Edition VI – Event and Duration

      Leonor Antunes, Erin Alexa Freedman and Lili Huston-Herterich, Alex Martinis Roe, Fred Moten and Wu Tsang, Peter Pál Pelbart, Naufus Ramírez-Figueroa, Joke Robaard, Vivian Ziherl
    2. For Edition VI (2015–2016), If I Can’t Dance takes the notion of ‘Event and Duration’ as the field of research for its biannual programme of Commissions, Performance in Residence projects, reading groups, seminars and workshops. This field of research will be pursued across each of these programme strands in an open manner to consider its philosophical and theoretical concerns, as well as its relation to contemporary art and performance practices.

      Referencing modes of time, If I Can’t Dance’s interest in ‘Event and Duration’ emerges from an acknowledgement that bodies, living and nonliving, are spatial and temporal beings. This moves from Edition V – Appropriation and Dedication (2013–2014), and its rereading of the artistic strategy of appropriation as an act based on connecting, acknowledging and being porous to material. Extending these considerations of the subject and object within the conditions of time and space, for Edition VI, ‘Event and Duration’ will be thought through in terms of lived relations, movement, encounter, and experience. Through this we hope to open onto questions of political change and potential futures.

      Edition VI – Event and Duration, also marks ten years of If I Can’t Dance, and thus the thematic resonates with the temporal and spatial structure that has defined its operation. This is typified in the quote borrowed from artist Hanne Darboven to describe If I Can't Dance’s activity, and in which she describes her own practice as “contemplation, interrupted by action.” For Edition VI, If I Can’t Dance continues its commitment to long-term enquiry with artists, using the model of collaborative working from the theatre by investing in an elaborated programme that develops through its very enactment, at each event and each location, over time.

      To celebrate If I Can’t Dance’s ten years, a monthly Dancing Group will also be hosted in Amsterdam from January 2016. In doing so If I Can't Dance would like to acknowledge Emma Goldman’s famous quote, “If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be part of your revolution” from which we take our name and continue to draw inspiration in order to explore the critical and celebratory dimensions in contemporary performance, curatorial and theoretical practices.


      For Edition VI – Event and Duration, the programme of Commissions includes the production and presentation of new work by artists Leonor Antunes, Alex Martinis Roe, Naufus Ramírez-Figueroa, and Joke Robaard. If I Can’t Dance also continues its Performance in Residence programme, approaching performance-related practice through production-led research, with four new projects by Erin Alexa Freedman and Lili Huston-Herterich, Fred Moten, Peter Pál Pelbart, and Vivian Ziherl. Each of these projects will follow their own individual trajectory across the two years of Edition VI, and will be illuminated by, as well as depart from, the field of research where relevant.

      Within the Commissions, Leonor Antunes will produce a new sculptural-installation that considers the latent performativity of her practice and the effects of time and site on materials; Alex Martinis Roe is establishing a network of practitioners to develop and perform a number of new feminist political practices that will become the subject and methodology for a film; Naufus Ramírez-Figueroa will create a cycle of performances that attempt to exhaust the Guatemalan Civil War (1960–96) as a subject for his work; and Joke Robaard will open up her archive of photographs collected from fashion magazines and other media in order to read the historical, political and social information contained within them through workshops and a new film.

      For the Performance in Residence research projects, curator Erin Freedman and artist and curator Lili Huston-Herterich will create an expanded version of an archive for Toronto’s 1983 watershed exhibition Chromaliving: New Designs for Living; poet and scholar Fred Moten, and artist Wu Tsang, will attempt to unbind the form of the book and fracture the lecture so it can be moved through; philosopher Peter Pál Pelbart will create a new work departing from his involvement in the Ueinzz Theatre Company based in São Paulo; and curator Vivian Ziherl will work with and translate an act from the unpublished manuscript of a play about the general strike, written by Dutch poet and socialist Henriette Roland Holst, in 1925.

      The Commission and Performance in Residence projects will be brought together and presented to the public in Amsterdam on two occasions, an introductory event on Sunday 24 January 2016, and a concluding presentation at the end of 2016 as a continuation of Edition V – Appropriation and Dedication’s Performance Days.

      In If I Can’t Dance’s monthly Reading Groups, Edition VI’s field of research will be advanced in the company of a diverse group of practitioners in Amsterdam, and Sister Reading Groups in New York, Toronto and São Paulo. The Amsterdam Reading Group is currently led by Susan Gibb, and is hosted at the If I Can’t Dance Westerdok offices. In New York City the group is lead by Kelly Kivland, in São Paulo by Daniela Castro, and in Toronto by Jacob Korczynski.

      To celebrate If I Can’t Dance’s ten years, a monthly Dancing Group will also be inaugurated in January 2016, and will be held at Veem House of Performance in Amsterdam throughout the year. The Dancing Group will gather together people from inside and outside the field of contemporary art who are interested in dancing together, and will be led by the choreographer Michele Rizzo, who will extend his interest in club dancing by devising a new choreography that the group will be invited to learn and interpret.

      In Edition VI – Event and Duration, If I Can’t Dance also continues its long-term educational partnership with the Dutch Art Institute/ArtEZ MFA in Arnhem through a workshop led by the artist Jon Mikel Euba, and marks a new collaboration with the SNDO – School of New Dance Development in Amsterdam, where If I Can’t Dance will teach courses on Curating and Performance to the second, third and fourth years of its programme.

      Edition VI – Event and Duration is curated by Frédérique Bergholtz and Susan Gibb.

      The programme of If I Can't Dance is supported by the Mondriaan Fund, the municipality of Amsterdam, the Creative Europe programme of the European Union, and Ammodo.

      If I Can't Dance,
      I Don't Want to Be Part of
      Your Revolution