállu- Sámi artist collective [Sápmi/NO]