Some Bodies: Distance, separation and ambivalence in Nicola Conibere's Assembly

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In this article, Nicola Conibere discusses her choreographic work Assembly, in relation to questions of proximity. The article considers the ways in which the work’s choreographic structure works with articulating distance and individual separation to incur the affective potentials of bodies. This structure works with a kind of hybrid aesthetics of the art gallery and the theatre by drawing on established viewing conventions from both. The development of Assembly responded to discussions of the politics of performance spectatorship as they pertain to notions of publics. Seeking to avoid the binary of the passive as separation from knowledge, versus the active as invigorating community, it embraces the critical perspective offered by theatricality’s inherent separation and the unique possibilities of the choreographic to explore the generative capacities of bodies. Some Bodies: Distance, Separation and Ambivalence in Nicola Conibere’s Assembly discusses how the author engaged choreography to ask what else a gathering of bodies does than serve normative narratives about communities or publics. It calls on the choreographic for its capacity to put distance between existing terms and images of social organisation in order to enter a realm of potentials. The article reflects on how public presentations of the piece, including a range of spectatorial responses, met with these intentions and interests in its creation. Assembly’s enquiry began by interrogating certain political characteristics of spectatorship. It led to a range of spectatorial responses that suggest an encounter with ethics. Ultimately it argues that the piece proposes the undecidability of collective action, inherent to which is an offer to be vulnerable to one another.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-84
Number of pages8
JournalPerformance Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 21 Sept 2017

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