To make visible what had no intention of being seen

Grounding alternative spatiotemporal experience in the choreographic format walk+talk 1 Jun 2010English

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This is not a lecture. Don’t trust my words. (Oleg Soulimenko) There could be no better opening words for a text about walk+talk than the opening words of walk+talk #1. They seem to respond to speculations about what we should expect from this format, a brainchild of Philipp Gehmacher. No lecture, then, if you believe Soulimenko. The speaker himself certainly advises expressly against it. On the other hand, one distrusts his words, which insist that this is no lecture—what else is this mistrust based on other than words that, in effect, put it into practice faithfully.

As part of his curatorial project Still Moving One in March 2008, which was complemented with guest performances and an installation, Philipp Gehmacher invited nine other dancers and choreographers, including himself, to deal—in actu, so to speak, on the stage in Hall G, and solo—with important parameters of their work. He titled the events walk+talk #1-#10. In order of their appearance, Oleg Soulimenko, Meg Stuart, Philipp Gehmacher, Antonia Baehr, Rémy Héritier, Sioned Huws, Boris Charmatz, Jeremy Wade, Milli Bitterli and Anne Juren participated in five two-part evenings.

Even without the doubtfulness of Oleg Soulimenko’s assertion “This is not a lecture”, the question arises: to what extent is walk+talk neither a series of lecture performances where choreographers present their working methods nor a series of improvisations? One possible answer is suggested here ... rethinking the mouth-space.(Boris Charmatz) If I quote in detail from my memory of “walking” and “talking” then it is not to enlist the artists as proponents of this analysis; and it is up to the reader to either trust these words or not. Both levels of text, mine and the artists’, form mutual reference points for one another; hence they function not as evidence, but more as interference. Do you understand me? It’s ok. You don’t have to get it. (Meg Stuart) The same is true of the diversity and concomitant interrelatedness of the ten voices within the walk+talks. No one just stands there “for themselves”, as my theory goes. My interest here lies less in the content and form of each individual version and more in testimonies of artistic self-presentation. I would like to pursue the resonance and resistance that these versions induce and generate in one another within the format’s framework as fixed by Gehmacher. I consider “walk+talk” to be a collective choreographic structure where questions of appropriation and opposition, inscription and memory, historicity, duration and projection must be handled on stage as well as in the auditorium.

I walk.
I walk and.
I walk and talk.
(Antonia Baehr)

Antonia Baehr resolves to take the title literally. At least she says so. She walks and while doing so enunciates that she is walking and talking. Each step, each word is regulated by the beat of a metronome which Baehr has placed centre stage and around which she orbits. It doesn’t take long until beat, word and step involuntarily begin, as time goes by, to resolve into time. Elbow room opens up between the project of the action prescribed and its inadequate realisation; for our performer, this is more than accommodating. In her work with directives and scores, which she also employs in her walk+talk, Baehr hopes for quite similar openings to occur suddenly in the failure, in the collapse of situations under the pressure of overdetermined structures. Prognoses, for example, are useful tools, because by means of pure projection they linguistically create material realities that one must react to. Imagine that you are crossing the room ... (Anne Juren)


The material collision of saying and doing

And she will press “Play”. (Antonia Baehr) Baehr’s expression, when it becomes clear to her that the wrong track is starting because she pressed a button on the wrong ghetto blaster, is one such opening. As she meticulously forecasts the way to the other (right) machine out loud to herself for a second time—how she crosses the room to the other side of the stage, how she gingerly lifts her trouser legs, how she squats down and, this time, presses the right button—one can see in her, apart from a struggle for concentration, a gratified irritation. She can hardly believe that she has “really” just succumbed to the structure of her own practice. Projection meets projection, I would say. (Philipp Gehmacher)

Ok, watch this! (Meg Stuart) Everything in walk+talk points to this conflation and collapse of saying and doing; to the moment, and furthermore the movement, of the material collision of saying and doing; to the consequences, not in order to awkwardly walk the line yet again between body and intellect before an audience, nor to pronounce with feigned consternation the impossible simultaneity of materiality and reflection in relation to the event. Much less to have the choreographers explain the creative principles of their authorship. Do you have any questions? (Boris Charmatz) The interrelatedness of walking and talking which is addressed here becomes clearer if one consults Philipp Gehmacher’s own choreographic reading of “utterance” as he literally ‘puts it forward’ in his works. It differs significantly from the concept of performativity used by Antonia Baehr, influenced and inspired by Judith Butler and J. L. Austin, and from the linguisticality of her textures of directives. Gehmacher’s utterance articulates a physical-reflexive capacity, which likewise occupies an in-between space: that of intersubjectivity. This is where Gehmacher locates the problematisation of the subject. What do you see in me? (Meg Stuart) But also, through a constant, tangential (mis)alignment of one by the second by the third, his “utterance” always offsets the question of the subject’s potential, of any opportunity to bring itself forth, to show itself and to communicate itself. This (mis)alignment is borne by the oscillation between being body and having body, being language and having language, essentially always in relation to, and in view of: me, the world, you. (Philipp Gehmacher) The space, one’s own body, the other body. Would you exchange space with me? (Sioned Huws)

To begin with, in walk+talk the intermediate space as the space between spaces is obstructed by an overpowering visual impression. Why don’t you just follow the wall? (Anne Juren) Hall G, conceived as a multifunctional performance space that can be adapted to the requirements of dance, theatre, musicals or concerts, has been stripped down to the walls by visual artist Alexander Schellow. Over many days, loop after loop, hundreds of square metres of heavy black velvet soundproofing curtains were undone. Some years ago I was performing here as a dancer. And in the middle of the performance I was exactly here. But at that moment I was kind of ... hidden. (Rémy Héritier) In a hall of this size Gehmacher and Schellow’s plan of revealing in a state of bareness a space that is, according to Western theatrical convention, neutralised and covered poses the maximum of logistical challenges to the theatre’s technical apparatus. Ultimately, according to its logic, the removal of this shroud, perceived as fixture of the space (or no longer even perceived at all), makes for quite an elaborate scenography. A large part of the stage design budget was thus worn away in reverse: a ‘taking away’, a ‘dispensing with’ as stage work and as cost factor.


The space as its own sculpture

The effect is enormous. And surprising. This space is very scary to us. (Antonia Baehr) Giant, ultra-present, the walls veined with the hoists, the pulleys, the strips of working light and the cabling for the equipment—the hall is now visible. But what do we see? The theatre as a nervous system. (Jeremy Wade) Hall G becomes its own sculpture. At the back in the centre, the space opens onto an absurdly small stage-within-a-stage, a low, box-shaped apse with a high metal back-door that further emphasises the undertow of its depth. Aestheticised, what was previously concealed in its functionality now seems like extravagant ornamentation. The hall becomes pompous, voracious. I want to imagine that this whole space comes and eats me. (Milli Bitterli) The examination of space, of this manufactured space, continues as a theme in the walk+talks. It gives rise to various strategies, not only in reaction to the architecture but also in response to the installation prepared in Hall G in collaboration with sound artist Noid. Instantly I am attracted to the periphery. (Sioned Huws) The white dance floor, laid with minimal irregularities in the length of its strips, buckles impertinently—a bit too disturbing to have been overlooked accidentally. Its surface runs almost up to the edges of the hall, still leaving a narrow orbit of parquet floor unsealed: a rejection of the usual compressed, symmetrical dance floor island which draws the focus away from the edges while still leaving the space slightly open. Microphones on the floor and on stands, linked to a system of loudspeakers, create zones with special sound qualities. To describe is to create. To create is to describe. (Oleg Soulimenko) More microphones arranged measuredly across the small rear apse are connected to a loudspeaker array that stretches, with an equivalently measured scale, over the seating, reproducing, directly above the audience, the range of sound from the maximum depth of the space. Conversely, the sound from downstage centre, the place with the most direct frontal address, can be reflected backwards onto the metal door of the apse. This and other interventions creating acoustic folds and warps in the space are individually usable, but they can also be deactivated by the choreographers as desired. How can I connect? (Anne Juren)


Creating places of memory, reflection, overwriting

There is a similarity in purpose between the visual “minimalism” of these interventions and the functionality of the “real space” of Hall G, for the latter is quite clearly an aesthetic setting. As such, it very much complies with Philipp Gehmacher’s own treatment of space, while it is somewhat foreign to Meg Stuart or Jeremy Wade’s working methods. This has occasionally been criticised by reference to the walk+talk participants’ limitation of movement. Significantly, however, it is precisely Stuart who makes maximum use of the source of friction offered by the room’s prepared surface in order to charge it with the theatrical nervousness she needs. What do you want from me? (Meg Stuart) Towards the audience, and then driven upstage away from them as if in reverse, she moves predominantly up and down the centre of an imaginary enfilade, making her body, though it almost disappears infinitesimally into the darkness, crash forward directly into the spectators thanks to the sound inversion prompted by her collision with the metal door. Couldn’t we, therefore, also say that Gehmacher’s own spatial thinking has flowed into the reworking of the space’s materiality, that it has created a necessary foil? Time to be somewhere else. (Oleg Soulimenko) On the one hand it thwarts any trivialisation or idealisation of “empty” space as undesigned, neutral or even democratic; on the other hand, it offers a whole arsenal of partially movable landmarks that facilitate, over the course of the shifting utilisations, the self-creation of numerous spaces emerging in friction with the options given. ... making you exist by my gesture. (Boris Charmatz)

Who tells him to do what he does? (Antonia Baehr) In his walk+talk Boris Charmatz chooses the courtly bow of révérence to demonstrate contextual manoeuvrability in the meaning of body-signs and to frame the linguistic-discursive anatomy of the choreographic as a modelling of processes of reading and selecting. What in one moment is a gesture of self-empowerment that, by being recognised by the king, repeatedly involves subjects anew in the contingency of his existence—so they may testify to his inviolability—becomes in the body of the slave the sign of subjugation, of bending to an external will. I am gonna try to find some freedom. (Jeremy Wade) A révérence that stands still, wide awake, precisely between empowerment and submissiveness, finds its likeness in gestures made toward the surrounding space by the performers in walk+talk, in the gestures they use to create their individual sites of recollection, reflection, concealment and overwriting, as well as in their references to the other words, bodies, paths and sites that permeate this surrounding space over the course of the series. I could be the event now. But the building we are in now could also be the event. That’s only a matter of focus. (Rémy Héritier) In walk+talk #10 when Anne Juren sits on the floor with her back to the side wall and talks about “being the periphery”, is she defining a peripheral zone by naming it, or is she simply actualising a prescribed structure? Doesn’t the space, focussed in the viewer’s attention, turn inside out in this same moment; isn’t its centre at the periphery?


Discourse as monument

What is your reference point? (Anne Juren) In this space, which in its constructed-ness and observed-ness has always gleaned its history from “other people” and through “other things”, new layers evolve ceaselessly, although the white dance floor again appears virginal and empty at the beginning of each new evening. The work of handling and observing these shiftings resembles the practice of Foucaultian archaeology. Physical and verbal movements and their traces, thus, are not references thrown into the depths, references to an underlying meaning, like a personal psyche or rhetoric. They become objects in a discursive field, which the structure walk+talk can definitely be understood as. You can’t steal a movement. You just use it. (Oleg Soulimenko) The special thing about an action, says Meg Stuart, is that you can observe it like an object from all sides. Archaeology, according to Foucault, “does not treat discourse as a document . . . it is concerned with the discourse in its own volume, as a monument. It is not an interpretative discipline: it does not seek another, better-hidden discourse. It refuses to be ‘allegorical’.” For me horse riding is a matter of dissociation, abstraction because when you want to get something you’re facing the fact that you’re not speaking the same language. (Rémy Héritier)

Blink-blink. (Jerremy Wade) Following Juren’s gaze over this empty expanse, one detects innumerable overlapping, intersecting, material-immaterial spaces and lines of movement: Meg Stuart’s confrontational passage up and down the enfilade. Philipp Gehmacher’s arm stretched out to the side, gingerly “touching” her pathway and thereby formally retracting the dramatics with which Stuart had visually charged the area, diverting these dramatics inward. The fold in the dance floor, which is a horizontal extension of this arm, which ends at the nucleus of the circularity of the walked figure eight, into which Antonia Baehr, immediately following Gehmacher, condensed the space. Days later, Anne Juren walks the same path for a while, and then she breaks the loop, taking it aside and imaginarily unrolling it there as a straight, detouring line along the periphery, where Sioned Huws had circumambulated the hall, spinning around for minutes. Blink-blink-blink. (Jeremy Wade)

I never see an empty space. (Meg Stuart) What sort of relations are these? And where are they, actually; where do they produce themselves: in the space; in the movement; in the perception of the spectator who assembles what he sees now and what he just saw into a spatial and temporal hybrid; or always already in his memory? How do the individual reflections of body(-language) relate to each another, and what do they do with each another?


Empty space, bulldozed ground and the choreo-political formation of the Modern

What I have, in reference to Gehmacher’s own pieces, called a “putting forward” becomes discernible as a relational procedure of spatialisation; or put differently, choreography takes concrete form as an interpersonal grid of localisations and temporal contractions between singular proposals. Here I echo Sioned Huws, who in her walk+talk notes that as far as the format is concerned it is not so much the individual approaches that interest her as “what they say about each other.” The interesting thing is how to shift from what I have done randomly to what I could do to what has been done. (Rémy Héritier) Each implementation mutually refreshes the other in a process that materialises as something other than temporally linear, something other than spatially consistent. What the installation setting of walk+talk proposes is a specific mode for the grounding of movement in theatre space while, by the same token, proposing the temporality—inherent to the seriality of the format—of a certain duration relative to the continuous materialisation of body-(hi)stories in space and as space. It is interesting to think about limitation. (Milli Bitterli) The concept of grounding is not to be confused with that of reason, either ontologically or in the sense of an explicit, linear correlation of cause and effect which enables, in causal theories of time (those of Kant and Leibniz for example) the localisation of an event only as a particular “place” in time, only thereby enabling the linear course of time. Grounding aims more at the “ground” as an ever-concrete, material substrate of each movement. This is where I am and where the world begins. (Philipp Gehmacher) In his critique of modernist ideologies of subject and movement, André Lepecki points out that it was an abstracted, formless ground, levelled to a flat surface, which enabled the choreo-political formation of the Modern in the first place: “for modernity imagines its topography as already abstracted from its grounding on a land previously occupied by other human bodies, other life forms, filled with other dynamics, gestures, steps, and temporalities.” Many years I was trying to get up from the floor. (Meg Stuart) Referring to Homi Bhabha’s identification of an inextricable connection between colonialism and modernity, Lepecki ascribes to both colonialism and modernity a central “spatial blindness (of perceiving all space as an ‘empty space’)”. “This bulldozing of the ground, a colonialist gesture, is also a gesture that allows for representation to take place on an empty flatness, and that generates, sustains, and reproduces a subjectivity that perceives its own truth as a self-propelled ‘machine for free movement’ . . . gliding along a flat and unmovable terrain.”


The impossibility of being in the space

Who tells him to walk? (Antonia Baehr) Lepecki’s image of a bulldozed, ahistorical expanse of abstracted ground as precondition for the modernist ontology of movement and subject can be connected to conceptions of space that Martina Löw rejects as absolutist in her outline of a “sociology of space”. Shifting between picture and activity. (Anne Juren) Löw opposes concepts that posit space as a container for bodies, people, actions, and thus as an abstract category. She absolutely denies the existence of space as materiality i.e. physical substrate. One is never in the space, according to her; “empty” space is unthinkable to boot. People are always already doubly incorporated in space’s “physique”: “on the one hand they can be a component of the elements that are linked to spaces, on the other hand the linking itself is tied to human activity.” Twisting spine is always the motor of being towards. (Philipp Gehmacher) As a result of positionings, anatomies of space systematically yield places. For their part, only places make the emergence of space possible. I spend a lot of time observing my hands. (Meg Stuart) In itself, a suchlike deterritorialised understanding of space leads to the materialisation of several spaces in the same place at the same time, spaces which can, however, also effectively exhibit material stability and elusiveness. Close up of hand. (Milli Bitterli) As “relational (re)order(ing) [An/Ordnung]” space is simultaneously structuring and structured. ... a small hand without its daily function ... that arm that rises above shoulder-level ... (Philipp Gehmacher) It comes into being in an essentially processual way. I watch my arm caressing your leg. (Anne Juren) Löw distinguishes between two processes which run parallel within everyday actions: spacing and synthesis-driven activity. If spacing describes establishment, construction or positioning as movements towards a placing in relation to other placings, then synthesis-driven activity describes a reverse movement—one just as necessary for the constitution of space—where people and material and also immaterial goods are combined into spaces only via processes of perception, imagination or memory. Löw emphasises the aspect of perception as well as the fact that perception includes far more than the visual level of discernible arrangements. Processes of perception not only ensure “that the external effects of social goods and of other people are absorbed, but also that they can influence these even when the objects are invisible.” ... the hard work of perception! (Oleg Soulimenko)

The theatre is part of the social space of a society. You can relax, this is not a performance. (Sioned Huws) And still, a certain understanding of space, such as it frequently finds expression in the treatment and contemplation of a black box carpeted with anti-slip dance floor, comes particularly close to both the spatial blindness that Lepecki describes and the container space that Löw rejects. In the spatial theory of postdramatic theatre, that of Hans-Thies Lehmann for instance, space basically still possesses a container function, even if it no longer serves as dramatic “showplace”. To be sure, postdramatic space is no longer the flat projection screen or, as the case may be, the territory for another fictional place. Nonetheless what is implied when “the theatre process [becomes] an essentially spatio-imaginal experience” is the creation of a theatrical space as a receptacle for experience, a container which remains closed and which still encloses the events despite its steered attempt at breaking through. I stand before you tonight, the Iron Lady of the Western world. (Rémy Héritier) This becomes clear especially when a theatre that occupies itself with concrete spatial materialities, that makes places “speak”, is discussed as “theatre on location”, that is, as theatre outside the theatre. Then again, the postdramatic space in the theatre, which according to Lehmann need not, or cannot, localise itself, stimulates first and foremost “unforeseeable (inter)connections of perception.” Reformulated via Martina Löw, the constituting of a multiplicity of divergent spaces are stimulated in walk+talk by structured and structuring perceptions and connections. On the stage, they cultivate a stratified, continuously superstructed choreographic architecture, which, itself constituted by a body which also constitutes itself in the moment of the performance, is never inhabited only by this one constituting body. How to stand still on stage? (Milli Bitterli)


Strategies for softening territorial dispositions

Assume one were to reject the stage as predetermined surface-by-default for projections or as mere container of the imagination. This would mean that its space would always have to be renegotiated anew—and discordantly—among each particular protagonist. If it’s not enough you can try to destroy the space. (Boris Charmatz) These “protagonists” include both the choreographers of the walk+talks as well as the spectators. Neither group—and here lies another strategy for softening territorial spatial dispositions—can be separated from the other with any precision. The participating artists were invited for the duration of the entire one-week curation of still moving, and most of them tracked, before and after their own walk+talk, their fellow participants as members of the audience. Their approach to an individual proposal evolved on two levels: that of their own performative exploitation of the installation setup and that of the observation of other possible spaces in this space—and I would like us to be reminded that such “observation” in its capacity of perception includes not only what is visible in any given moment.

Crossings of the boundary between stage and auditorium have been initiated from the stage too, most radically with Sioned Huws. I haven’t managed to achieve Philipp’s proposition. (Sioned Huws) After a long period of time in which she silently observes the empty stage, Huws asks the spectators to enter it in her place. Hardly anyone refuses the invitation. People stand, sit, saunter around the white floor alone and in groups. They investigate the machinery, and some seem intent on visiting places that have been marked by particular choreographers. I look at you. I don’t see you, I don’t know who you are, but I am aware of the gaze upon me. (Philipp Gehmacher) In contrast, a grey-haired man wearing a blue T-shirt and a black blazer is instead much more interested in the place where he was sitting just a moment ago. Motionless, he stands in the middle of the moving group, looking at the empty auditorium. He stands and keeps looking, even as the spectators gradually return to their seats after a while. Then he sits down too. Right in the middle of the stage. I want to imagine that I can sit down in a movement. (Milli Bitterli) Apropos the question of who is performing for who here, and who is watching who in the process—for a moment the situation is undecided. Leave the stage! (Antonia Baehr) People in the auditorium laugh. The man on the stage watches attentively until two women get up again after a long while and return to the stage, one of them along Meg Stuart’s central line, past the man and up to the door at the end of the apse. Huws follows her shortly thereafter (she had been sitting in the audience in the meantime) and exits the space. The people clap, Huws appears, clapping. Everyone applauds everyone. Such an artificial gesture! (Anne Juren)


“The political aspect of an action lies in the nexus it effectuates; it is not formed by the place where such an effectuation is achieved.”

In The Distribution of the Sensible Jacques Rancière describes the sensible as a space of possibilities which, as a distributed space, structures first and foremost what cannot be seen and cannot be said. That Rancière’s understanding of space possesses facets of the container by virtue of its confinement to a mechanism of distribution which must draw on spatial “reserves” while apportioning itself across a per se bounded territory is not something I will pursue further here. As soon as you spell something out you make a frontier. (Boris Charmatz) I would like to call to mind his concept of the political as the potential appearance of that which is always excluded from a militarily entrenched order, as that which is on the margins of every single suchlike sensible distribution: “We can describe as political those activities that redeploy a body from the place it is assigned to; that distort a function; that make visible what had no intention of being seen; that make audible a discourse which was only perceived as noise.” Yet in the moment when the noise is perceived, it is no longer noise but rather part of a distribution of the sensible. When I started dancing I was easily distracted. (Meg Stuart) The political, the basis of which amounts to the assumption of the equality of all human beings, cannot itself conceive of this equality because what happens through this process of in- and exclusion, as the sensible is distributed anew, is merely the perpetual creation of new inequalities. “Proportioning egalitarian inscription to inegalitarian distribution, the political act simultaneously demonstrates the inequality of the distribution of bodies and social spaces and the equal capacity of speaking beings.” Could you please laugh for seven minutes. (Antonia Baehr) “It thus produces at one and the same time new inscriptions of equality and a fresh sphere of visibility for further demonstrations. That is to say, there is no place, no action proper to the political. The political aspect of an action lies in the nexus it effectuates; it is not formed by the place where such an effectuation is achieved.” I would say that doubt and indecision and the problems of choicemaking - that’s a part of it. (Meg Stuart)


Perception as a work of memory

If space is created processually, then it is significantly temporal. Both Hans-Thies Lehmann and André Lepecki’s critiques of the dramatic and the movement paradigm of the Modern start out with a reformulation of the concept of time rather than space. They both cite Henri Bergson’s idea of duration (durée) as distinguished from time (temps)—Lehmann’s objective is to identify theatre time as a subjectively experienced counterpart to an objectively measurable time, Lepecki’s, to point movement (via the redefinition of one of its two determining parameters, namely ‘time’ and ‘space’) towards a potential alternative to its fateful interlinkage with the Modern as “being towards movement” (Peter Sloterdijk). Here I have a history of being here, and of being there and the possibility to be there. What shall I do with this history? (Oleg Soulimenko) Bergson views time as a problematic commingling of duration and space. In Matter and Memory he argues that the present only exists as an abstraction, since every perception requires “an effort of memory whereby individual moments expand into one another and become conflated”. I once did a piece where I ... (Milli Bitterli) “People arbitrarily define the present as that which is, whereas it is simply that which is happening . . . and in truth, every perception is already memory. Practically speaking, we perceive only the past, the pure present is the unfathomable progress of the past gnawing into the future.” It is the illegitimate spatialisation of time and its concomitant presumption of progressional, linear temporality that leads to the belief that the past is over—here Bergson quite clearly has a (problematic) container space in sight: “We forget that the relation of container to content owes its apparent clarity and universality to the perpetual demand to push space open before us, and close duration behind us.” This is the end. (Antonia Baehr) Homogeneous space and homogeneous time are actually, according to Bergson, neither characteristics of things nor fundamental categories of our cognitive ability, rather “they express, in an abstract form, the double work of solidification and of division which we effect on the moving continuity of the real in order to obtain there a fulcrum for our action, in order to fix within it starting points for our operation, in short, to introduce into it real changes. They are the diagrammatic design of our eventual action upon matter.” You can use the closeness instead of looking for this openness. You can use the closeness of your different thoughts and articulation of organs ... (Boris Charmatz)



Most of the participants in walk+talk are also dealing with a specific subjective history (understood as the layers of their physical experience) which they have in Hall G. They have either presented their own works here or performed as dancers for other artists. I like the idea of being caught up into history, not in a way of being trapped in it, but just being completely, hopefully involved in what is happening around. (Rémy Héritier) They repeatedly revisit places and movements from these past performances … imagining that my body ... or a line I am making would ... would extend ... (Philipp Gehmacher) Narrating with a frantic tempo, Milli Bitterli recapitulates actions she executed in previous works, walking to and fro as though she were following and watching herself, as if she feared losing contact with herself. People will watch you.. (Anne Juren) With a lurid “Watch this!” Meg Stuart performs the first movement of No One is Watching like an isolated punch line without a sketch. Several times in succession, Rémy Héritier repeats a phrase that he once danced. In these versions of the same movement, he localises the changing performance spaces, each of which has inscribed itself differently in the movement. He plays them back into Hall G like feedback. I think about movement with options. (Milli Bitterli) Philipp Gehmacher stays perhaps the closest to his initial questions of how and where both linguistic and physical articulation become permeable to one another, and where their modes of reflection collapse into each other so abruptly that half-spoken sentences come to a sudden standstill because the movement won’t catch up to the words or the attention is compelled elsewhere. When is the transition perceivable? (Anne Juren) He revisits material from his choreographic works, too, material that already holds a specific place in his practice and in Hall G. And still, this place is not merely reproduced in walk+talk: right at the start there is an explicit, albeit also hesitant, withdrawal from the self. Come closer. (Oleg Soulimenko) With his back to the audience, after having taken a couple of steps backward, Gehmacher takes a prolonged look at the little apse’s threshold that he was leaning on just a moment ago. It’s as if he were projecting himself into this pose’s, and into his own, immediate past, in order, as with Bergson, to assemble a present that need not permanently fall short of itself, a present which ensures that memory and situation stay in touch with each other. Such a present ought not to suffer from the fact that it, like the space which emerges with it, never merely is. It could, like this space, let itself happen. Eyes down left. Eyes down right. Eyes right centre. Eyes centre. Eyes up. Eyes down. Smile. (Antonia Baehr)


All the statements in italics and with (names) are taken from my notes on the performances and the video recordings of the walk+talks #1-#10.

Translation from German: William Wheeler, David Westacott


Henri Bergson: Matter and Memory, Cambridge: Zone Books 1990
Michel Foucault: The Archaeology of Knowledge, New York: Pantheon Books 1972.
Hans-Thies Lehmann: Postdramatisches Theater, Frankfurt am Main: Verlag der Autoren 1999
André Lepecki: Exhausting Dance: Performance and the Politics of Movement, New York: Routledge 2006
Martina Löw: Raumsoziologie, Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp Verlag 2001
Jacques Rancière: Gibt es eine politische Philosophie?, auf (zuletzt 1.6.2010)