The Last Dance Meets The Last Repast

The Politics of the Unconscious: HYSTERIA, SURREALISM, & AVANT-GARDE DANCE

Our Guide: Marija Krtolica
Winter 2019 Version

Presentation with discussion
The talk examines the historico-political relationships between: the psychiatric transformation of madness into mental illness, the psychoanalytic discovery of the unconscious, the surrealist anti-psychiatric art, and dance-theater’s embodied expression stripped of narrative development. Hysteria as one of the most theatrical of mental illnesses, presents a point of departure for a discussion of the ways in which since modernism the artists resisted psychiatric diagnosis based on a reductive reading of symptoms. The talk will place the artistic explorations from modernism and post-modernism in a dialogue with the ideas from Lacanian psychoanalysis.

Performance: Theorizing Symptomatic Expression
Group movement improvisation:  Hystero-Grotesque Mode

A surreal meal à la Dalí will be served

Theorizing Symptomatic Expression

“The jaws of my mind are in perpetual motion.
The sensual intelligence housed in the tabernacle of my palate
beckons me to pay greatest attention to food.
I only like to eat what has a clear and intelligible form.”
—Salvador Dali, Gastro Esthetics

“The spectacle corresponds to the historical moment at which
the commodity completes the colonization of social life.”
—Guy Debord, Society of the Spectacle

MARIJA KRTOLICA (b. 1973, Belgrade) is an international movement artist, dance researcher and teacher (BFA NYU, MFA UC Davis, MA NYU, PhD, Dance,Temple University). Her current research focuses on the meanings and symptoms of hysteria in the nineteenth century, and critical re-investigation of hysterical scenes in Tanztheater. At the artistic residence in Spread Art in Detroit, the University of Arts, Belgrade, and at the Le Couvent artistic residence in Auzits, France.

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The Politics of the Unconscious: Last Session

Hysteria, Surrealism, and Avant-Garde Dance
Marija Krtolica
October 1, 2017, 2:00 to 4:00 pm

Through theory and practice we will examine the psychoanalytic concept of the unconscious in the late 19th to 20th century. Starting with the fin-de-siècle Parisian hospital Salpêtrière, we will touch upon the historical resonances of the invention of mental pathology, and aesthetic forms that resonance has instigated. On September 17 we will look at the images of the mental patients of this period, many of which challenge the boundary between artistic representation and medical documentation. Next, we will examine the political meanings of Dadaist and Surrealist art, film and poetry and discuss grotesque dances by Valeska Gert (Weimar Era), and dance-theater of Pina Bausch and Mats Ek (1970s-80s). On the one hand, we will explore how the aesthetic de-hierarchization and commodity culture inform our practices as witnesses and makers. On the other, we will open up the concept of the unconscious and re-create it through imaginative practices. Performance practices will be related to the texts by Gilles Deleuze and Jacques Rancière.

Marija Krtolica (b. 1973, Belgrade) is an international movement artist, dance researcher and teacher (BFA NYU, MFA UC Davis, MA NYU, completing PhD in dance at Temple University in Philadelphia). Her current research focuses on the meanings and symptoms of hysteria in the nineteenth century, and critical re-investigation of hysterical scenes in Tanztheater. Recently, she presented papers at CUNY at Graudate Center conference Approaching Dance, NCSA Caucus in Charleston, the Department of Visual Arts conference at UCSD (2015), ACLA 2015 in Seattle, a Graduate Conference of the Department of English at the University of Chicago (2014), and Choreography Symposium at the University of Cologne (2014), At the artistic residence in Spread Art in Detroit (2015), the University of Arts Belgrade (2015), and at the Le Couvent artistic residence in Auzits, France (2016). Marija has worked with the lecture/performance mode of examining elusive boundaries between practice and theory. Marija has published papers in The International Journal of the Arts in Society (2009 and 2011), and The Journal of Arts Theory and History (2013). She has written articles and conducted interviews for the Belgrade dance publication Orchestra.

Fees are sliding scale. No one is denied participation for inability to pay.

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Fanon Black Skin, White Masks with Kazembe Balagun

A Reading and Writing Group on the Seminal Work of Frantz Fanon

With deft analysis and radical fervor, Frantz Fanon (1925-1961) was the patron saint of the revolutionary movements of the global south. As a psychiatrist and writer he played a key part in the liberation of Algeria. His seminal work Wretched of the Earth is still considered “The Handbook of Black Revolution” and influenced everyone from the Black Panthers to cultural workers like film maker Gillo Pontecorvo, Marlon Riggs and bell hooks.

This group will focus on Fanon’s first published work Black Skin, White Masks. Mixing and remixing the colonized experience with critical readings of Marx, Hegel and Lacan, Black Skin, White Masks prefigured many contemporary conversations on race, gender and sexuality.

We will read Black Skin, White Masks along with the works of Richard Wright, Karl Marx, bell hooks, G.W.F Hegel and Amiri Baraka. In addition to our reading, this group will be charged with producing their own written reflections and will present at a public symposium to take place in late 2014 or early 2015.

Kazembe Balagun has a BA in Philosophy and Black Studies from Hunter College/CUNY and a MS in Education from Pace University. He has been featured in Time Out New York, The UK Guardian, German Public Radio and the New York Times and contributed “We Be Reading Marx Where We From” to the critically acclaimed anthology Imagine: Living in a Socialist USA. As a cultural activist he has continually sought to create intersections between Marxism, queer theory, feminism and Black liberation movements. He works as Project Manager at the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung, New York Office.

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