We are pleased to announce that the project How We Behave, curated by Grant Watson and commissioned by If I Can't Dance, will be presented at Nottingham Contemporary during the coming week. The exhibition is accompanied by an afternoon seminar with various guests that took part in the project and its making.
How We Behave is inspired by an interview of the same name with Michel Foucault published in Vanity Fair in 1983, in which Foucault asked – why can’t life be ‘the material for a work of art?’ In more than fifty interviews, conducted in New York, São Paulo, Los Angeles, San Francisco, London and Amsterdam, the project explores how people shape their lives. The interviews focus on people’s behaviour – how they work on themselves, how they reflect on their lives and their relationships to others. Presented is a selection of these filmed portraits shown alongside material relating to the overall project, which will provide the setting for discussion on Foucault’s concept of life as a work of art.
A seminar on 10 January explores this concept through a screening of specially selected excerpts from the interviews and responses by project curator Grant Watson and guests Frédérique Bergholtz, David Dibosa, Christian Nyampeta, Jean Matthee, Dr Massimiliano Mollona, and Emily Pethick. Admission is free, reservations required with Nottingham Contemporary.
How We Behave has also resulted in a recently published publication that includes a research essay by Watson introducing notions of 'care of the self' and reflecting upon its resonance across the interviews, the original Vanity Fair interview, new interviews with Paul Rabinow and Leo Bersani, as well as images of the interview subjects. The publication is designed by Will Holder and published by If I Can't Dance and was launched during the Performance Days in Amsterdam last November. It costs €15,00,– and can be ordered from email@example.com.
How We Behave is a project by Grant Watson, commissioned by If I Can't Dance as part of Edition V (2013–2014) and funded by the Mondriaan Fund and the Arts Council of England, the latter in partnership with Nottingham Contemporary and Showroom London. If I Can't Dance and Grant Watson would like to express their gratitude to all interviewees, as well as to Studium Generale Rietveld Academie (Amsterdam), The Kitchen (New York), Casa do Povo and NUCLEO (São Paulo), Roski School of Arts (USC), Human Resources and GuestHaus Residency (Los Angeles), The Showroom (London), Wysing Arts Centre (Cambridge), and CCA Wattis (San Francisco).
The programme of If I Can't Dance is supported by the Mondriaan Fund, the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union and the municipality of Amsterdam. If I Can't Dance is a member of Corpus and Performance Platform.