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Welcome to This Situation: Tino Sehgal's Impersonal Ethics

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  13 January 2015

Abstract

What of dance is welcomed in the museum, and what remains on the outside? Artist Tino Seghal's “constructed situations” redirect this question, reworking relations of inside and outside, participant and observer, subject and object through a collective bodily attending to the situation itself. This article explores the conspiratorial techniques activated by This Situation (2007) to consider how dance moves in and with the museum. These techniques, which are derived from or affiliated with those of performance (the intricate negotiation of bodies, movement, and time in relation), include repetition, remixing, distributed movement, conspiratorial breathing, the compliment, disjunctions between words and gestures, and more as part of the work's ecology of practices. As interpreters of the piece in Montréal (and, as such, embodied archivists), the three authors take up key issues such as tensions between ephemerality and preservation, dance's anarchival propensity, and the contagious corporeal techniques of the piece that pass between interpreters and visitors, human and object materialities, and which traverse heterochronicities of the event and its resonances. We propose that what is specific to Sehgal's work within the museum is a holding of movements and relations as a way of persistently making and unmaking its forms, contents, and relations—as a way of making art contemporary, so to speak, via dance's propensity to always begin again. This commitment to re-beginning is what we term Sehgal's impersonal ethics: how This Situation (re)activates and relies on the generation of intensive but ambiguous embodiments.

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Articles
Copyright
Copyright © Congress on Research in Dance 2014 

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