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Photo’s: Joeri Thiry, STUK – Huis voor Dans, Beeld & Geluid

 

Procedure for Underground

I guess it was in a book by British neurologist Oliver Sacks that I read about a person with a neurological disorder that, while walking on the street, memorized the expressions of the faces of the people he encountered. Once in a while he would stand still and mimick all the different facial expressions he had just seen. In a very condensed form this person would mirror its immediate surrounding and shortly be a fragmented library of the various human facial expressions he had just seen.

This man sometimes came to my mind while working on Procedure for Underground, a work that started a year ago and that changed its identity from a planned singular performative work on liminality to an archive of fragments of non representative bodies and movements that are off the norm and that exist in the margin of our attention. Our collection became an archive of unease, off balance, as we were deciphering, studying and learning the movements the body makes and all it potentially could make but had never tried.

We set out to learn our bodies to be affected and accommodate. The more we learned, the more differences came into existence, more worlds, more grey zones and more ambiguity. If social presence equals emancipation, then our bodies might be able to accommodate and spread difference simply by performing this difference without the need of words. We have no intention to be complete, as it would undermine our quest. We just want to learn our and other bodies to stutter, to fail, to halter and to be lack. See this work as an invitation, as a body exercise, that one can learn and use to go underground.

Performers: Philipp Enders, Mathieu Wijdeven and Paul Hendrikse. This work was generously supported by: FLACC, Genk, Belgium, Playground Festival, Museum M and STUK, Leuven, Belgium, Stichting Stokroos, Utrecht, The Netherlands and The Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Brussels, Belgium. Objectif Exhibitions and Lokaal 01 in Antwerp, Belgium supported the work by providing rehearsal spaces.