Coming workshop at SMASH Berlin: The journey of theory. Dancing the problem
Oct 05 – Oct 23, 2015

During these 3 weeks we will focus on understanding which problems we are dancing to and what are the fundamental problematics that our artistic practices are built upon. This attempt will lead us to reflect together on the relation between theory and practice, philosophy and art, and the role of conceptualization in dance and choreography. How to practice theory? In which way is art a form of theory?

Defining theory as the journey abroad and returning

Our starting point will be to stop understanding theory only as a production of discourse and rather to consider it as an oscillatory movement or, in other words, a journey of traveling abroad and returning. We will translate this journey into the framework of our practices and research in order to trace a trajectory, step by step, distinguishing its different moments and identifying what are the risks that we undertake with our work, what is the level of exposure to danger that we tolerate and to which extent do we allow ourselves to experience uncertainty and ultimately how much are we able to translate this journey into an intelligible form to be shared within the community. This understanding of theory will help to confront the following topics: how to set up the conditions for collaboration between dance and philosophy? What is the need of conceptualizing any choreographic practice? Why is it important for an artist to be able to formulate via concepts what he/she is doing? Why should an artist be busy conceptualizing his/her work?

The Dance, the Devil, the Problem and Ballistics.
What do ballistics, problems, the devil and dance have in common? What is the secret affinity between these four concepts? There is common denominator between having a problem, bumping into the devil, accepting a dance invitation and being hit by a bullet. Etymologically speaking, they all share the same root, from Greek, ballein, which means, “to throw so as to hit“. Something has been thrown, something falls in the middle, something appears unexpectedly in front of you, all of a sudden something hits you, and unexpectedly you are invited to dance. But what or who throws? What is thrown? What does its trajectory look like? What does it encounter? What is hit? How does being hit affect it? Can violence trigger movement?
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THE ART OF MISCHIEF, University Rey Juan Carlos, Madrid. March 2014.


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AFFECT provides the opportunity for a comprehensive research to determine the artist's position in an ever-fluctuating socio-political landscape. This program at Agora is a catalyst for participating artists to investigate established views on communities, movements and networking. These factors are deeply rooted in Berlin and provide fertile soil for expansion of knowledge within artistic practices today.

Agora’s collaborative identity is reflected in AFFECT. Significant elements of this program are the encounters with professionals based in Berlin, with whom Agora has established partnerships: spaces, artists, curators and a range of cross-disciplinary professionals. These encounters stimulate the participants in their research and provide the necessary tools to let their efforts manifest themselves. Participants are assisted in producing pieces, developing talks, collaborating with other initiatives and in meeting communities that they want to involve in their research.

The first part of AFFECT is designated for participants to establish their individual position within not only the residency but also the context of Berlin. This is accomplished by means of open public presentations and exhibitions of the participants’ own works and practices at Agora.

After the artists have established themselves, the program moves into a collaborative construction. Transposing the program to a collaborative framework means that a temporary community is formed. The particular dynamics of such a group gives the artists the environment to productively experiment with the issues at hand. The group develops concepts that are materialized according to the negotiations and agreements they set up.

Subsequently, artists are invited to show their work in a city teeming with cultural history and development. The outcome of the research will be presented at an off-site location hosted by one of the partner spaces. The artists have free access to the exhibition space in the time leading up to the conclusion of the program with a curator involved to facilitate the process. Agora AFFECT will be concluded with the event that the participating artists produce at this location.

The outcome of the research and conclusion of Affect will be presented and hosted by one of Agora’s partner spaces at the end of each module.

There is almost always a void between socio-political goals and realties of their contexts. This void is the discrepancy between expectation and outcome. Agora believes that the artist's role manifests itself in the discrepancy between the issues raised and solutions that solve them.

Facilitated by Diego Agulló

Period of 2 weeks // In the first two weeks of the program, the group is introduced to current projects, people and movements that are engaged socially or politically in Berlin. This exploration also includes visits to art collections, museums, galleries as well as significant events or festivals that are taking place in the city during this period. Also an important part of this phase is the personal introduction of each participant to Berlin’s art and social scene through a group-show hosted in Agora’s facilities. In this show, we invite each participant to bring pieces that can open the dialogue about their personal work and practice. In general, the goal of this phase is to acclimatize the group to the context of the city, its community and its projects.

What is the political, social and artistic context of Berlin?

What is the role of the artist/group in this territory?