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Sarah Spies

Choreographies of the Curatorial: Performative Trajectories for Choreography and Dance in the Museum

Sarah Spies
Choreographies of the Curatorial: Performative Trajectories for Choreography and Dance in the Museum

PhD Publication Series

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ISBN 9798708819697

Contemporary choreographic and curatorial practice have a somewhat contentious relationship, arguably ranging from co-operative exchanges at the vanguard of experimental artistic practice to more proprietary tensions within the neoliberal real-estate of major contemporary art institutions.  The context of this publication therefore examines the arc of curatorial frameworks that since the early 21st century continues to excavate Western contemporary choreographic practice for its potential to negotiate the systems that govern collectivity, transmission, embodiment, mediation, participation, and immaterial exchange under the ‘new’ performance turn. The performative qualities of both choreography and dance in the contemporary museum can easily be annexed under the affective economies and exhibitionary formats of the politics of display within neoliberal ideologies that circulate bodies and artistic practices via a mimesis of movement or what André Lepecki (2013) terms the mise-en-scène of ‘choreopolitics’. Yet at the same time, radical somatic practices and curatorial approaches that underscore performative embodiment and activate relational awareness of the subject in space-time also instil formats of rupture, resistance and subversion. These discreet approaches within choreographic practice, coupled with performativity as both curatorial and theoretical methodology, unearth a necessary politics of complexity for the constellations of future choreographies of the curatorial.

Sarah Spies is a choreographer, performance curator and senior lecturer in contemporary dance and performance art. She works with Manchester-based artists-led curatorial collective Accumulations on collaborative curatorial practice, DIY strategies for curating process-orientated arts practice and research-based public programmes. She has created funded performative and curatorial work within international gallery and festival settings and has published on time-based media and performance. She is part of the international exchange programme MAHALA/Temporary Occupations and AFiRIperFOMA Biennial.

PhD Publication Series
This publication is based on the thesis and exhibition completed as part of the PhD in Practice in Curating Program, a joint doctoral program of the Zurich University of the Arts and the University of Reading, supported by “swissuniversities.”


The rights of this publication remain by the author. The publication is openly accessible on the website www.on-curating.org and can be downloaded and shared under the restriction of crediting the author and/or OnCurating.org.

The Publisher is granted a non-exclusive right of use in respect of the online  publication of the work without the obligation to make use of this right. The Author is entitled to make a PDF version of the work publicly accessible online via his/her personal website, an institutional server or a suitable subject-based repository once it has appeared in book form. This usage of rights is in compliance to the requirements by the of Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF).

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