Dancing with Castoriadis: disrupting the corporeal imaginary

Kampe, T (2015) Dancing with Castoriadis: disrupting the corporeal imaginary. In: Cut & Paste: Dance Advocacy in the Age of Austerity - 39th Annual Conference of SDHS / 46th Annual Conference of CORD, 4 - 7 June 2015, Hellenic Cosmos & Michael Cacoyannis Foundation, Athens, Greece.


This presentation investigates the potential of touch-based somatic educational and improvisational dance practices for criticality and alternative world-making. It weaves critical praxis and thinking emerging from The Feldenkrais Method (FM) and Contact Improvisation (CI) into the world of Greek-born social-theorist and psychoanalyst Cornelius Castoriadis (1922-1997). His writings on autonomous societies, self-creation, the radical human imagination and the Social Imaginary, are set against questions regarding the construction of a shared alternative corporeal imaginary through Feldenkrais-informed CI practices. The author met and danced with Castoriadis during a CI-laboratory on the Greek Island of Tinos in 1994. The presentation also draws from interviews with participants of practice-led research undertaken in 2010, and from the work of Sicilian arts-activist collective Dance Attack. Their anti-capitalist urban subversive performance-interventions emerged from soma/site-choreographic workshops undertaken with the author between 2008 and 2011. Dance Attack’s collective performance-disruptions in the cities of Catania and Palermo included embodied interventions amongst cars in traffic jams, ritualised strip-shows in and around shopping centres, and the re-claiming of public spaces through horticultural guerrilla activities in collaboration with local communities. The paper departs from Feldenkrais’ critical notions of de-conditioning the contemporary individual through thoughtful-doing as embodied enquiry, towards an ontological questioning of the cognitive closure of the human being through ecological perspectives found in the work of Castoriadis, his collaborator Edgar Morin (b.1926), Moshe Feldenkrais (1904-1984), and the shared emerging wisdom within CI. Autopoiesis, understood as self-creation and organismic desiring relationality, emerging from thinking of Francesco Varela (1946-2001), is proposed as biological paradigm informing CI, FM and Castoriadis’ thinking. By interpreting CI as an emancipatory and critical process of embodied social re-imagining the author aims to ask questions towards the constructing of dance practice that challenges dominant social imaginaries of being in the world.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Lecture)
Keywords: Autopoiesis; Dance Attack Catania, Arts Activism, Somatic Practices; Feldenkrais Method; Contact Improvisation; Social Imaginary; Emancipatory Pedagogies; Social Choreography
Divisions: College of Liberal Arts
Date Deposited: 13 Jul 2017 10:19
Last Modified: 13 Jul 2017 10:19
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