S:PAM Lecture #23 - Eylül Fidan Akinci

27-02-2019 from 17:30 to 19:30
Auditorium Vandenhove, Vandenhove - Centrum voor Architectuur en Kunst, Rozier 1, 9000 Gent
Jasper Delbecke
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Inhuman Attunements and Auto-Immunities: Eiko Otake and Mette Ingvartsen’s Choreographies towards Anthropocene Feminism.


Engaging with the recent interest in the performativity of the nonhuman within theatre and performance studies, Eylül Fidan Akıncı examines this inquiry into contemporary choreography with a feminist lens. In her dissertation project A Girl is a Thing: Dramaturgies of Objects and Nature in Contemporary Choreography, Akinci focuses on performing objects and environments by asking what kind of responsibilities, representations, and affects their materiality provides within a choreographic composition, and how their involvement transforms the embodiment of human performers and audiences as well as the very notion of choreography itself. While investigating the mobilizations of matter in relation to the materialist theories, Akıncı asserts the centrality of feminist critiques of universal subjectivity and objectification for fully exploring the political stakes of nonhuman agency in performance.

In the S:PAM-lecture, Akıncı will present her research framework, and by drawing from feminist ecocriticism, connect and compare Eiko Otake and Mette Ingvartsen’s works as choreographic responses to the Anthropocene.



Eylül Fidan Akıncı is a Ph.D. Candidate in Theatre and Performance program at The Graduate Center, City University of New York, and a visiting fellow at the Studies in Performing Arts & Media (S:PAM) research centre of Ghent University for 2018-2019. She published a book chapter on public protests in Turkey, “Sacred Children, Accursed Mothers: Performativities of Necropolitics and Mourning in Neoliberal Turkey” in Performance in a Militarized Culture (eds. Sara Brady and Lindsey Mantoan, Routledge, 2018). She participated in the ‘Choreography and Corporeality’-working group at IFTR, curated panels and presented at PSi –conferences (#22 & #23) and co-convened the working session “Bodies out in the Open: Necropolitics and Performance” at ASTR. She co-organized the “Approaching Dance” and “Objects of Study” conferences of Doctoral Theatre Students’ Association at the Graduate Center. She works independently as a performer and dramaturg across theatre and choreography.


More on A Girl is a Thing: Dramaturgies of Objects and Nature in Contemporary Choreography

To delve deeper into the recent attention on the nonhuman and ecology in theatre and performance studies, Akinci puts feminist trajectories in new materialism, ecocriticism, and biopolitics in dialogue with contemporary choreography, which I construct as an original materialist methodology of embodied thinking, expressing, and relating. With this framework, she surveys performances dating between 1970-2017 by six women artists from Europe, Japan, and Korea—Pina Bausch, Eiko Otake, Mette Ingvartsen, La Ribot, Geumhyung Jeong, and Gisèle Vienne—and analyzes the ways in which materiality and materialist thinking actively participate in the composition and the reception of their works. Akinci investigates how the undoing of the subject-object and human-nature binaries intersects with the politics of gender and sexuality in their movement-research and dramaturgy. As the public discussion has recently been occupied with the concurrent problems of anthropogenic environmental destruction and the precarity of women’s bodily autonomy, this multi-focal approach reveals the necessity of surveying the theorizations of objects and nature together with the biopolitics of sex and gender under neoliberal modes of governance that permeate human and nonhuman life.

This research is generously supported by the Dissertation Year Fellowship from the Graduate Center, CUNY.