Migrating Europe. Dance in Zones of Conflict

Wednesday 8/12/2010, Concertgebouw Brugge, Chamber Music Hall

Migration is a reality for many people and thus, also artists. With (voluntary or involuntary) migrating people, ideas and practices of culture, of dance and art, circulate and enter 'Europe'. In these complex processes, the artistic practices might undergo fundamental changes. These changes are, in our view, not purely aesthetic processes – we do not see 'aesthetics as ultimate migrants of the contemporary dance scenes' (Constanze Klementz, Franz Anton Cramer 2004). Instead, we seek to question dance as artistic practices that are formed by and performing the aesthetic, the political and the social.

This conference aims to investigate the way dance performances function as tools of critique, resistance and agency in 'violent' conflict zones within an expanding and migrating Europe. 'Violence' does not necessarily entail crime or terror. Following Galtung, violence is at work 'when human beings are being influenced so that their actual somatic and mental realisations are below their potential realisations'. Next to subjective violence (crime and terror), there is also objective violence (racism and discrimination) and systemic violence (catastrophic effects of political and economic systems). This conference considers all actions that deprive people of their potential as violent. Non-eventful forms of trauma or the forms of 'insidious trauma' such as sexism, racism, political oppression and the daily fear of persecution are dealt with. Conflict studies invite us to deal with the effects of continuous and quotidian violence inflicted on humans, where not one catastrophic event but many recurring events are the source of a whole atmosphere or situation that is traumatising. This enables us to identify and analyse violent and nonviolent forms of behaviour as well as the structural mechanisms attending social conflicts with a view towards understanding those processes. Conflict studies invite us to think about the types, causes, and dynamics of conflict as substantial areas of analysis.

Institutional Partners

Concert Hall Bruges, December Dance