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Photo Credit: Sandra Noeth

Sandra Noeth is a dramaturge, cultural scholar and curator based in Berlin.

Her research interests include “integrity and protest in relation to the human body,” the connection between aesthetics and politics, and “bodies in bordering situations” (CREATE Ireland + Dublin Dance Festival).

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Photo Credit: Siobhan Davies Dance and Dublin Dance Festival

As part of her residency with Dance Limerick and Dublin Dance Festival Sandra Noeth showcased her ideas involving movement and environments. She asked these questions: “How might physical and choreographic strategies represent, implement, legitimise and rehearse social and political action?” and “How do empathy, presence, improvisation or compositions inform the experience of borders?” (Dublin Dance Festival Programme)

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Photo Credit: The World Atlas of Street Art by Rafael Schacter. Artists: David Renault and Mathieu Tremblin

Movement is integral to art production, the making of place and composing identity in relation to social and political environments. Art therapy involves the art of movement, and can contribute to an understanding of aesthetics and politics. An examination of borders is part of art therapy – making lines demarcating personal distinctions and demonstrating the crossing-over into new areas of discernment. Art therapy can also inform protests that are both personal and socially informed.

Art therapy marks out routes of passage within a designated space, it can design sequences of movement and denote a body in motion. Compositions on the move, explorations of environment, and art influenced by context that simultaneously re-imagines space according to somatic knowledge.

The art therapy studio can also include the world-at-large.

Art therapy contributes to civic dialogue – art therapy asking complicated questions about expression and representation in civil society.

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“I am currently working both as a curator as well as an academic researcher on understanding the role, status and agency of the body in bordering processes. I am looking at different experiences of borders and boundaries – national and geopolitical, architectural, material and built borders, as well as more symbolic, imagined, social, gender-related ones. They are very often negotiated through the body, through movement, physicality and performativity. And I question how the body, how movement-based strategies can inform us about these processes. How for example practical and theoretical knowledge from dance and choreography, how composition and improvisation, embodiment or somatic modes of attention, rhythm and affects might help us understand the experience of bordering but also how borders are staged, aestheticized, rehearsed, represented, and ultimately legitimised maintained or challenged”

(Sandra Noeth Quotations, from CREATE (National Development Agency for Collaborative Arts, Ireland), News/May 2017, Sandra Noeth on “Bodies, Borders and Movement” an interview with Deirdre Mulrooney)

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Photo: Lygia Clark in her studio working on Arquitetura biológica II (Biologic architecture II). Cité internationale des arts, Paris, 1969. Photo credit: Alécio de Andrade. Courtesy Associação Cultural “O Mundo de Lygia Clark,” Rio de Janeiro

The Brazilian artist Lygia Clark (1920-1988) encouraged the formation of art objects to enhance physical encounters and social communication. Her legacy offers significant contributions to art therapy, arts and health and socially engaged art. In essence her psychoanalytic explorations were re-produced within artworks that became animate through physical manipulation by others. Her psychological interests were aimed at dissolving both personal and social boundaries. Through sensory engagement and embodied interactions, Clark created experiences that brought bodies and minds together in unique ways. She choreographed relationships between strangers, who came in contact with each other through propositions for movement that directed the possibilities of working with collaborative materials. Clark produced relational objects to be inhabited, and to use as a means of communicating beyond language.

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Photo: Lygia Clark’s proposition Rede de elásticos (Elastic net), 1974. Shown in use, in Paris, in 1974. Courtesy Associação Cultural “O Mundo de Lygia Clark,” Rio de Janeiro.

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Photo: Lygia Clark’s proposition Camisa de força (Straitjacket), 1969. Shown in use, probably in Paris, in 1969. Courtesy Associação Cultural “O Mundode Lygia Clark,” Rio de Janeiro.

We transport ourselves into the happening of Clark’s art in order to unfold our inhibitions. Her artworks unleash a desire to expand, to enter into a communion with others as a kind of collective release. She exposes an archetypal unconscious that seeks exposure, contact, and performance. We are not meant to view Lygia Clark’s artworks as objects, but as routes into our own subjectivity. Clark’s kinetic sculptures beckon ritual readjustment, a chance to impose sensation and to create our own experience. She offers us an opportunity to make more of ourselves, by giving us a chance to reveal and to occupy public space in a fuller way. Rather than inhabiting limitation, her propositions extend us outwards. As a consequence we connect with additional dynamics of our personal and social environments. Clark invites us to extend our identities and physicality into new dimensions as an antidote to repression. As a result we become not the spectator, but the spectacle that brings people together.

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Photos: Art Therapy Constructions as Movement Duets Inspired by Lygia Clark

References

1. The World of Lygia Clark

http://www.lygiaclark.org.br/noticiaING.asp

2. The Museum of Modern Art, New York

Lygia Clark: The Abandonment of Art, 1948–1988
May 10–August 24, 2014

http://www.moma.org/visit/calendar/exhibitions/1462

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Photo: Asheville Butoh Dance Theatre

Illustration: Merce Cunningham, Space Plan for Dance

Choreograph (v.): to arrange relations between bodies
in time and space
Choreography (v.): act of framing relations between bodies;
“a way of seeing the world”
Choreography (n.): result of any of these actions
Choreography (n.): a dynamic constellation of any kind,
consciously created or not, self-organising or super-imposed
Choreography (n.): order observed . . ., exchange of forces;
a process that has an observable or observed embodied order
Choreograph (v.): to recognize such an order
Choreography (v.): act of interfering with or negotiating
such an order

(Book of Recommendations, A Manifesto on Choreography by Michael Klien, Steve Valk and Jeffrey Gormly http://www.michaelklien.com)

Michael Klien was the artistic director of Daghdha Dance Company in Limerick from 2003-2011.  In 2012 he became the founder of the Institute of Social Choreography in Frankfurt. Klien proposes that the aesthetics of social change can be achieved through choreography as a catalyst for actions that re-negotiate communication through states of embodiment. Making contact with others, and our surroundings, through active physicality re-orders perspective and context. Through interrogating social structures that regulate physical and psychological states of being, desire can be released through choreography as a form of inter-personal and environmental re-adjustment.

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Photo: Perfect Flat Circle, Katrina Brown

Art therapy can draw upon the ideas of social choreography as a way to infuse the desiring body into therapeutic space. The social relations of psychotherapy must not only be talked about (or drawn out), but also be re-sculpted through the ways in which space is occupied and dynamically lived. The aim is to infuse movement with affect, thought and sensation.

Activating art therapy within the thresholds of physical experience is letting go of art therapy’s propensity towards order and containment. The dynamics of change are an essential aesthetic component of art therapy practice, and reside within the illustrations of movement as they manifest between therapeutic participants and art media. Art therapy evokes an ecology of circumstances, situations within which to explore movement inwards and outwards into the exteriors of personal and shared space. It is this combination, and the urge to process experience, that makes art therapy a somatic performance that marks out mobile forces of representation. The body is the living artwork, and imprints materials with surges of evocation that might be marks on paper, but equally can be made into sculptural forms that inhabit the art therapy studio. Ultimately, this instinctive choreography may result in redesigning the art therapy space through movement patterns that mark out paths of what Klien terms “ungovernable moments.”

All choreographies are the outcome of lengthy periods of research, so-called Field Studies. They are rigorous, poetic artefacts that aspire to engage ‘the unkown’, observational and reflective realms offered to the audience to sense reality beyond rationality and purpose….They change and grow whenever performed or situated; they are cradles of relations—‘organisms’—interacting with the world, affecting and being affected. (Michael Klien, http://www.michaelklien.com)

References:

Michael Klien, http://www.michaelklien.com

Book of Recommendations: Choreography as an Aesthetics of Change by Michael Klien, Steve Valk and Jeffrey Gormly on http://www.michaelklien.com

Sensingsite: Materialities of Landscape and Place http://sensingsite.blogspot.ie/2013/10/perfect-flat-circle-katrina-brown.html