How can a body begin to move when the relationship of this body with its surroundings constitutes a fundamentally precarious and vulnerable moment? A relationship that is easily thrown off balance and that can reveal our own limitations? In Precarious Moves, Michael Turinsky continues his research into choreographic gestures in the context of politically motivated aesthetical concepts. One key element in this solo will be the question of individual and collective needs and requirements in regard to mobility and mobilisation. With his own experience of physical disability, Turinsky will once again draw on the concept of “Crip Time”, thereby revolting against the submission of bodies to the rule of systemic regimes of hegemonic mobility and mobilisation cultures. Alternating between concepts of the organic and organisation, Precarious Moves will serve as the basis for exploration of this strange bond that connects the body with the sensual world in which it is placed.
Spoken text of the performance
Hi, I brought some tonic, … it’s my favorite one, the fever tree … Actually I’d love to go for the gin because it always helps me with my muscle tone but, you know … Anyway, I’m back in a second!
When I began my research around this work at one point I had the idea of writing a love letter to … communism… because what kind appealed to me was this definition by Marx and Engels of communism not as an ideal or as a state and even less as an ideal state but rather as “real movement”. So, in a way, what would it mean to firmly and tenderly declare one’s cheerful and faithful love for this real movement that goes by the proper name of communism.
But then, while being pregnant with the idea of communism, like really really pregnant, I thought to myself: Hm … maybe certain names are not so proper anymore and, by the way, maybe it’s not anymore so much en vogue … to write letters. An so I came up with another idea: what about finding a “new format” (4x)So instead of writing a love letter to communism, I could just twitter about of socialism – beep beep beep beep beep beep…. I felt like, as a starting point, quoting Spanish eco-socialist philosopher Jorge Riechmann with his famous saying: “El socialismo puede llegar sólo en bicicleta“, „Socialism can only come in a bycicle”. To which I would then respond: “Socialism can only come in a wheelchair.”
But then again I realized, oooh oooh oooh oooh oooh, maybe some of my collegues might get the wrong end of the stick and misunderstand my wellintended statement as a kind of really, really bad ableist pun … so in the end I came to my final conclusion. I said to your last: Cobbler, stick to your last, better left-wing politics and rather focus on disability and choreography because that’s so much easier, right? Anyway, I’m back in a second!
The relation between my gesture and is environment always felt a little bit precarious or even strange – a bit like a weird loop, as Timothy Morton puts it in his work on “Dark Ecology”. Not that I was kind of inhabited by, let’s say, an over-all sense of insecurity, not at all. Actually, when it comes to my center, my core, my trunk, I feel pretty self-contained. But then when my periphery, when this periphery enters the picture, things always get a little bit messy. So, concerned as I am with the relation between gesture and environment: How can my gesture meet your gesture without an over-adaptive effort neither on my side nor on your side, without me too much impinging on you or you too much impinging on me? Or, to put it in a broader perspective: How can a gesture find its own niche where it is welcome and met, while at the same time opening our sensibility towards that which lies beyond its very own niche? How can a gesture find its own milieu and still care for or at least care about the milieu of the other?
But how does that all relate to choreography mean? And what does it mean to identify as “disabled” or “crip”? As a result of many, many conversations with my brave fellow artists and activists, I still have to say that “crip” for Michael Turinsky Spoken text of Precarious Moves me essentially means resistance – not so much resistance per se, or as a grand philosophical concept, but rather, as I would put it today, resistance against specific forms of mobility, against specific kinds of mobilization. Like, as I love to, not getting up before 11am and letting your personal assistants bring your breakfast to your bed. That’s the kind of cosy resistance against mobilization that I mean!
You know what turns me off? When non-disabled people tell me: Oh, I can see so much potential in you, let me uncover your resources, let me dig deeper, dig deeper, dig deeper! To which I always feel like responding: Honey, please, leave my fucking oil in the ground, o.k.!
But, my dear audience, let me come back to the question of choreography! Probably quite many of you know Doris Humphrey’s classic definition of choreography as “the art of making dances”. And yes, she definitely got a point with that. But still, me personally, when I think of choreography I tend to think of organization. Choreography as a toolbox for organizing mobilization, mobility, movement – no matter whether that might be dance or something completely else instead.
But hey, wait a minute! If choreography is all about organizing movement, mobilization and if crip instead is basically resistance against mobilization, how the hack does this go together? Isn’t that a little bit like the tonic without the gin, the breakfast without the coffee, the lemon without the twist? And why focus so much on organization? Don’t we need to just let things happen naturally?
I’m not sure if I could ever believe in something like organic movement but what I do believe in is movement that is in tune with the needs of myself and others as organisms! But then again let’s be clear about one thing: movement that is in tune with the needs of myself and others as organisms – it is precisely this that has to be organized! It doesn’t happen naturally, right?
What if our fetishization of speed was rooted in a certain sense of social stagnation? And so: How can we counter all those social forces of immobilization that keep us, in some way or another, at the border? And how can we de-organize and re-organize our movements in such a way that your movement can join my movement and so that we move on with joint forces?
Almost! Anyway, let’s get over here again. Now since I won’t use this paper anymore this is the point where I actually wanted to ask you on stage to help me fold a boat. But since these little bit wicked times don’t allow me to bring me on stage I brought an already folded boat with me which I will get now.
You know, sometimes I really wonder: What do we long for when we long for freedom of movement?
Anyway, I’m back in a second!
All images © Michael Loizenbauer
12th – 13th November, 2021
Concept, choreography, performance, text, lyrics
Stage & costume design
Groundworkers (Anna Gräsel, Angela Vadori)
A coproduction by Michael Turinsky, Tanzquartier Wien and HAU Hebbel am Ufer. With support from the Municipal Department of Cultural Affairs, Vienna, and the Austrian Federal Ministry for Arts, Culture, the Civil Service and Sport.