PaKT: Performance as method toward Knowledge and Transmission
One year research project
Image: Taipei artist village (TW)
How can performance be understood as a research method? The multimodal and ephemeral nature of performance (with its sensory and physical nature) is difficult to capture in a discourse of knowledge and research. Yet that is the task facing many an artistic researcher. Which and what kind of knowledge is activated, transmitted, modified, deepened? Which aspects relating to content and practice, to know-that and know-how, to implicit and explicit knowledge, does artistic creation provide? Which multimodal knowledge aspects does the artistic creation want to offer and which of these are received (by the listener or participant)? In what way can this knowledge be (re)transmitted? In what way can this knowledge be explained (e.g. discursively, analytically, artistically, through performance...)?
To these questions, researcher Yasen Vasilev tries to respond through A Score for an Empty Swimming Pool: a movement research trajectory exploring the possibility to form a collective body from the bodies of ten or more individual performers of various backgrounds and abilities.
The practice is informed and inspired by the many-headed slime (also known as the slime mold, the blob, or physarum polycephalum), a complex unicellular organism which doesn’t have a brain or central nervous system but is able to take decisions, develop strategies and remember.
While in permanent physical touch, the performers try to feel their bodies as extensions of one another, to coordinate thoughts, actions, and movements, to find new approaches to touch, to negotiate collective decision-making and re-distribute agency.
A series of public workshops will be conducted for local participants in different locations with the questions at the core of the research explored from an embodied dramaturgical perspective. Balancing between physical practice and critical discourse, the material is not subjugated to the concept and rather the physical experience guides the direction of the research.
Egle Sabaliauskaite, Jauno teatro dienos festival (LT)
Yasen Vasilev lives between Brussels and Sofia and works internationally in the field of contemporary dance and performance with dance dramaturgy, critical writing and artistic research.
NUTRICULA, a physical solo in collaboration with Kwame Boafo from 2015 in Shanghai, focused on testing and re-imagining the limits of the body. IMPOSSIBLE ACTIONS, a group performance, developed in 2019 in Taipei and presented internationally, shifted the focus on the dynamics between the individual and the group. His current research deals with the distribution of agency within a collective body. In 2023 he is artist in residence at Akademie Schloss Solitude (Stuttgart, Germany).
Yasen is also active on the topic of working conditions in the frame of different initiatives, most recently Kunstenpunt’s A Fair New Idea where he co-authored a Letter for transnational fair practice, and is a regular contributor for Springback magazine.