With the Institut des Croisements, choreographer, dancer and curator Arkadi Zaides unfolds a continuing engagement in human rights issues. His research-based art practice thinks through the entanglement of politics and the ways bodies (are allowed to) move. In 2017, Zaides embarked on the long-term performance project Necropolis, considering the movements of people who are systematically and brutally stopped by border policies, highlighting the choreography that occurs in the social sphere. The performance project entails a documentary approach to the contemporary geopolitical reality of migration. Rather than providing a coherent, consistent analysis of the performance Necropolis, this text testifies of a co-production of knowledge from within the research-based, long durational performance project of Necropolis, and its many off-springs, such as the NecropolisLAB and the continuously constituted virtual city of the dead called NECROPOLIS. Rather than writing “about” an art practice, this text came into being in collaboration with an art practice. As another process of knowledge production is at stake, this text is not single-authored, but rather presents a hybrid constellation of different voices from within the collaborative process itself.
Space facilitates the disjuncture of the multiple levels of consciousness, which are threaded through and entangled with one another. The daily dose of bedroom meditation might give awareness to our bodies; Christmas dining tables could remind us of familial bonds or their shackles; and, in theatre events, we become more attuned to the communal consciousness either in traditional auditoriums or in pop-up theatres in aircraft hangars, parking lots, and city streets. When situated in a specific space, any one of the onto-epistemological circles of consciousness is activated, highlighted, reiterated, and brought to the fore. After 7 April 2020, however, when the emergency stay-at-home order was declared by the Japanese government, the taxonomies of space, which in turn gave space to different modes of consciousness, were flattened to a single unit of quarantine “spacetimemattering” (Barad 146).
The interest and literature within performance theory on the topic of the “nonhuman” is steadily growing (Read, 2000; Ridout, 2006; Knowles, 2013; Orozco, 2013; Parker- Starbuck, 2019), but its question is still mostly concerned with “what to do and how to do it in relation to the nonhuman” (Parker Starbuck xi). Considering Donna Haraway’s (2016) call for sympoiesis, for more-than-human world-making, it seems crucial to examine nonhumans not only as relating objects but fundamentally as co-creators in performance practice. To rephrase Parker Starbuck’s question: how to do with the nonhuman? That seems even more important given that the theorization of contemporary collaborative performance practices cannot be reduced to the analysis of modes of work along lines of division (and hierarchies) between actors, directors, set designers, and so on but calls instead for an “expanded definition of collaboration” (Cull Ó Maoilearca 102) — one that eventually also entails raising the question of the role of nonhuman beings in collaborative art making. Thus, it is important to address the ways nonhuman animals, (live) matter, and plants shape and influence artistic processes and the ways nonhumans become co-creators of performance practices and problematize notions of collaboration. As well as the impact of nonhuman collaborations to our understanding of human-nonhuman relations. We, as performance scholars and practitioners, find it important to analyze, map and trace nonhuman collaboration.
The proposition is this: four ‘performance writers’, each with their distinctive practice, use the digital and material page as a space for collaborative performance-making and cooperative thinking.
We enter the page as studio. Page as interval. Page as middle and entrance and ending and overlap. We approach writing as dancing (Pollitt). As continuation, as doing, as inside renderings
of emergent score, tone, and timing.
In this way, rather than writing about another process of performance-making, the writing itself becomes a process of collaborative making, at the same time as it reflects on making collaboration.
As remote practitioners attending through the digitas, we encompass the griefs, gifts, and challenges encountered during a time of global pandemic. We oscillate through alternate time zones to form and reassemble, perform our ensemble, with new currencies of