Logo of the Hebbel am Ufer

Jens R. Giersdorf

Choreographic Agency


Part of "Violence of Inscriptions #3"

The unescapable impact of radically changing global politics on individual and collective physicalities demands to see agency as strategically and temporarily located, rather than a centralized or decentralized locus of power. Past and recent political and cultural shifts thus ask from us to comprehend the ontological and epistemological potential of “in- between- ness”— the being between political sys¬tems, between discursive traditions (e.g. continental universalism versus US identitarian politics), between different national construc¬tions of dance practice and theory, and between the disciplined social body and its breakdown in moments of instinctual and autonomic physical response to violent imprinting. In- between- ness allows not so much a co- presence of different positions, but most importantly refuses to be inhabited. In other words, the temporariness of a stable position and hence the potential of in- between- ness destabilize agency. This raises the follow¬ing questions: When one works against or inside a dominant system and that system violently collapses, can there really be a momentary opportunity for the reinvention of agency itself? Or does the collapse leave only room for other agents to rush in and occupy the empty space, thus canceling out the potential for a momentary state of in- between- ness? What does agency become after the collapse has yielded change? What is thus the price for evacuating the center or dispelling the myth of the inherent democratic value of collective decentralization? And what is the role of choreography in response to these questions?