The Great Conversation
Ariketak: la segunda respiración
Dancer with a Tambourine X-radiograph © Fitzwilliam Museum
The sessions in The Great Conversation are the precursor to Ariketak - La segunda respiración, a project which will run in Tabakalera during 2018 and 2019. Talks, seminars, exhibitions and film and music cycles will use the concept of exercise as their basis, in a reference to those procedures which seek improvement in every new action by those who carry them out.
Looking at the human being in relation to exercise requires us to consider the human capacity to shape oneself. It is an issue which has held a place in aesthetic and political disputes since days gone by, not to mention in the development of philosophical theories and scientific debates. The prejudices in Western thought, rooted in the split which proposes a choice between exercising either the body or the spirit, has one of its most effective correlates in the separation of body and soul, or what can be technically defined as the division between the psychic and the somatic, or between feeling and the use of reason. However, there are now numerous studies into the malaise of modern society which point to an interest in exploring the contact zones between these boxed-off concepts. Contemporary pathologies are part of a society which propounds ‘be yourself’ and ‘just do it’, and in which the possibilities of actually realising this model of self-affirmation are rather scarce. There seems no end to the work of health professionals in this regard, responding with tools, manuals, therapies, theories and medications to the symptoms arising from this fracture.
The theorist Franco Berardi Bifo reminds us that problems of attention, perception and memory belong to a sensory field of study in which the actions of the therapist, the activist and the artist end up overlapping. Since Classical antiquity, practices and exercises have arisen which tried to promote significant lifestyle changes. An ‘art of living’, so to speak—linked to various philosophical or religious schools—capable of engaging and transforming existence in its entirety, facilitating greater levels of inner freedom, and thus opening the door to a ‘universal’ beyond. However, the world now seems determined to separate life from its inherent nature, and reduce its meaning to something strictly biological. In his later years, Michael Foucault threw himself into the study of Classical Greece and into what is known as ‘care of the self’. He often alluded to an ‘aesthetic of existence’ in which the thinker analyses those concerns arising from a conflux of art, life and exercise.
The Great Conversation is a concept which brings together voices from critical theory, artistic practices, sport and pedagogy to consider whether it is now possible to approach culture as a transformative tool.
11:00 -13:30: Let oneself speak
15:30-18:00: Talk while walking
18:30-21:00: Choreographies, mechanics and movements
You can follow the whole debate via streaming here