Igor Koruga

The Schlosspost Questionnaire is a new format on www.schloss-post.com, which gives Akademie Schloss Solitude fellows a platform for articulation and (re)presentation. Here, fellows can outline their ideas, approaches, and goals on a concrete and/or abstract level, discuss specific projects or overarching concepts, new developments, or the genesis of their ideas. Answers can come in all formats. Both form and content give readers an initial idea of the fellow’s artistic mindset.

The Person

Igor Koruga is a choreographer and artist from Belgrade. eEducated institutionally and noninstitutionally: with MA degrees in Solo/Dance/Authorship (UdK/HZT, Berlin) and in sociocultural anthropology (University of Belgrade), and through self-educational and self-organizational platforms/programs in performing arts within the Balkans and Europe. Such frameworks shaped my entire professional experience, continuously working between public institutions (theaters, festivals, dance academies) and various independent art scenes (in Belgrade, Zagreb, Ljubljana, Berlin, Stockholm, and other cities) as an author and choreographer, a dance dramaturg, a performer, a pedagogue, a researcher (archiving contemporary dance practices in the Balkans), and as a cultural worker – fighting actively for better conditions and visibility of contemporary dance practices in Serbia, through organization Station Service for contemporary dance and in the Balkans through the Nomad dance academy network.

The Practice

My artistic interests mix anthropological curiosity with mediums of dance and choreography, questioning and interpreting social phenomena that are not publicly visible enough. In such processes, I like to rely on the body, since our bodies are determined by the sociocultural surroundings we belong to, and on the language, since »the boundaries of language determine the boundaries of the world.« (Wittgenstein) Therefore, through expanded notion of dance and choreography, I seek bodily states, modes of operation, and forms of language that simultaneously illustrate and requestion the sociopolitical and cultural contexts they mark, but also reinvent the social sphere and the space of commonness, sensibility, solidarity, empathy, eros, and freedom.

The Idea

I see choreography as a sort of blueprint of society. It comes from the concept of performance as a model for interpreting of the social in the public and private spheres within theories of anthropology, sociology and performance studies. But from another point of view, through artistic practice I am curious to examine the ideologically choreographed performativity of society in the contexts of performance and spectatorship articulated and recognizable in the apparatus of theater. So, how to use choreography to analyze performance in society today ‒ in its structures, principles of organization, roles in communication? What does that expose or articulate about us (the citizens) – the actors, performers and carriers of those structures, principles, and roles in our everyday lives? And how does it enable us to transform or intervene in the public sphere? I regard theater as a public space – a frame for realizing activities of citizenship related to concerns in the public domain (e.g. public speaking, labor, politics, social collaboration and cooperation, social communication, etc).

The Questions

My ongoing artistic research explores ways of using performing arts (dance and choreography) for examining »negative« feelings (such as hopelessness, anxiety, apathy, exhaustion, depression, etc.) as the significant features of today’s everyday life, especially of cultural production and political economy, within today’s neoliberal and capitalist society. The research explores how, by transforming individual issues into the social, we can observe the process of public depathologization of these feelings, propose their stronger public recognition in order to contemplate new forms of communion, solidarity, art, and knowledge production and joint political action in society. Departing from the idea that social change is bound to power, vigor, perseverance, or that t these emotional states should be turned into positive experiences through artistic creativity, this research rather tries to articulate not what we think about capitalism, but how we feel in it.

The Answers

I am curious to research a framework that opens the possibility of applying choreography as a practice, shifting sections of performance and spectatorship between aesthetic and social regimes of performativity and continuously negotiating »author-artwork-spectator« communication. How can choreography function as a multilayered mode of operation in theatre performance? First, as a tool for producing aesthetic and performative contents, materials, and procedures structured into a certain composition that communicates to spectators (affectively, performatively, physically, mentally etc.); Second, as a mode of social choreography: through the exposure of continuous relationship(s) and (inter)actions between emplaced objects, people, follies, and points in space and time (theatre) within the fields of performance and spectators; Third, as an analytical tool for not only (artistic) interpretation and exposure of the social that is ideologically shaped, embodied, and performed through our behaviors in the public sphere, but also as a try-out model for communal act whereby the artist and spectator might intervene together into the social context, affecting its value system, ideology, and dominant hierarchies, proposing another mode of relation between the worlds (in the performing arts context), rather than current power relations of neoliberal and capitalist society.

The Essence

I see the artist to be an interventive social subject whose function of creativity is not only to express him or herself (its depth) but also to influence the value, ideological, and other dominant systems that s/he recognizes in the context in which s/he creates. This further touches questions of the production of certain context or public space for our public practices, which isn’t so much defined by exactly where it emerges or exists, but rather articulated by communal bodily investments. Investments that through the exposure of physical vulnerability demand an end to failing infrastructural conditions and ask how to take care of each other even when we actually don’t know each other.

The Reading List

  • Depression, A Public Feeling by Ann Cvetkovich
  • Cruel Optimism by Lauren Berlant
  • Touching Feeling: Affect, Pedagogy, Performativity by Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick
  • I Know You’ve Been Hurt: Solace and Semblance of Self-Care by Tamara Antonijevic and Henrike Kohpeiß
  • Performance of the Self by Ervin Goffman
  • Spaces of Commoning: Artistic Research and the Utopia of the Everyday – (eds)
  • Take Me I’m Yours: Neoliberalising the Cultural Institution by Anthony Davies
  • On Vulnerability as Judith Butler’s Language of Politics: From Excitable Speech to Precarious Life by George Shulman
  • Bodies of Alliance by Judith Butler
  • The History of Sexuality by Michel Foucault
  • Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia by Gilles Deleuze, Felix Guattari
  • The Age of Hopelessness by Slavoj Žižek
  • Heroes: Mass Murder and Suicide by Franco Berardi Bifo
  • The Transformative Power of Performance by Erika Fischer Lichte
  • Tell Them I Said No by Martin Herbert
  • How to Heal a Depression by Franco Bifo Berardi
  • Values beyond Values: Is Anything Beyond the Logic of Capital? by Beverley Skeggs
  • Take Care. How to Work Better by Anthony Huberman
  • Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative? by Mark Fisher