As the year is coming to an end choreographer Aleksandar Georgiev is back at c.off for a second round of residency with the research project CO-series. This episodical research project investigates how the concepts “hologram” and “hyper” can take place as material within dance and choreography. We asked Aleksandar to share some insights from the working process which lead us to the following conversation about co-existing practices and methodology as working strategies.
Can you tell us a bit more about the questions that triggered the work process, and how your personal narrative and current artistic interest figures as a point of departure for the project?
In the last eight years I have been strongly influenced by exploring collective authorship in artistic work in the field of dance and choreography, living simultaneously in four places/contexts.
This type of functioning requires accelerated travelling dynamics and hyper‐linking strategies, (working in several directions at once through fluid connections), mostly within residency or artistic exchange formats, each of them lasting not more than a month, (whichever way they were framed: as exchange, production, research, co-production and so on). Throughout this (dis)continuity my physical presence started to vanish, while my appearance was expanding, becoming a holographic image, a substitute for oneself.
It is in this personal narrative where I found my current artistic interest. I’m triggered to investigate how the concepts “hologram” and “hyper” take place as material within dance and choreography. I want to study practices of hologram(ing) as an approach for creating appearance, presence and absence. Understanding these terms through politics of disidentification and power structures, supporting the re‐distribution of self, and shared ways of functioning, (co-existing practices).
With CO-series research I would like to propose a space where one could work “out-of” and “around” the work rather than on the “aboutness” of it. CO-series is really busy with dis-project-ifying, expanding and complexifying the notion of aboutness, making it explode so it falls apart into pieces, no longer thought as a unit, package or singular product. CO-series nurtures co-existing practices which are more focused on aroundness as an approach from where one moves on.
You are mentioning collective authorship and co-existing practices as strong influences in your work, due to extensive travels and simultaneously living in four countries. What is the differences between these two ways of organizing the work and how can it be put into practice?
I have been exploring and building flexible methods of collective authorship in my artistic work through which disagreement and non-unified understanding are embraced and promoted.
Based on my personal storyline I got triggered to explore other ways of closeness, togetherness and constructed solidarities, challenging the principles and patterns of repetitive traps which collectivity provide, such as: the responsibility and its management, identifying through common knowledge, (dis)individualization of voices and power dynamics.
Currently I’m interested in processes that are not focused on collective acceptance of differences, (collective authorship), but rather in the celebration of parallel existence and productive antagonisms, (co-existence).
These two approaches might seem similar, but I find subtle yet crucial differences between them. Even though collective authorship methods understand the notion of community as a shared and commonly respected sphere, co-existence and co-existing are the ones that deal with space as material: as a concrete sum of cultural, political and economic circumstances; expanding the notion of collectivity.
Disidentification takes a big role in what I imagine around co-existing practices. To constantly reshape values, ideologies and interests as a queer political strategy. To escape from solid normative power structures and hierarchies, allowing a perpetual re-distribution of meaning.
How would you describe the structure or methodology this far and how do you think this will develop further on?
The structure of the research follows conceptuality the line of coexisting practices. I invite different collaborators, (colleagues/artists/friends/lovers/enemies), in different time and space to work on different ideas, still under the umbrella of CO-series concepts and principles. From each encounter could arise a specific work that could be presented as an individual piece, part of a larger structure. I call it an episode (of the series). I consider CO-series a research episodically structured.
I will now list, (not necessarily in chronological order), several working strategies to describe the methodology we, (collaborators and I), have been busy with so far:
DAYDREAMING PRACTICE is a proposal which allows space for outspoken dreaming in relation to the work and the personal necessities one desires. With this format I attempt to question and imagine my own understanding of the working dynamics, formats and concepts, excluding external eye, feedback or judgement.
VOMITING is the directive for internal dynamics and proposals between the researchers. It is a method of throwing stuff out before they have been processed: thoughts, ideas, physical materials, writings, videos, etc. Taking them out regardless if one imagines them for future development or if they are just completely toxic and not needed at all.
CRITICAL PRACTICE is the format that includes critical reading and writing around the work and its methodology. It can also manifest as public choreographic games for audiences, offering space for co-thinking.
This is how I am able to describe the structure and methodology of CO-series for now. They are intrinsically connected to the content of the work, so they will keep developing and expanding along the way.
TO BE AT WORK AND TO WORK WITH IT.
In relation to working with or from local surroundings and context as method. How has the different work episodes and specific residency locations affected the direction of your work?
The relation between the surrounding and the research is not literal and there is a multidirectional linking process behind it, a chain of circumstances that inevitably will affect the work but not necessarily straightly. But to answer this question I will describe a simple and probably naively sounding example connected to immediate conditions rather than context:
The fact that in Brussels at studio THOR we had a theatre with available technique, made the episode SCREENSAVER a machinery that functions as an environment where we are busy building atmosphere. In c.off during our last residency, we were mainly chatting, discussing, dialoguing, writing and reading tarot, because the room offered space for it to happen. Extracts from those thoughts became MONSTERS episode, a lying text, a monster as co-existing bodies.
What I want to say with this is that CO-series adapts and function fluidly according to where it’s at. Also, each single episode could morph into something else depending on what is possible and what is at stake.
How does the research proceed after this, do you have any further plans for future collaborations or places where co-series will take place?
During the work done in 2019, three CO-series episodes have occurred: SCREENSAVER, (in collaboration with Zhana Pencheva and Darío Barreto Damas), S-HOLES, (in collaboration with Zhana Pencheva and Darío Barreto Damas), and MONSTERS, (in collaboration with Nina Gojić and Darío Barreto Damas). Some of them will be produced next year. (I write “some of them” since each episode has a specific temporality, needing more or less time to achieve a sharable format).
Parallel to this, there is confirmed work for 2020 in different artistic residencies with artists that have not take part of the research yet. These encounters might lead to possible new episodes and/or new working methods. In February I will work in Stockholm at Konstnärsnämnden together with choreographer/performer/dramaturg Igor Koruga (Serbia). In March we go south to Tenerife together with choreographer/dancer/partner Darío Barreto Damas (Spain) in collaboration with TenerifeLAV. In May/June we move on to Skopje at Kino Kultura with producer/cultural worker/Dj Violeta Kachakova (North Macedonia). After June is all uncertain for now, still waiting responses.
The work of CO-series will continue in the following years according to the necessities and possibilities of its realization.
*Video teaser from the first residency period at c.off in May 2019