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Click here to have a Funk Lesson with Adrian Piper:

Summary of Adrian Piper: Notes on Funk – 1985 By Nicoletta Cappello for “Dance and Philosophy” SHDK of Tue 5.9.22

Piper’s states that the long term intention of her performances is to re-structure people’s identification with xenophobic and racist postures, by making them accessible Funk music and dance as a medium of communication with black culture, from which that have been historically set apart. According to Piper, black cultural products that still have not been appropriated by white culture provoke xenophobic responses, based on fear and anxiety towards what is unknown and perceived as different, and so activates either a defense reaction or an appropriation desire that aims to exorcise their fear to difference. Piper tells that she had experienced these kind of xenophobic reactions to her performance works including popular black working class culture elements since the beginning of career. These reactions emerged clearly in her audience-oriented performances -It’s Just Art and Some Reflective Surfaces- through downgrading commentaries or aesthetic judgments. Piper explains that in relation to the xenophobic attitude of the audience, she needed to decide whether to dismiss black culture elements from her work, or to maintain them, and through them offering tools for communication of the audience with black culture. She also reports that she had to reflected about her role as an artist in the way she realized that she was not so integrated in the white cultural as she had thought to be, by completing a process of aesthetic acculturation and Art School training. She needed to reconsider her assumption that her audience (“mostly white”, she says) would have appreciated her work as of an “higher kind of art” in virtue of its adherence to the learned principles of originality and exploration, and of its use her personal-social experiences as creative material. Instead Piper understood that the limits of what was considered innovative and original by the audience and of which social experiences were worth to be included in art where very much demarked and defined by xenophobia and ignorance. In reaction to her analysis Piper accounts that she decided to be an artist that wasn’t aiming anymore at sharing her aesthetic acculturation and her education with her black community as that was the greatest political act, by considering that kind of acquired knowledge as the most valuable one. She started instead to consider her artwork as a means to convey black working-class cultural products as gifts of the highest value to her white audience. At the end of the text, Piper reports the performance hand-out summary of Funk Lessons about Funk music and dance and its content, including both movement instructions and physical cues, technical and compositional specificities as well as the aesthetic and ethical values laying beyond them, such as “participatory, not virtuosistic”, “self-transcendent”, “socially functional” “personalistic” etc… as an expression of specific political meanings, desire for transcendence and sexual themes.

Adrian Piper. extracts from 'Notes on Funk Il', Out of Older. Out ofSight. Volume l: Selected Writings in Meta-Art (1968-1992) (Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press: 1996) 198-9:201-3: 213-14.

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From ECC_ European Cultural Center for Performance Art_ Newsletter 23/2/2022

Lecturer Q&A: Nicoletta Cappello

We are also excited to introduce you to the new members of the ECC Performance Art Lecturer Team: Nicoletta Cappello, Emily Orley, and Tina Mariane Krogh Madsen. You can find more information on these ladies on our website, but we will also introduce them to you one-by-one in the newsletters. Starting off this month: Nicoletta!

Nicoletta is a performing artist, educator, and doctoral researcher at UdG and UniCT. In her work, she is interested in studying processual forms and exploring the common ground between Performing Arts, Performance Art, and Embodied Learning. Her pieces experiment with participatory, intermedia, and immersive formats and invite the audience to collaborate as another performer by actively moving their bodies.

In a few words, please describe your artistic practice and background I am interested in studying the common ground between theater, dance and performance art, as well as in working with processual forms. I am a professional theater maker trained in movement-based performing at RESAD Madrid and Folkwang Universität der Künste oriented towards performance art. My conceptual and dramaturgical work in the last years have focused on developing strategies for movement-based audience’s participation, both in local and in virtual context. How does COVID-19 impact your work and what are your strategies to deal with it? Covid-19 gave me a very suitable time and mediatic framework, with the need for resilience and higher risk taking inside unknown conditions, for free experimentation both in teaching and in creating performance. During the first quarantine I started “Let’s Get Physical”, a movement-based performing training, running online weekly , that didn’t stop to develop into different shapes till today. Thanks to the overall increase of mediated communication over the Covid-19 period, I gained plenty of new insights about what was possible in performance, and above all about artistic community building, and about interactive and intermedia performance formats. During the COVID-19 I also devised my first online live performance piece “Stato Vegetale” that won a prize from the prestigious Teatre Lliure Barcelona and was presented in national Teatro de La Abadía. Since then my creative practice opened to virtuality as a main research environment, that marks a direction for my present and future projects. What is your approach to teaching performance art/what do you want your students to take away from your class? My focus in teaching performance art is to encourage students to discover and pursue their own artistic idiosyncrasies starting from the relation with their bodies, as the most evident manifestation of their uniqueness as people and as artists. I invite students to pay attention to their physical action, and mostly to the periphery of that action, to involuntary movements/words/gestures, and to what emerges uncontrolled from their bodies (and minds), because it’s speaking of their personal obsessions, of where they want to go. I offer reliable tools to read and follow those signals as breadcrumbs on their continuous path of artistic self-discovery, and to take them as a compass for an enjoyable and meaningful creation process. What is the most important thing the emerging generation of performance artists should learn/be aware of/do? Continuing what I said, I believe that performance artists should learn to listen to their bodies, to their bodies' claims, stories, opinions, memories, suggestions, and points of view, through thoughtful perception and aware movement. I feel that the body is where a sense of shared truth can still be perceived and cultivated. The body-side of culture is traditionally silentiated, unheard, dismissed, repressed, humiliated, marginalized and devitalized from the dominant colonial and patriarchal rationalism, and ultimately from ourselves as a part of it. My advice to emergent performance artists would be to literally listen to their body’s voice not as a path to virtuosity, but as a shortcut to shed light on their most forefront visions and as a gateway to materialize their most essential contributions. Listening and discovering their body's discourse, articulating its words through embodied reflection, vibrating its messages through movement, and amplifying them through dance, psychophysical attitudes, and gestural performances transformation. What is the most important thing our world/governments/cultural policy needs to understand about performance art? I think that the government needs to understand the incredible democratic educational potential of performance art. By questioning established systems of representations, by blurring the limits between spectator and creator, and the frontiers between daily and artistic life, performance art offers an optimal playground to rehearse forms of sharing power in a co-creative way. I think that performance art should be taught and researched from School, and that it should vertebrate Teachers Education. Why did you choose to join ECC Performance Art? I chose ECC Performance Art in the first instance as a student, when I experienced a pleasant sense of condensed and extended learning. I was learning a lot of useful concepts and techniques in just a little time and at the same time I was experiencing a boost of creativity that exceeded the single classes, positively affecting my daily life throughout the whole course period and beyond. I felt I belonged to a creative community having similar concerns, care and curiosity for each other’s work. I chose again ECC as a lecturer because I wanted to contribute to this fertile learning space by offering my own knowledge. I share the ECC mission and vision, and I am excited and honored to be able to contribute to build them by being a part of its team.

Despite its great influence in most disciplines of contemporary creation, in the field of the arts it is still a little known genre in its peculiarities, although it has the most potential to revolutionize education today.


What is physical theater?

Physical theater expresses concepts, ideas, and feelings through non-verbal action. The word and the voice are included, being approached in their most emotional and visceral communicative aspects, going beyond their logical meaning. The actress is not only an interpreter, but the author of hers, her own pieces, which are born from her own body as an artistic subject.

The aesthetics of each artist derives from the peculiar characteristics of her own body that determine the uniqueness of her mode of movement and her artistic language. In this context, physical differences and non-normative bodies are seen as a source of creative, aesthetic and ethical richness. It is not a case that was born in the 1960s, artistically collecting the concerns of social movements, feminists, environmentalists and pacifists.

Developing independently of a text, physical theater adopts a variety of scenic languages ​​-clown, mask, objects, video-art, lights, performance, puppets, sound / word- that interact at the same time and are combined according to the needs expressive of each artist, founding the character of their individual aesthetics. Freed from the dramatic repertoire, physical theater adopts collective creation as a methodology for creating new texts based on a topic of common interest. In collective creation, the functions of the theater are horizontally and flexibly distributed, and artistic decisions are negotiated between all members of the group, thus producing a negotiation of a plurality of points of view that often leads to a feature of complexity in the presentation of the staging and its substantive thesis. Independent from the literary Canon, collective creation brings to theater issues that concern us at the community level in the present, even reading the repertoire in light of them.

By putting physical perception at the center of the creative process, theater enhances the body as an autonomous creative subject, capable of expressing its own stories and imaginaries. Representing an oppressed subjectivity, the body is the appropriate place to generate discourses of decolonization, generating situated reflections, rooted in a territory and a point of view. In the educational field, physical theater has the potential to reverse the fundamental colonizing principle that establishes the hierarchical superiority of the mind over the body, promoting the creative union between thought and physical action and putting into play the felt experience as a way of thinking.

Open applications at Folkwang Universität der Künste till 15 November 2021! If you want to move your brain&booty you cant miss it!

It's the best study experience everrrr!

Link here:

Other Physical Theater Schools / Referents in Europe:

Folkwang University of Arts Essen

Jacques Lecoq Paris School

LISPA London

Philip Gaulier School

Familie Flöz

Resad Madrid _Teatro del Gesto

Institut del Teatre_ Barcelona

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