Masks, Puppets and Performance Objects as Tools of Critique, REsistance and Agency in South Africa; Developing a Situational, Embodied and Postdramatic Approach for Dealing with the Cultural Trauma of Apartheid

01 December 2013 → 30 November 2018
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
  • Agricultural and food sciences
    • Fisheries sciences
South Africa tools of critique
Project description

Dance studies showed how folk dance, mass choreographies and sports events served the
modern state’s bio-politics and developed a spectacle of nationhood. A supra-ethnic national
‘Yugoslavian’ identity was performed beyond religious, ethnic, cultural or gender differences
and this provided the basis for an antagonism between the so-called ‘communist East’ and the
‘capitalist West’. After WWII, Europe embarked on a process of supranational integration. In
contrast to the discourse of tolerance and the embrace of diversity within contemporary postfoundationalist
philosophy, the non-Western ‘migrant’ is still reduced to ‘Other’. This
research investigates how ‘Yugoslavian’ dance practices perform identities in a contemporary
‘migrating’ Europe. The two specific dance modalities that will be investigated are 1)
choreography and 2) dance techniques. These modalities reflect a way of thinking about
social order and are hence a tool for investigating the complex web of relations that link
performers to particular subjectivities, histories, practices, and to each other. In order to
comprehend the migratory dynamics and the dance modalities negotiating contemporary
cultural identities in Europe, a dance performance analysis will be conducted, inspired by
political philosophy. Particular attention will be paid to how contemporary ‘Yugoslavian’
performances offer new discursive modes of thinking about relational and contingent
identities and offer new visions of democracy.