dissident choreographies · the movement that we do not know

Notes by Paz Rojo in conversation with the frameworks:

[CAMPO # 1] coreografiar la disidencia

¿qué puede un cuerpo?

choreographing life trayectories

How to interrupt the trajectories of our current choreographies (the structures, values and certainties that shape our subjectivity) even when that may puzzle and disorient us? Could we move choreography away from the individual free subject of contemporary bio-politics? How to move choreography in such a manner that forgets about (it) self? What would be of choreographic practice if -rather than building and projecting movements-, it liberates them away from the neoliberal logic? How would this affect the choreographer’s subjectivity?

This proposal asserts that contemporary choreography -as a dispositive for the construction of movement(s) which work, towards or against, a global gaze- has lost effectiveness. It argues that today the question of freedom or emancipation of the individual self -via choreographies of his/her own- is no longer effective, but the question of the power of movement itself. Thereby, the possibility for choreography to dissent from itself.


It seems that we continue living according to movements which guarantee the reproduction of a choreography from which is impossible to escape the promise of economic value and our potential for sale. On the surface of this situation our affective, cognitive and sensible capacities increasingly adopt the mechanics of a totalizing yet supposedly free choreography which, makes us work (move), in a multitude of flexible networks, whose logics such visibility, accumulation, development, connectivity, self-representation, communicability and constant mobility, not only choreograph our subjectivity, but also tells us that any attempt to work for or against them results on a futile gesture.

In this way our life seems to be situated at the threshold of a choreography made impossible which is holding us in a paradoxical situation: whilst we find ourselves living in a sophisticated production system, which asks us the production of possibles (new subjectivities), however we find no alternative, but the confrontation with the feeling of being excluded, actually, with fear of being ‘excluded from the domain of the possible”, hence from a future that actually, no longer needs us.

How to interrupt the trajectories of these choreographies? This proposal would like to draw attention to those subjectivities who have gave up the fight for visibility, recognition and acknowledgement (or any other neoliberal logic). Therefore, without corresponding to a conception of future, and hoping to be able to break apart the system of values and certainties that constitutes contemporary choreographic production, we’d like to propose the reverse game: instead of letting our movements being at the service of choreography, the means of choreography would rather be the ‘practice’ of discovering its structures in order to abandon them and access an alternative, decodified subjectivity.

Our aim is however simple: rather than approaching choreography’s capacity for domination and control, we’d like to open choreography’s own capacity for movement, namely for action – for transversality, for drift, for change, for adventure- even when that will imply the displacement and interruption of (it)self. An interruption that wishes first, the prolongation of a break and, secondly the inevitable displacement of the choreographer who ultimately, will assume the subordinated condition of its capitalist subjectivity and hence, the encounter with his/her subaltern potentiality.


Etymologically the term ‘subaltern’ derives from Latin sub – (below, under); figuratively (‘a little somewhat’); plus alter- (other) or alternus (alternate, to vary, oscillate, one after the other), which produced subalternus (subordinate). Moreover, other words which are synonymous of ‘subaltern’ are accessory, associate, added, assistant, helper, servant, dependent, inferior, secondary, follower.

What would our movements do, if we approach them from bellow? How could choreography affect our trajectories if we address it through a point of view worthless to hegemonic power? What if we engage pathways which, we nevertheless, do not know? How do we access them?

We’d like to situate the etymological field of the term ‘sub-altern’ in relation to three ‘conceptual figures or metaphors’ we’ve been working with. What these conceptual figures have in common is their sub-altern approach in regard to movement, and due to that, their ability to stimulate change and reformulate cognitive, sensible and ethical gestures.

  1. the conceptual figure of the ‘extra and the intruder’ with the movie “The Party”, Blake Edwards 1968

  2. the conceptual figure of ‘anonymity and lost’ with the movie “Gerry”, Gus Van Sant, 2002

  3. the conceptual figure of the ‘the caveman or the Barbarian’ with the movie “Themroc”, Claude Faraldo, 1973

These figures invite us to think the power of movement, regardless choreography. They allow us to understand that, if we want to gain a bit of capacity for action, we may actually let ourselves be in ‘the movement of things’ while ‘refusing’ to choreograph it. A paradoxical situation, since the ‘refusal to choreograph’ activates an attentive listening, a ‘care’ to ‘what’s choreographing ourselves’ (rather than simply follow and appropriate the melody of its reproduction).

Once there, we realise that, we are ‘out of place’, in a situation, which isn’t entirely acknowledgeable to us, a situation whereby, we’ve even became strangers to ourselves. A disorienting sensation indeed, which carry us into the ‘dissonant frequency’ of a movement that claims separation, the partition, the no-effective.

Now, we are taking the movement we do not know A position which assumes ‘the refusal to choreograph’, as and active part of movement itself and, as a modest and daring gesture. A decision which doesn’t correspond to a conception of future and opposed to the notion of ‘choice’. A blind trajectory which proves that oneself may be worthy of a movement without destination or recipient. And ultimately, a kind of trust which pushes us to acknowledge that ‘to follow the pathway of a sub-altern force’ seems the only thing we can give to ourselves, the only exclusion that we can claim.

In this way, movement involves logics that favour the unexpected. Due to that, we are starting to get to know our positions again ‘singularly’ namely, through deviation points, through divergent pathways, thus through a refusal that continues disorienting and, yet encountering us in within minor, invisible pathways. On the other hand, the ‘refusal to choreograph’ allows us to understand that choreography may no longer be the space of the consensual and the representational, but the possibility of an inaugural gesture, an opening, which is rather a paradoxical one: an institution of itself as a ‘disoeuvre and ‘a call without destination’…


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