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Venuri Perera 'If I may be candid' – Vortrag

Venuri Perera

About the nuances and complexities of how class is embodied, coded and communicated.

The post-independence class structure in Sri Lanka is a product of colonial inheritance. Venuri, born in Colombo, was brought up in the English-speaking middle class, which maintains certain practices adopted from the former colonial masters that protect their social status. This class hierarchy is not so much about money, as Venuri grew up ashamed of being 'poor' because of the living conditions of her immediate family, but she acknowledges that it was a 'privileged poverty'. Through various research, work and performative experiments in recent years, Venuri is learning the nuances and complexities of how class is embodied, coded and communicated. She uses her body as a personal site from which to unravel the complication of being a privileged brown woman with a Sri Lankan passport inhabiting neocolonial spaces. Venuri will touch on a few of her work and personal experiences and openly reflect on what she has learnt. She will examine how her class upbringing and notions of respectability created a complicated relationship to dance, her body and sensuality. How privilege shifts when she leaves her context, how she positions herself, and how she finds herself positioned. How class connects across borders. She will share strategies she used to attempt
to disorientate the perception of class structures in order to connect with the 'other'. And the moments when strategies fail because of the insidious nature of how class is mentally and physically embodied.

Venuri Perera is a choreographer, performance artist, curator and educator from Colombo, currently based in Amsterdam. Since 2017 she has been exploring the power dynamics of gaze, opacity and sensuality, through performative experiments in theatres, galleries and public space. Her solo works deal with violent nationalism, patriarchy, border rituals, colonial heritage, and class. Venuri’s work has been shown internationally at festivals, platforms and symposia; she has collaborated closely with choreographers Geumhyung Jeong, Natsuko Tezuka and Zwoisy Mears-Clarke. Venuri was the curator of the Colombo Dance Platform since 2016, with the support of the Goethe-Institut Colombo. She was a visiting lecturer at the University of Visual and Performing Arts in Colombo and a member of the Dance Panel of the Arts Council in Sri Lanka. A recent graduate of DAS Theatre, Amsterdam, she holds an MA in Psychology (Pune University 2006) and a post-graduate degree in Dance In Community (Laban, London 2008). Venuri is attempting to create conditions for compassion, radical love and healing in her life and work. Mostly failing, she remains optimistic.

The lecture series is jointly curated and organised by Prof. Dr. Sandra Noeth (MA SODA/HZT Berlin) and Prof. Dan Belasco Rogers (UdK Studium Generale).