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Singularities [Andre Lepecki] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. How does the production of performance engage with the fundamental. function of dance and performance in political and artistic debate. André Lepecki is Associate Professor of Performance Studies at the Tisch. School of the Arts. Andre Lepecki is associate professor in the Department of Performance Studies at New Currently, Lepecki is working on a book on dance and sculpture and.

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In a posthumously published fragment, written in August as a preliminary draft for what would have been the first chapter of her unfinished Introduction into Politics, Hannah Arendt makes the following observation: We know that for Arendt the notion of a true or rescued politics has always been bound, deeply, even ontologically, to the notion of freedom.

Its afterlife expresses and beckons a challenge and a provocation that are both political and kinetic — in one word, choreopolitical — a challenge we must answer. A couple of lines down in the same type- written fragment, Arendt tells us why ander is urgent that we learn how to move politically. The reason is because what is at stake is not just learning how wndre choreograph and perform a pro- test, or how to organize legislative processes and procedures.

Of course, these are not to be neglected in the business of politics, but Arendt is concerned with something else — a more fundamental, and much more precarious kind of movement. For her, what is at stake is nothing less than that most extreme danger: And we have to remember that, for Arendt, neither freedom nor the political are a given; they are not anthropologically, historically, or genetically given to the human.

It is less predicated on a subject than on a movement bewegungdefined by intersubjective action, that, moreover must be learned, rehearsed, nurtured, and above all experimented with, practiced, and experienced.

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And what is the practice that needs to be practiced in order to ensure that the political does not vanish from the world? Precisely that thing called freedom. The vanishing of the political thing from the world is the vanishing of the experience and practice of movement as freedom. In what follows, I bind together the political as the opposite of the business of politics, pol- iticians, and policy makersmovement sometimes danced, sometimes notand freedom as that about which we must gain kinetic knowledge to propose the concepts of choreopolitics and choreopolice.

I use these concepts to read three works: To address freedom as both orientation and meaning of the political, to see it constitutively tied to the figure of lepevki dancer, is pressing right now for two main reasons.

Interview with André Lepecki: What is Performance Studies? ()

Deleuze wrote this uncanny premonition in He foresaw our current predicament: Following from Arendt and Deleuze, I propose that the danger of banishing the political from the world is predicated on a double move: Such understanding of chore- ography obviously implies that, as with any system of command, choreography also implements, needs, produces, and reproduces whole systems of obedience.

As she writes in one of the fragments comprising Introduction into Politics: One may emit commands; one may hear and obey these commands. But such an exchange cannot be considered either the political function of speech or the political function of hearing. Political speech and political hearing must always remain an open movement, not of commands and their implementation as in policiesbut a movement of the political itself — crisscrossing the multitude, converging divergences, aimed at freedom.

This was a period when many of us witnessed directly or through the mediaor actively participated in, ever-increasing social and political protest movements in cities across the globe — Cairo and Lisbon; Athens and New York; Algiers and London; Madrid and Bahrain; Barcelona and Oakland; and many, many more. In the media representations of these protests, demonstrations, and occupations, as well as in the bodily experience of participating in some of them, a constant caught my attention: Facing a demonstration, the police function first of all as a movement controller.

They impose blockades, contain or channel demonstrators, disperse crowds, and sometimes even literally lift up and drag bodies around. The obvious choreographic mastery found in police deployment prompts the question: What are the relations between political demonstrations as expressions of freedom, and police counter-moves as implementations of obedience? What are the relations between choreopolitics and choreopolicing?


On our way to freedom, on our way to the kinetics of the political, our first step will be toward the concept of choreopolicing.

Just as a choreographer in the stu- dio asks a dancer to go to a place, to stay there for a few minutes, or to move about in specific ways, the police do exactly the same. What I find both interesting and disturbing, is that the police always succeed.

In a video documentation of the event, shown as part of the archive on dance and llepecki arts of adnre exhibition Move: Choreographing You at the Hayward Gallery inwe can see a clearly annoyed spectator, a disabled man on his battery-powered wheelchair, resisting orders to move somewhere else.

One of the mounted police approaches him and asks: He gestures more forcefully, pointing to where the man must go: Finally, the man gives up and goes to where the policeman commands Tate Modern Indeed, the frame of the museum offers a buffer zone between actual and forceful implementation of control by the mounted police and possible audience resistance.

The issuing of commands and imperatives, which J. It is conceivable that someone might have wanted to use the safe context of art, the safety of the museum, of the Tate Modern, of representation, to experiment with enacting rebellion or protest against the mounted police.

It is conceivable that someone might have wanted to play with the police. Commenting on the generalized conformity, Bruguera says: Perhaps it may be that what the work truly reveals is not the art of controlling behavior by the police, but the already con- trolled behavior of the public — that introjection of control Deleuze diagnosed.

In other words, the police is a function of power which is the very opposite of the political. What does it do? This is what the police have done, and keep doing: A kinetic theory of police: It asserts that the space for circulating is nothing but the space of circulation. The police then needs not be embodied in the cop.

As ander political-theoretical concept the police is that which is pregiven in the circulatory organization of the polis as what predeter- mines pathways, establishes routes for circulation, and fits both into one single mode of being. In that sense it does not hail.

And by doing so the police guarantees that as long as everyone moves and circulates in accord with a general conformity of being-in- circulation, this movement will produce nothing other than a mere spectacle of its own con- sensual mobility. The purpose of choreopolicing, then, is to de-mobilize political action by means of implementing a certain kind of movement that prevents any formation and expression of the political.

Choreopoliced movement can thus be defined as any movement incapable of breaking the endless reproduction of anndre imposed circulation of consensual subjectivity, where to be is to fit a prechoreographed pattern of circulation, corporeality, and belonging. The essence of the police lies in a partition of the sensible that is characterized by the absence of void and of supplement: In this matching oepecki functions, places and ways of being, there is no place for any void.

It is through such dynamics that, even without a cop in sight, a daily choreography of con- formity emerges, even sndre so-called free or open societies. Choreography is introjected as a policed lrpecki of quotidian consensus. Police choreography, police dynamics, police kinetics. I would like to qualify this subject, appearing away from preassigned modes and spaces of circulation, as the political subject.

Its appearance results from its excessiveness and unforeseen mode of reclaiming spaces for mobility. I venture that the particular political subject that transforms spaces of circulation into spaces of freedom has a specific name: It is the dancer who, in the most policed, controlled spaces say even in the tightest of choreographic scoreshas the potential to activate the appearing not necessarily of a subject, but of the highly mobile political thing.

In the rain, standing at the corner as cars pass by, the contemporary polis is presented as basically being con- stituted by two major distributions of movement: Patrol car and dancers hold still for a few moments.


Then finally the patrol car slowly turns the corner and disappears from the frame. It is important to note that the cam- era, shooting from far away, works here as a documentary device: The film, despite being documentary in its essence, is heavily edited in postproduction.

In this film of TURF dancing, editing becomes an extension of the choreography. There ajdre a kind of dissensual amalgamation of physiology and the digital image in TURF dance. The first chords of the soundtrack are heard, then the police car is gone. His footwork is as light as it is baroque, as fluid as broken-down. After pirouetting, popping, spinning, locking, sliding on the wet sidewalk, No Noize moves decidedly into the traffic lane, and he takes an elegant pose: Half deferential nobleman, half bullfighter dodging a direct charge, he sets himself right in the middle of the road, and as he sustains his pose and stays put, kepecki forces a car to divert from its path to go around him.

Returning to the sidewalk, No Noize starts a brief pas-de-deux with Man. No Noize then stops dancing. It is as if he has passed to Man the movement he ini- tiated. During his turn to dance, Man also steps out of the proper space of pedestrian circula- tion and invades the road, dancing in the rain, messing with the traffic lane.

The dance goes on. Man enchains a series of virtuosic glides and slides, sometimes collapsing in virtuosic splits only to spring back up again to a standing position. He returns to the sidewalk. He stops dancing as across the street in the opposite corner, BJ picks up the motion.

Throughout the whole video, each time one lelecki stops, another picks up the movement. Movement becomes an invisible force being tossed around, moving from body to body, a kind of affective transmission, animating one dancer at a time. It is political because it is doubly against the police: We see, at the corner of MacArthur Boulevard and 90th Avenue, in this dancing in the rain against traffic and against all sorts of policing, the emergence, transmission, and activation of a choreopolitical movement.

Choreographic planning is crucial because, as I mentioned earlier, the political is not a given to the subject, it is not even a given of the human species. Rather, it is a social and personal force and a promise that must be built with others, must be set into relation, and must be dared, collectively, into existence.

Once in existence, it has to be learned, sustained, and experimented with. Lest it dis- appear from the world.

It follows that if the political is not a given, if it needs to be re discovered and re produced, then the political is always a kind of experimentation. It comes into the world through the expe- rience of experimenting.

Thus planning, programming, and experimentation always corporeal, always social, as Deleuze and Guattari insist become synonyms of choreography, which can now be defined as the necessary minimal condition of sociality so that 1 the political may appear in the world; 2 the political may move across agents, short-circuiting policed systems of obedience and command; and 3 the political may surface, persist, and be performed thanks to choreographic planning.

This link of choreography and the practice of freedom is counterintuitive thanks to the persistent misunderstanding that aligns choreography with imperatives and commands. Choreography as a planned, dissensual, and nonpoliced disposition of motions and bodies becomes the condition of possi- bility for the political to emerge.

I conclude by invoking a recent work in which the task of the dancer demonstrates the capacity for political rupturing not by dismantling choreography, but by insisting on remaining within choreography, by persisting to endure the actualization of its plan. Mannarino opens her arms, goes up on demi-pointe, and starts to revolve in circles. She will do this for the entire piece.