interview || Elena Córdoba

Framework of the interview:

Elena Córdoba, choreographer

concepts / themes > lenses:

  • critical practices in ways of work and production:
  • - research vs. training – you give dance classes for a long time and are known as a good pedagogue; on the other hand, your artistic practice is research-based and you wrote a book – how do you consider the two, the research, reflection, and discursive production and the training? how you see them within education for artistic practice? what are the differences, or is the research an integral part of education?
    - exhibition context – ‘white cube’ vs. ‘black box’; exit from the theatre and its genres (you performed in a museums);

  • critical discourses in medium and form of performance:
  • - your approach to the body: body as a material (the anatomy of the body, body as the object of medicine, body as a physical existence of a human being), and body as a social subject (the way we exist as social beings)
    - interdisciplinarity – art and science; influence of visual arts; critique of the tradition of theatre in the 80s

  • critical practices related to the reflection: your informal meetings with colleagues and friends, as sharing and communicating artistic process
  • critical cultural policies:
  • - global view, internationalism vs. the local – you stayed in Madrid, all the materials on your web sites are in spanish…
    - the importance of continuity – sustainability, survival and change

  • other themes:
  • - criticality at the performing arts scene in the 80s and today – a comparison;
    - is criticality an important aspect of art? do you consider your artistic work critical? if so, please explain and try to think critical to what, and for what sake.

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    escenas discursivas_thinking laboratory: 16–21 April 2012 Matadero / El Ranchito, Madrid

    escenas discursivas_thinking laboratory:
    16–21 April 2012
    Matadero / El Ranchito, Madrid


    The final phase of the escenas discursivas research on critical discourses on the contemporary performing arts scene in Madrid is one-week thinking laboratory. It is edited by the working group involving: Ana Vujanovic, Marta Popivoda (TkH), Catarina Saraiva (El Ranchito), Isabel de Naveran and Victoria Perez Royo (Artea).

    The laboratory is meant to open the research both in terms of including more collaborators and of making it public in the context of Madrid. Making the topics and voices that appear in the research public could help a collective critical self-reflection of the actual state of affairs and a projection of the future of the scene. At the same time, the editors don’t want to keep the laboratory local-specific, although it is deeply context-based, as they believe that we share the similar obstacles, problems and precariousness at the contemporary art scene in the neo-liberal capitalist societies. Therefore we could help each other in understanding our local specificities through a wider story which is not told univocally.

    Topics of the day:

    16 April: Shaking the state of affairs – critique, resistance, alternative, invention
    (how to approach actual state of things at the scene, in the city, in society, when it does not satisfy us? between problematization and affirmation of the new)

    17 April: Performing arts in the cultural-artistic topology of the city
    (cultural policy and investment in the performing arts, relations between and meeting points of performing and visual arts, the visibility of the performing arts in the city)

    18 April: Creating the context
    (contextual approach, overcoming the prevalent neoliberal individualism, belonging and commitment, collectivity and collaboration, ethics of work)

    19 April: Go international or, else, stay local
    (how much is the global international? how much is the local authentic? opening the scene towards international context, rediscovering the local. questions of politics, aesthetics and embodiment)

    20 April: Lack of…
    (space, time, funds, resources, infrastructures… in the age of austerity. critical and alternative practices in ways of work and production, focus on common pool resources).

    21 April: Continuity, a ‘mission impossible’
    (why are we continual mostly in being discontinuous? short-termism and ‘ad-hocism’, exhaustion, fatigue and abandon. plus: how to continue with escenas discursivas?)

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    interview || Óscar Cornago

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    interview || Monica Valenciano

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    interview || Javier Garcia Yagüe

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    interview || Elena Córdoba

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    interview || Amalia Fernández

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    interview || Victoria Pérez Royo

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    interview || Carlos Marquerie

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    interview || Jaime Conde-Salazar

    Actors / agencies of the scene addressed by the interview:

    Jaime Conde-Salazar
    -       Fields of study/research: art history, dance history, performance studies, dramaturgy

    -       Colección “Documentos de Danza” (Universidad de Alcalá)
    -       Cairon. Revista de Estudios de Danza
    -       Aula de Danza Estrella Casero de la Universidad de Alcalá

    concepts / themes > lenses:

    -       critical practices related to the reflection
    (creating the space and conditions for theoretical and artistic reflections on practice – Continuum; role of (clear) theoretical concepts vs. doxa, jargon, truisms, ‘common sense’; role of dramaturgy):

    Continuum is a project developed together with Marta Muñoz, Celia Díez and Francisco Villar. Continuum has been conceived as a space for research in the fields of writing and live arts. Nowadays, our “public face” is Our “versus” now is not “market/production”. We are much more focused on challenging artistic and academic disciplines and conventional thought based on “theory/practice” dichotomy.

    Regarding the (clear) theoretical concepts. During the nineties some historians studied that period in Barcelona and produced seminal works that offer a complete overview of the scene in that city, and that help having a more or less complete idea of what is going on there nowadays. But, as far as I know, nobody has ever made a comprehensive historical approach to the contemporary scene in Madrid. And I think I am not too wrong if I say that “clear theoretical concepts” that could help us thinking about the context we live in, don’t exist, haven’t been produced or discussed yet. Probably, you are the first ones seriously trying to do that job!!! Maybe that’s why I am so enthusiastic and interested about your project.

    I prefer using “dramaturgist” rather than “dramaturg” to name my work participating in creation processes. My case is unusual in the Spanish context because I actually was trained in the field of dramaturgy during my MA studies at NY University. It was in that time that I learned for the first time about the role of the “dramaturgist”.  But nowadays, I don’t believe that those “courses on dramaturgy” made me more “dramaturgist” than, for example, my studies in Art History. The figure of the dramaturgist is, somehow, special. I don’t think it would make much sense to define a specific curriculum in dramaturgy. Somehow, education in this peculiar field depends more on each one’s interests, desires, experiences, etc. and it is something that each individual has to trace along his/her career. There are many artists willing to incorporate dramaturgists in their creation process. At least I am regularly invited to collaborate in different projects and that makes me think that artists are aware of this possibility. Besides “dramaturgy” is something that can be applied to creation projects but also to other fields like visual arts, programming, cultural management etc. The field of work of dramaturgy is quite wide.

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    interview || Juan Domínguez

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