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 it’s 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.
Feminist, antiracist, and postcolonial discourses and struggles are not only directed to the attainment of specific short- and long-term goals; they, too, are as immersed in temporality as they are in corporeality. They are immersed in duration because bodily existence is endurance, the prolongation of the present into the future. Political and cultural struggles are all, in some sense, directed to bringing into existence futures that dislocate themselves from the dominant tendencies and forces of the present. They are all about making the future different from the past and present, in rupturing the continuity of processes through the upheaval posed by events. They are about inducing the untimely. The more clearly we understand our temporal location as beings who straddle the past and the future without the security of a stable and abiding present, the more mobile our possibilities are, and the more transformation becomes conceivable.
– Elizabeth Grosz, The Nick of Time: Politics, Evolution, and the Untimely, 2004.