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27 mars, 2012

Arena Baubo har en föreläsningsserie med det elaborerade namnet ”Arena Baubo proudly post/non/re/present: Baubo – the cunt, the myth, the legend” på Stockholms Universitet under våren 2012 (sista är 16/4, så skynda fynda!). Till varje seminarium bjuder de in en utomstående konstnär som uppmanas att icke-dokumentera händelsen, eller typ, dokumentera det som händer i skarvarna, i det som inte ryms eller sådär.

På sin blogg arbetar de själva med samma koncept, och där ska nog dokumentationen så småningom upp också.

I alla fall, jag dokumenterade 12/3 då det var tema ”The Explicit Body in Performance”. Samtalet handlade om feministisk performance i den gräns/post-pornografiska tradition som etablerades under 60- och 70-tal, och hur denna har teoretiserats.  Ta en titt på min favvo-timeline om ni känner att ni behöver en uppdatering på feministisk performance-kanon.

Jag tolkade det här med icke-representation som ett tillfälle att göra något jag hållit på med en del på senaste tiden, nämligen sätta på mig ögonbindel i sociala situationer. Jag tog också med mig hörselskydd. De läckte in en del. Bland annat så här såg anteckningarna ut:

Det ingick i konceptet att lämna in dokumentationen inom mindre än en vecka (måndag-fredag), så jag tycker att det blev mer som en skiss, men såhär skrev jag i alla fall (nedladdningsbar pdf):


Texten handlar mycket om performancekonst som vill ta bort eller begränsa synen. Om någon vill göra en psykoanalytisk komparativa undersökning av verk som berör frågor kring sexualitet genom visuellt kodade praktiker och verk som berör dito frågor genom att släcka lampan så finns ytterligare fria spekulationer på tema mörker att finna på Widings blogg.

Mottar gärna själv lästips kring performance som arbetar med sinnesberövande om ni snubblar över något!


A Neutral Manifesto

5 november, 2011
  • Neutral does not take sides, it is not a political statement because it only works with pure matters of fact. Artists are like activists but neutral. If they wanted to be political they would have chosen another field of activity, because what is political it is not really art.
  • Dance is the most neutral art form because its main means of expression is the body, and the body does not represent anything, it is just real.
  • It is neutral to have a body that is soft to hug, yet can make a handstand and an arabesque. A body that can mold into anything, but quickly return to its own neutral shape. Neutral is the open body school concept, the humble middle class, the body that has not been hurt or that heals quickly.
  • The neutral body has trained a lot of release technique, which is present in its appearance and in its calm, yet very hearable, breathing.
  • A neutral dancer does not exaggerate. S/he stays close to the point 0 in Laban technique and has the expression of a Berlin dancer.
  • A neutral body is clean, without tattoos, piercings or scars. Or if there is, it must be discrete enough to pass as a small variation from a clear standard. The body is often off-white, but not so blond, with the hair-colour cendré/gris. No make-up of course.
  • The body doesn’t need clothes to be neutral as long as it presents a clear gender without pushing sexual aspects. It is neutral to be a man or a woman, or everybody shave and wear all covering leotards.
  • Neutral dancers can also come like they are, in ponytails and a sloppy outgrown what-used-to-be a proper haircut for men, in white or off-white t-shirts, in the whole collection of Lacoste colors for t-shirts, in sneakers nikers and blue jeans because its the uniform of normality, because its the symbol of a casual imperium, and last but not least because its not what you would primarily choose to move in since the cloth is not flexible. This makes it more neutral: the dancer is just like everybody else, almost a non-dancer (but not quite).
  • Even a black dress can be neutral to wear. Everything goes with black; ”the little black” is a manifestation of neutrality within the world of fashion since it impersonates the clean femininity without stating anything about class background, ethnicity or sexual preferences.
  • It is neutral when the performers fix the performance space by themselves while the audience is entering. The fixing should give an urban feeling.
  • The neutral space for theatre and dance is the black box, but used in a casual way, showing that the users are aware of the criticism towards it and thus entitled to keep it the way it is. After all, the least implying and most allowing space is the classical theatre space, since it has been used so many times it is practically emptied of meaning.
  • The neutral space for art is the white cube, and as with theatre, tradition has emptied it from disturbing political implications. The white cube is just a discrete institutional frame that makes art accessible as such. It is there in order to not create any misunderstanding about what is what, because neutral doesn’t like misunderstandings.
  • The neutral does not show any history. The neutral doesn’t express anything, but in a very clear way. It appears simultaneously as the first of something and as one in an endless mass. The neutral action is an action that has been executed so many times, ie. is so dense with history, that it cannot be distinguished as a specific historical phenomena unless if you watch it from some uncomfortable angle that no-one really wants to watch anything from.
  • Tasks involved in a neutral performance can be for example the neutral walk, the neutral position, the neutral water-drinking on stage or the neutral throw of a neutral ball; a throw that has no history and tells nothing about the thrower. On the level of physical engagement, this could mean relaxed hard work or hardworking relaxation, like having relaxed but working feet with no point and no flex.
  • It is neutral to be oneself, especially on at the front of the stage. To be oneself is to be neutral, staring into the audience with slightly horny ‘n cool looking gaze, expressing very little other emotion. It is also neutral to not exactly look but not exactly avoid them either, as if they where an unidentifiable wall of jelly.
  • It is neutral to find very organic movement phrases that are repeated without any fault, working in the oxymoron between robotic and organic: organic robot, robotic organity.
  • Making dances from the Fibonacci numbers is neutral, because it reproduces beauty that anyone can see, even if they do not know about the golden ratio. It is as neutral as it is natural, like shells and snowflakes. Consequently, it is neutral to canonize Rosas’ principles of work, but without letting it show in terms of repertory because you don’t want to be entangled in that dirty capitalist Beyonce Countdown conflict.
  • It is neutral to not feel anything specific or to not give any weight to whatever feeling might occur. To act neutral is to act without question or interpretation, postideologically and post identitically.
  • Neutral means no mysticism. There can be kitsch, but no belief in it. Charged symbols must be emptied before using.
  • Neutral doesn’t have climax, except in the case of playfully reappropriating Hollywood dramaturgy, but even then the climax happens more on the surface – the subjectivity of the performer is still kept safe, unmoved, untransformed.
  • A neutral lighting is a lightning that makes “everything” visible, yet not blinding. Just a general swash of white and yellow. It can also be neutral to let the light change in the rythm of sunset.
  • English is a neutral language and broken English is alright if it is not commented upon. It is neutral to assume that everybody speaks broken English. The vocabulary cannot include any patois, but possibly a bit of well assimilated slang. Neutral talk must have properly crossed the borders of integration: it resides where there is no longer provocation.
  • A neutral way to use English on stage is to call a practical instruction with a neutral voice tone. Like: “Jessica, can you put play to the sound? Thank you!” The sound that Jessica puts play to is hearable, still not dominating.
  • Silence can be neutral, but it is even more neutral not to insult people. The weather is the most neutral topic of conversation, it does not discriminate, this is why people love talking about the weather, they don’t want to insult anyone.
  • If there such a thing as talking neutrally to the audience, it should be done tenderly, as if the audience members were very close friends in an intimate moment. Being personal without being irreplaceable is neutral. There should be intimacy without implication, not stating, just saying…
  • The neutral performance starts around 7 pm. Welcome!

The Neutral Manifesto was written by Tova Gerge, Josefine Larson Olin, Magdalena Leite, Juan Francisco Maldonado and Helena Stenkvist as a part of the process with The 90° Project (see trailer above). Please use it to mess with dance. Thank you.

Do you have this piece in neon beige?

24 september, 2011
Neon Beige

Neon Beige

On the other side of the big atlantic we rest under the pepper trees. We play scrabble. We eat warm food three times a day. We have a new religion, a new belief system. We might even call it an ideology.

We don´t want to make a fuzz.

We wear jeans and different colored t-shirts from Lacoste.

We don´t want to start a revolution.

We speak about the weather.

We don´t take sides.

We perform with qualitative adequacy the grand battement of a ballet class.

We are able bodies without defects.

We are no super heroes.

We are not a cancer on society.

We are the corps de ballet.

We are Alex, from Switzerland.

What can we say? – Beige turns us on. It is neutral. But not the boring kind of neutral. The sexy steaming kind.

We ask us.

Can we get this piece in neon beige?

Burn After Writing

12 september, 2011

Burn After Writing

I write this text as a solo study for an imagined group piece that has the same title as an imagined exhibition. I also write this text as a piece for someone else, a performer, namely my friend and colleague Josefine Larson Olin. When she accepted to take on this position in my piece of writing, she also altered my modality of writing. Although I am still the author in terms of initiative, I cannot write without her. And although we will both take the consequences for how we structure our work, I am responsible for the outcome. One likely consequence of this is that people will perceive Josefine’s occurrence in the text as a vehicle for my thoughts and desires. Both of us can try to disturb this order in different ways, but it will still be my signature under the piece of writing, and her name in it.

The reason why I put us in this tricky relation is that I had a text commissioned by the master students of choreography at the Stockholm University of Dance and Circus. They asked me to write something about their festival Ok Show Kids Return (May 22-29 2011) that took place in four different locations around Stockholm. Six out of the seven performances in this festival were made precisely with the demand that they should function as solo studies for imagined group pieces that had the same title as imagined exhibitions.

With me and Josefine joining in, seven pieces out of eight now fill this criteria. The festival also goes on for a considerably longer period than originally planned – i.e., until this text can no longer be read. This modification of the format of the festival is our way of responding to the strive for prolongation that often comes with the wish to have someone write about or document live events. Instead of trying to capture, break down or by other means make these live events accessible after their disappearance, we wanted to address the very question of the ephemeral and the continuous in different kinds of performance. As our title Burn After Writing indicates, we are primarily thinking of the performance of writing and about in what ways the activity of writing could take on a value beyond the text that it generates. Of course, text and writing are then also to be understood as an analogy to choreography and dance, i.e. what value can the performance of dance have beyond the choreography that frames it?

Even though the seven other performances in the festival clearly influenced this piece – not least in its festival-infesting format – there are also other influences that made the theme of ephemeral writing particularly interesting to me. One is an unfortunate tendency to lose my diaries and never find them again. Another is my many experiments with creating text material through actively altering the rules that frame the writing – experiments that in their turn can be traced to a long tradition of scores for writing, most commonly exemplified by dadaist and surrealist poetry practices such as cut-up techniques and cadavre exquis.

Texts such as A Room of One’s Own (1929) by Virginia Woolf or Queer Phenomenology (2006) by Sara Ahmed also play a part. From two different points in time, Woolf and Ahmed address how writers and thinkers challenge or confirm the limits for recognition by writing through and about material conditions that are not so easily altered. As both Woolf and Ahmed point out, the recognition of a text as a text is not only about the criteria of selection set up by different social or cultural institutions. The questions of readability start already before the process of writing has taken place, and questions of this character can of course also be put by, through and to choreography. Where are the social and spacial stages for the performances of writing and dancing? Where are the material resources? Where is the subject legitimized for an authorship within those fields?

Those who, for some reason, have sufficient resources to become recognized as authors can of course stretch the scope for recognition through insisting on leaving traces of material conditions that might not fit into all legitimate categories. They can also try to undo some of the readability of their authorship by willfully introducing an element of disturbance. The latter is one of the functions I imagine that Josefine could have in this text. This by no means implies that Josefine could stop me from making this text readable – I am too much of an author for that. On the other hand, not even the author in me can stop her presence in the text from embodying the idea that writers are also practitioners inscribed in a complex sociality, and that writing is an activity that always happens outside the text.

To embody the idea of the complex sociality of writing is of course also a function that the presence of Josefine fills in this piece. And yet, this is not a process diary where me and Josefine give an exact account of how we worked together with the text. Instead, I have covered all traces of my specific ways of working with Josefine, so that the circumstances of production of this piece are present mostly through their absence. The honesty of this solution is that it mirrors the power relation that we engage in as writer and performer, as well as openly admits to the fact that we are still prioritizing perfect form and clear authorship over the process of writing, even if we indicate a possibility of something else.

To speculate in what futures an ephemeral writing could have, i.e., what is to become of the imaginary group piece and the imaginary exhibition called Burn After Writing, is one such indication. To propose any exact protocol for the future is of course risky, since it must rely on the experiences of text and writing that I and Josefine already have and thus repeat the thoughts that we can already think. But even from this figuration of hierarchical power exchange and half-hidden contextual bodies that is ours, we will propose.

In this solo piece, I use Josefine’s unclear bond to the authorship of the text as a way of underlining that the idea of putting writing persons on display or making writing a part of a performative set-up is definitely not what I am after. How it looks when one writes says very little of what it does. Rather than imagining writing as a spectacular practice, I imagine it as a relational practice, whether or not the text that results from it is read by anyone else than the writer. Even to write something that is unpublishable – unsharable, unreadable, fragile in its to and from – is to simultaneously rewrite one’s position in the social. This not only because writing culturally represents a specific act of withdrawal (and this might be a point where the analogy between writing and dancing falls apart), but even more because the writing as such structures the experience of inner and outer worlds. Writing a memory note is not only about being able to look at it later. Writing a letter is not only about who receives it. The writing is a process of inventing binding notions between fragments, choosing experiences and framing realities.

Thinking writing like this gives an opportunity to imagine how it could have priority over text, for example in a group piece and exhibition named Burn After Writing. As this title suggests, immediate destruction is a possibly useful tool if one wants to isolate the practice of writing from the traces it leaves. The destruction of text is in this sense not necessarily a memory loss or a threat to shared intelligence (as in the culturally charged image of burning books), but rather a way of getting to know something about writing that the preservation of the text would not have allowed the writer to know. The written is thus in its destruction replaced by an affirmative loss, a loss that gives back meaning to an act of writing that is all to often co-opted by the text, just like dance is frequently co-opted by choreography.

Towards the end of this solo piece, Josefine and I keep insisting on the possibilities of writing and destroying the written as two nodes of desire that can overlap and constitute each other in ways that disturb the privileges of text. In this insistence, we simultaneously criticize and reestablish our positions as writer and performer. All this said, it is too late to burn this text.

By Tova Gerge with Josefine Larson Olin

The other pieces in the festival Ok Show Kids Return were:

40 minuter by Nadja Hjorton, Chrisander Brun, Cicilia Östholm, Per Sundberg, Emelie Wahlman, Erika Thalinsson Ranhagen, Anna Strand Andersen and Elvira Roos.

Burn Your Fun by Kim Hiorthøy with Ilse Ghekiere.

We Made a Piece from Thin Air by Stina Nyberg with An Kaler.

So What by Zoë Poluch & Valentina Desideri.

One on One by Juli Reinartz in collaboration with Liz Waterhouse with Linnea Martinsson.

Gear and Tactics, You Know What It Is What It Is When We Do What We Do, To Rely with Confident Expectancy, The Precious Moments Are All Lost in The Tide, Sidestep Translation, Again and Again and Again and Again, Metaphor Motion by Rebecka Stillman in collaboration with Ulrika Berg.

The Authentic Ludvig by Uri Turkenich with Ludvig Daae.

Bermudas på Tribunalen

10 maj, 2011


Own It – Ugliness and Deconstruction,  Own It – Historical Contemporary Dance

Tillsammans har dansaren/koreografen Josefine Larson Olin och koreografen/journalisten Helena Stenkvist utvecklat ett danshistoriskt koncept, på vilket de byggt föreställningsserien Own It.

Josefine och Helena i en mun: ”Med utgångspunkt i tre koreografiska verk som influerat mig och mitt konstnärskap, är det här ett solo som använder min egen personliga kanon som gudomlig inspirationskälla. Metoder, principer och subjektivt utvalda parametrar från dessa verk utgör grunden i ett arbete som varit en kollaborativ soloprocess med Josefine Larson Olin/Helena Stenkvist. Som verktyg, musa och bitch använder jag mig även av Broder Daniel/Beyoncé”

20.30 – ca 21.30 FRI ENTRÈ


3 maj, 2011

During our research period at Weld, we did a workshop in the form of a class, strictly ruled by a script. This class script contains methods for dealing with the phenomenon of the 90° leg within a class context. Through developing a class that anyone can do, we reappropriate the 90° practices. The class is thus free to download (bermudatriangeln.wordpress.com) with the freedom to distribute, modify and perform. The strict structure of the script originates from a strive to try out different strategies for cornering the 90°. We also wanted a script that could conduct the class instead of a teacher, thus facilitating a flat hierarchical structure. The strategies that we developed our methods from were for example appropriation, somatics, meditation, togetherness, everyday usefulness, ritual, revisionism (claiming that the 90°practice originates from something else than what history has told us, in order to have a history we like better) and  hanging out (Easy like Sunday morning). Please use it!


The 90° class is an 8 step strategy for cornering the phenomenon of the 90° leg and aims to share and generate a potential context for a 90° practice.

The class will follow a strict structure, but ends with an open 90°-discussion-and-fruit moment.

90° with the leg” in this class will have two different meanings. It can mean to aim for the actual angle 90° with the leg. It can also mean the moment where each one individually have their point of maximum resistance while lifting and/or stretching the leg. We will try to specify at every occasion what 90°-concept we refer to.

2. TAG IN 90°

This exercise aims to warm up. The game works almost like Tag, but you tag with your leg. When you think you are close enough to tag someone, you scream ”90°!”, making everyone in the room freeze. The tagger can then raise their leg and tag someone who becomes the new tagger. Any of the two definitions of the 90° angle is valid. The game goes on for 6 minutes.


We develop a companionship where we can meditate on a common relation to gravity and the 90° angle. The practitioners work in pairs or smaller groups, where one person in the pair or group lets their leg rest in 90° while supported by the other/s, who take on the weight in whatever way they please. The definition of 90° used here is the actual 90° angle with the leg (or something close to it), not the resistance-definition. The person who has the leg in the 90° can actually aim to relax as much as possible. The companionship can change form in terms of roles, positions, tactics and so on, but continues for 9 minutes.


We here develop a 90°-conscience, to empower practitioners to act in the collective spirit of the 90°s and leave individualism and outer factors that initiate and conduct movement behind (except for this whole exercise instruction). We stand, walk or engage in any upright movement practice, while trying to remain attentive to each other. While feeling our togetherness we decide when to lift 90°-legs in any of the two definitions. The group may thus never lift their legs, but if they do, the idea is to do it within the same 90° definition and remain synchronized in the sense of timing, even though not necessarily in the same direction or in the same way. The exercise goes on for 9 minutes.


The aim of the massage is partly to give each other massage and partly to establish a different relation to massage, the 90° angle and to each other. We work in pairs or smaller groups. One person stands facing the wall, leaning against it. The other/s massage/s the standing person with their foot. The massage goes on for 3 minutes per massage.


The aim of the exercise is to initiate a conversation about the 90° practice that we are engaging in. The practitioners talk while standing in a group where they can hear each others voices, trying to hold a 90° leg in any direction. The definition of the 90° used here is the one where everyone individually use their point of maximum resistance while lifting and/or stretching the leg. The talk goes on for 9 minutes.


The purpose of this stretch is partly to stretch. We propose actions to each other that we consider stretches, whilst telling in what way they have a meditative function for the ancient warrior culture that the 90° practice originates from.


The class finishes with the possibility to eat fruit and talk about 90°, both in this context that we have created together and in other contexts.

90-gradersklassen/The 90° Class!

27 april, 2011

Is that a penchée you've got going behind your back or are you just happy to see me?

Nej, det är inte bikramyoga gone wild. Det är vi (Tova Gerge, Josefine Larson Olin och Helena Stenkvist) som håller en dekonstruktiv dansklass om de dominanta teknikernas fokus på att forma en specifik kropp och hävda den som funktionell och effektiv för dans. Den här klassen utgör en del av vår research för ett större projekt och behandlar de träningspraktiker som syftar till att kunna lyfta och hålla benen i 90°-vinkel eller mer. Vi vill tillsammans med er undersöka hur denna praktik historiskt fungerat och fortfarande fungerar som ett implicit kvalitetskriterium för god dans/goda dansare.

Klassen kostar inget och är öppen för alla, oavsett förkunskap. Ta med kläder som du vill röra dig i och tänka i.

Weld, Norrtullsgatan 7, kl 10.30-12.00. 2-4 maj.


No, it’s not Bikram Yoga gone wild. It’s us (Tova Gerge, Josefine Larson Olin and Helena Stenkvist) doing a deconstructive dance class based on the focus within dominant techniques on forming a specific body and claiming that this body is functional and effective for dance. The class, that is a part of the research for a bigger project, will treat the training practices that facilitate the lifting and holding of legs in a 90°-angle. Together with you we want to examine how these practices, historically and now, set up an implicit quality criteria for good dance/ good dancers.

The class is for free and is open for everyone, no previous knowledge required. Bring cloths that you want to move in and think in.

Weld, Norrtullsgatan 7, 10.30-12.00. 2th-4th of May.

see: http://www.weld.se/