Studies on Fantasmical Anatomies

Abstract: Studies on Fantasmical Anatomies is an ongoing transdisciplinary artistic research, which encompasses the spectrum of experiences and practices that I have developed as a choreographer, dancer and Feldenkrais practitioner. My interest in anatomy and somatic practices grew out of multiple shoulder dislocations. The last dislocation happened in 2014 and, in retrospect, it functioned as a catalyst for this PhD and as one of its main methodologies. With the notion of “anatomies” I’m more interested in operations on the body, than defining the body itself. By drawing on various fields of knowledge – anatomy, psychoanalysis, feminist and queer theories, poetry and somatic practices – the research expands choreography towards disparate discourses, practices and treatments of the body. At the intersection of the therapeutic and the choreographic, the somatic and the poetic, I have developed several body-orientated practices based on Feldenkrais’ speculative use of language, imagination and touch.The research has been articulated through three transversal movements. First, at the core of my practice, is the expansion and distortion of the Feldenkrais Method® from its initial somato-therapeutic goals into a poetic and speculative way of addressing the body. Revisiting and subverting Feldenkrais’ private session Functional Integration® and group class Awareness Through Movement®, I developed both one-on-one sessions and performances for larger public settings: Fantasmical Anatomies sessions and lessons. Secondly, I propose experiences of diffraction, “blind gaze” and dissociation as a strategy for troubling the dominant regime of vision. In the Fantasmical Anatomies lessons, the first choreographic gesture is to invite the public to lie down and close their eyes. Withdrawing from the form of the spectacle, the choreography takes place in and across the bodies of the audience. The third movement consists of the co-regulation of entities and dynamic relationships between the individual and the collective. Through the notion of “sensorial transference”, I have experimented with the possibility of sensing across bodies (“trans-interiority”) or through other bodies (proxy), and all of the ethical questions that such propositions give rise to.Combining fantasy, the fantasme and phantasmagoria, I invented the word “fantasmical” to emphasize how the ability to imagine may create phantom limbs that are as concrete as pieces of bone. Equally imagined and bodily, these Fantasmical Anatomies call into question some of the dichotomies that undergird Western cultures, such as representation and materiality, body and mind, idea and thing, fantasy and reality. Studies of Fantasmical Anatomies are simultaneously a set of practices, methods and places, in which the corps fantasmé is tangible.

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