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Exhibitions : PARCELLA - September 9th
07. 30 minute performance


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Katarina Sevic
Social Motions, 2007

I used Skulpturenpark as a stage for a mass choreography. The initial idea for the project was based on the notion of mass ‘patterns’, the connections and contradictions in the very basic of the conceptual, symbolic and aesthetic values of the phenomena of mass (physical) displays. I was always fascinated by the (un)controlled power of a mass and the unified dynamics of individuals under a common goal. I found interesting relationships and similarities between past and present forms of mass displays, such as protests, group gymnastics, ritual gatherings, social movements, processions, and simple everyday routines.
Varying from the extreme right to the extreme left, from socialism to fascism, ‘coordinated movements’ of thousands of human bodies offer us precise readings of the society as a whole.

" …the aesthetic pleasure gained from the ornamental mass movements is legitimate…
The structural principle upon which they are modeled determines them in reality as well.”
(The Mass Ornament, Siegfried Kracauer, 1927)

Social Motions experiments with the idea of mass patterns and motions of different scale, defined by our cultures or everyday habits. Whether in order and rehearsed or spontaneous and self-organized, social formations reveal how a society orders itself, and at times, legitimizes certain ideologies. In this ‘choreography’, I attempted to subvert the conceptual, aesthetic, and symbolic values inherent in these forms by borrowing their gestures. As a ‘’choreographer’’, I implicated myself as a facilitator, and observer of those who would otherwise be the audience.

Volunteers of all ages and backgrounds were invited to participate. Numerous Berlin-based groups, civil organizations, schools, clubs, art or media spaces, and individuals were contacted for this purpose. The event was performed without previous rehearsals and planned without a fixed number of participants. On the day, nearly 120 individuals joined the mass. The performance was documented on video and photo as participants walked across the park following a few rules:

Walk slowly
Walk very slowly, in unison. Adjust to the pace of others around you.
Maintian a fixed distance
Always keep two meters distance from one another. Collectively, participants will construct hexagonal formations and should maintain this form throughout.
Quiet
Performance should happen in silence without background music, sound, slogans, or conversation.



Project assistants: Olga Moskatova, Gergely László
Photo documentation: Arja Hyytiainen, Thorsten Kirchhoff, Marcin Szumilas
Video: Matthias Einhoff, Andreas B. Krüger, Carolin Nuwanda, Jack Pam, Katarina Sevic

Text by Katarina Sevic