As those of you who were at the session last month recall, the focus of our next discussion will turn towards a single book, the 1974 NSCAD Press publication entitled Handbook in Motion by Simone Forti.
With the current edition of If I Can’t Dance upon affect concluding next month, this will be the final session of the reading group for the moment. We began our time together last autumn with a survey of the writing I encountered while attending the reading group in Amsterdam, and then for the remaining sessions followed a structure where writing by one of the five artists currently commissioned to develop a project by If I Can’t Dance anchored our discussions in and around the field of affect. This format begins to dissolve in the next session as we’re not reading a text by Jeremiah Day – the final commissioned artist – but rather his frequent collaborator, the American choreographer and dancer Simone Forti. An exhibition of new work by Jeremiah will open at Site Gallery in Sheffield, on March 2 and will run until April 7 of this year.
In an open text published at the beginning of the edition on affect, If I Can’t Dance asked us to understand how subjectivities are constituted in relation to the people around us, asked how emotions move between bodies, questioned what the relationship between the individual and collective body is, and also asked how intimate feeling is negotiated in the public sphere. Forti responds to all these questions via an account of an ongoing personal discourse and its manifestations in dance (the subtitle of Handbook in Motion). Handbook in Motion is a remarkable book which is part diary, part sketchbook, and part Fluxus-style score providing instructions for her choreography. Within its pages Forti locates the specificity of her own body, and in doing so produces an ongoing open invitation to future interpreters and collaborators including Jeremiah Day, you, and I.