Common-Works 3.3
Toubab Dialaw / Senegal 

As an ongoing edition-based performance project Common-Works deals with the development of collective, semi-improvised movement practices that aim to re-locate notions of discourse and representation within collectively experienced intensities such as flow, embodiment, notions of becoming and collective trance. 

The score-edition was shared in english, japanese and hausa, on Friday 7th February 2020, at École des Sables, Toubab Dialaw, Senegal

 In collaboration with Olukitibi BUKUNMI (Nigeria)、Audrey KING (US)、Eimi LEGGETT (UK, Australia) and Adila OMOTOSHO (Nigeria) Concept Timothy Nouzak In conversation with Mary Szydlowska Supported by P.A.R.T.S. STUDIOS Exchange programme and École des Sables/Germaine Acogny

The following score edition was part of a workshop series in the frame of a cross-cultural exchange project together with 20 young makers from several parts of Africa, Europe and the US, at École des Sables, Senegal, initiated as a means to transnationally share and exchange practices across different disciplines and fields.

Out of the conversations that led to this score edition, 'Common-Works No3.3', moves through various (semiotic) approaches in order to question how signifier (re-) present themselves in movement and how our social environment is enacted through shared, collective physical memories. Semiotics, as a western model of representation has clear limits in regards to individual, subjective enactments, therefore it was interesting not only to put it into question but as well to actively disconnect from it by giving language and sign-systems other ‚reason‘ than just exclusively that of conveying meaning: By creating a situation where western history, that since the Renaissance moves forward, stops and starts to bend and reconnect to other times and ways of sensing and of meaning-making - where art regains its urgency and becomes an intricate tool rather than an object of study.

When familiarity is removed, memories flood back in ... 

I - From action to action.

Everyone is already in space embodying different actions. One after the other. While the subject-matter continues to change with every action in space one starts to question what the actions might presuppose, how the embedded social context and relations seem to affect this understanding and which kind of arbitrary relationships the actions have to each other.

As the actions of each performer differ between each other one might ask, how they can be subjected to the notion of performed meaning and memory. Every action of the performer is a trace from their own history, their own past, taken into a new context.

II - Modulation of words.

The question of what performed memory might mean is further questioned by the fact that the performers continue to embody what the action mean to them: “It could be this..” The phrase is left verbally unanswered but indicated through a bodily action:

It could be [this].

The individual enactment of what performed memory might look like starts to get juxtaposed with a presupposition what “it” could be. By it signifying the context, one hereby tends not only to question what performed memory might mean for each individual performer, but also how it relates to their form representation and perception. What happens while I perceive these actions in space? By speculating about a potential signifier one starts to presuppose a potential signified, the concept which the signifier represents.

III - Physical conversations.

The performers start to leave their individual inquiries behind and cluster together until all merge into one group. Up to this point, meaning arises from the own corporeal histories and memories of each individual performer, in the sense that they performed their own memory and thus their own past. At this point in the work, one can reflect further on the question what shared corporeal histories and memories within a group or collective might be defined by.

The score progresses towards collectiveness: How and when does meaning develop into a shared collective memory? How is our social environment enacted? How do possible logics need to be practiced to function in this collective? Can these newly created logics attain meaning beyond the western conception of the ratio or logos?

IIII - Collective rave.

If the group is understood in this operation as a shared body that is put together through collective memories, one can start to speculate on a potential collective consciousness.

With the implementation of rhythm and breath, the subject-matter of what it means to be part of a group or collective starts to be further stressed. Can collectiveness be signified? How can aural kinetics act as a signifier? The use of rhythm and breath functions hereby as an operation: It questions rhythm and breath as a revitalizing factor for social order. For this to happen, it is substantial to perceive rhythm and breath not solely as instinct but as deployed intelligence that embodies and contains collective energy.

I̶I̶I̶I̶  - Accumulation.

The score has started with an individual inquiry that questions how history arises through the preconditioned memory of each individual performer and progressed towards a more inclusive inquiry that questions when and how history becomes a shared collective memory. The integration of verbal language was previously interpreted as a presupposition for a potential signifier, that not only questions how memory is enacted by the performer but also how the reception of this enactment is based on one's own history and memory.

As the work comes to an end, yet another layer is being introduced with the intent to frame what previously occurred. The operation in the score shifts from a presupposition to an indexation: 50 Words are collectively uttered by all performers within five cycles. These words should give space to frame what previously occurred. The words are then projected onto the actions of the performer. These words should play their various semantic meanings, in order to find reason in a different way. After the last cycle, everyone shortly takes in what happened and then leaves. The end.

© photo/video by Mary Szydlowska