Polygraphic Practices

Johanna Ackva
Polygraphic Practices

Seminar, English/Deutsch, 2 SWS, 2 ECTS
Tuesdays, 17-20 h, 8 dates: 25.10., 1.11., 8.11., 15.11., 29.11., 13.12.2022, 17.1., (NEU! Statt 10.1.)  24.1.2023, Hardenbergstr. 33, room 101

Registration starts 17.10.2022 via Moodle: https://moodle.udk-berlin.de/moodle/course/view.php?id=1670
Moodle Einschreibeschlüssel / Moodle Enrollment Key: practices

A polygraph is an apparatus able to perceive and create, read and write at the same time. We might say that a polygraph digests, translates or transforms. It mediates between existing and new forms that emerge in the encounter with the ones that are there already. In the animated series Avatar, we encounter Toph Beifong, a girl born without eyesight, but able to perceive through her foot soles not only seismic vibrations but movements as hidden as other people's heart beats. Over the course of her life, she perfects her skills to become super powers such as being able to tell a truth from a lie. This example of a „human polygraph“ is one inspiration for the seminar Polygraphic Practices, in which we will encounter a handful of somatic movement scores rooted in a directed use of our senses and perceptions. Each score (instruction) will be repeated over the course of some sessions giving us opportunity to observe the formal-aesthetic outcomes as well as felt and shared experiences while following the score.

Concretely, we will explore elements of practices such as Authentic Movement (Mary Starks Whitehouse) or Contemplative Dance Practice (Barbara Dilley), and of other schools of somatic movement which. They help us to attune to different sensations and sets of sensations (emotions), details so far unnoticed, micro-movements and -events that are already happening in and around us. Through embodied engagement, thus we investigate creativity as a process of sensually resonating with what is present.

This seminar invites to pause for a while learned standards of beauty, productivity or sense-making in order to make space for the unknown. Each session will hold time for practice, as well as for reflection, exchange and feedback in different formats such as writing, one-to-one-talks, or structured discussion. Few short texts / extracts gathered in a reader will accompany our work, offering perspectives onto what we do rather than explaining it.

The seminar is also conceived as a frame for practice. Proposed scores that involve perception and movement will be repeated several times and our experiences observed and reflected. Participation requires curiosity towards working with one's own body, but no previous experience in dance or other techniques. Moreover, the seminar encourages students to apply methods of somatic and performative research introduced in the seminar onto their own artistic practice and to use the interdisciplinary exchange in order to formulate scores and practicing frames that could support their work.

Requirements for the ungraded Studium Generale credits: Active participation means taking part in the sessions regularly and reading few short texts (extracts) that will be gathered in a reader that accompanies the seminar.

Johanna Ackva’s interest lies in the material, affective, political and aesthetic dimensions of the entanglements that make our world. In her work, exploring, sharing and reflecting concrete experience goes in tandem with the production of moving forms and images. Next to dance and other physical practices, conversations with experts, strangers and friends are an important working method for Johanna. Since 2014, her often collaboratively developed projects have touched on themes such as work and its value (The Agreement, AG Arbeit), experiences of natural deserts and loneliness (Salt Lake), constructions of femininity (Women and watery men), or finitude, death and our relationship to the dead (Solo ohne Titel, aus dem was sprachfähig war, CLOUDS ON CLEAR SKY, Grandmothers). Her current research circles around mysticism, voices, and historical figures of enlightened females. Johanna is co-founder of the Berlin-based dance collective Suddenly. Since 2020, she is part of a collective running Denk- und Produktionsort Libken.