Grief work – working as a body with bodies towards a social body

Siegmar Zacharias
Grief work – working as a body with bodies towards a social body

Online block seminar, English/Deutsch, 2 SWS, 2 ECTS
Saturday/Sunday, 16./17.1. and 30./31.1.2021, each 10-18 h,
mixture of video sessions and self-/group-work: please keep the entire time slot free for the seminar.

This workshop suggests a focus on grief work. The state we are in right now creates feelings and/or symptoms of sadness in many people. Mourning for deceased people, mourning for the climatic condition of the planet, mourning for the loss of security and plannability, grief about social injustice and structures of white supremacy. It is a type of grief, which relates to personal and political subjects as well as to individual and collective issues and for which we need individual and collective approaches. This workshop is an invitation to reflect together how we can deal with this grief and possibly understand it as a generative opportunity for another togetherness.

We will engage with performative research practices, developed from the Polyvagal Theory (Steve Porges: the capacity of self-regulation and co-calibration of the vagus nerve is a neurophysiological prerequisite for solidarity behavior), from methods of deep listening, or from trauma therapy and somatic experiences. They will offer a space in which these questions can be investigated cognitively, somatically and kinesthetically.

We will read texts from the following works:
Alaimo, Stacy: Bodily Natures: Science, Environment and the Material Self. Bloomington Indiana University Press, 2010.
Menakem, Resmaa: My Grandmother's Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies. Central Recovery Press, 2017.
Porges, Stephen W.: The Polyvagal Theory: Neurophysiological Foundations of Emotions, Attachment, Communication, and Self-regulation. New York: WW Norton, 2011.

Requirements for the ungraded Studium Generale credits: regular attendance and participation, small presentation.

Siegmar Zacharias is a performance artist and a researcher. Her works produce situations of embodied visceral thinking together through matters and matter. They develop formats of performances, immersive installations, discursive encounters and curations, dealing with questions of generative ethical dynamics of transformation: agency, liquefaction, and modes of knowledge production as collaboration, ecologies of artistic and social practice. She collaborates with human and non-humans, uncontrollable material, such as smoke, slime, the nervous system and death. She received a TECHNE scholarship for excellence and innovative research to pursue her PhD project: Intimacy & Alienation – learning from uncontrollable materials. Towards a posthuman feminist poET(H)ICS. She teaches regularly at DOCH Stockholm, DASTheatre Amsterdam, HZT/UdK Berlin, since 2008.