If I Can’t Dance, I Don’t Want To Be Part Of Your Revolution: Bodies and Technologies

From September 2023 to February 2024, If I Can’t Dance, I Don’t Want To Be Part Of Your Revolution presents the Finale of Edition IX—Bodies and Technologies. In a seasonal festival across Amsterdam venues, audiences are invited to presentations of new productions and publications by Susanne Altmann, Black Speaks Back, Devika Chotoe, Samia Henni, Nuraini Juliastuti, Grant Watson, and Constantina Zavitsanos.

Edition IX commenced in July 2022 and since then each of the commissioned artists and researchers has had their specific trajectory, parts of which are shared in our online If I Can’t Dance Studio. In the coming months, they present the outcomes of their work, in collaboration with our co-production and presentation partners Bijlmerbios, CBK Zuidoost, Goethe-Institut, Framer Framed, IHLIA & OBA Oosterdok, SHEBANG, and Splendor.

Edition IX—Bodies and Technologies tackles the complex and plural entanglements between bodies and technologies—from experiences of pleasure and intimacy to the ongoing embodied realities of colonial and ableist frameworks. These entanglements generate both possibilities for liberation and risks of further control. Bodies and Technologies lingers in this paradox, turning to the performance strategies and performance-based research methodologies of our artists and researchers to ask how technologies affect the experiences of bodies and vice versa.

The artist projects featured in Edition IX both depart from a process of demystifying current technologies, from sensory enhancement apparatuses to social media circulation systems. In this undertaking, they engage technology not as a means but as a tool to hack dominant systems of access and create spaces of belonging. In their collective film project, Black Speaks Back explores non-sexual intimacies within African and African diasporic communities around the Netherlands, initiating urgent discussions of intergenerational trauma, kinship networks and solidarity across racial divides. As a result of a study of entropy, indeterminacy and shared in/capacities, the performance(s) initiated by Constantina Zavitsanos experiment(s) with different thresholds of perception, unfolding in a space of not-knowing, chance, and collaboration.

Across the Edition IX research projects, there is a shared sense of urgency to intervene into technologies of narration and memory. Unpacking unknown and suppressed archives from across geopolitical contexts and colonial histories, they offer diverse performative methods for connecting across pasts, presents and futures. Art historian Susanne Altmann’s publication builds on her long-term exploration of women’s art production in former socialist Eastern Europe, foregrounding imbrications of the personal and political in acts of remembering this recent past, and proposing a novel form of feminist history-writing. Through an exhibition and printed repository, architectural historian Samia Henni rehearses the scattered and still mostly sealed archives of the French nuclear bomb programme in the Algerian Sahara (1960-1966), exposing the ongoing toxicity of the state’s atomic technologies and infrastructures. In a collection of children’s stories set in the Indonesian archipelago, researcher and pedagogue Nuraini Juliastuti employs storytelling as an archival technology that can reverberate disappearing Indigenous cosmologies, tales of feral friendships, and the ailments of violated environments.

Alongside the programme of artist and research commissions, Edition IX has also been bolstered by the ongoing work of research fellow Devika Chotoe. Chotoe will kick-off the Edition IX Finale events with a conversation featuring scholars Tina Campt and Rolando Vázquez and, later, will launch a reader with a collection of materials from across her two-year research trajectory. Finally, the Edition IX inquiry into bodies and technologies has also prompted an archival activation of Grant Watson’s earlier research commission How We Behave (Edition V, 2013–14). In an exhibition and live reading, a selection of materials from his growing archive will be presented, sharing a rich intergenerational cartography of feminist, queer and LGBTI strategies and histories of daily practices of self-care.

Artistic team of Edition IX: Frédérique Bergholtz, Anik Fournier, Sara Giannini, Megan Hoetger