Henry Daniel at Congress 2019

The SCA's Henry Daniel is presenting twice on Tuesday June 4 at the annual Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, organized by the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences, this year at the University of British Colombia.

First, Daniel will be giving a performative presentation, In the middle…somewhat dislocated, for the Black Canadian Scholars Association (BCSA) at 8:30 a.m. in Room 104 of the Theatre-Film Production Building, as part of the Blackness & Performativity session (which also features independent scholar and poet Kevan Anthony Cameron (SCRUFFMOUTH), presenting on “Global Playground Soccer”). Second, for the Canadian Association of Theatre Research Daniel will be part of the panel discussion, “Embodying and Reflecting upon Postmarginality on Stage and in Rehearsal Halls,” with Peter Farbridge, Diana Manole, Guillaume Saindon, and Yana Meerzon at 3:30 p.m. in Room 122 of the BC Binnings Studio.

Here are the 'abstracts' Daniel has prepared for his presentations: the is first more of an artist statement for his performance and the second a summary articulation of his ongoing larger research interests he'll bring to the panel discussion.

In the middle...somewhat dislocated

In the middle...somewhat dislocated is the title of my performative presentation. This fifteen-minute work riffs on three themes of the conference (ending antiblackness, imagining Black freedom; centering antiblackness in our scholarly analyses; and Black and decolonial futures) and presents them in the context of art as an important form of politically engaged scholarship. A single Black performer, surrounded by an audience on four sides, enter a small rectangular space and engages with the space in a textual, movement and musical exchange. The idea is in the title itself: as a Black Professor and artist/scholar working in an institution where there are so few black students – and even less in the arts – I find it extremely difficult to have a conversation about issues that concern us as a diasporic people. Since choreography is an integral part of the work I do, I feel that I need these bodies in the room to begin such a conversation. In the middle...somewhat dislocated explores what happens in those spaces when these bodies are either absent or alone. The title references an immensely successful avant-garde work by the American choreographer William Forsythe. However, that is as far as the reference goes. I am taking aim at an institutional framework that does not seem willing or able to accommodate the bodied discourses of many of its constituents.

Choreography as Cortical and Cartographic Mapping

This research project addresses a major issue of our times, namely, the complex and ongoing movement of migratory bodies across international spaces. Affected by national and global politics, security, race relations and climate change, amongst others, it is a phenomenon that also has deep roots in colonial imperialism. The research itself begins with an hypothesis, which claims that human beings are cognitively embodied through their experiences of movement through space and time; the spaces we inhabit and the practices we engage in are documented through cortical and cartographic maps. Cortical mapping is seen as a method through which the brain dynamically represents relationships between the body and its internal and external environment, and cartography a discipline that allows one to reimagine those movements in relation to geographical territory. Such a reimagining allows the dance researcher to utilise dance and choreographic practices as strategies for claiming the knowledge that is already embedded in the body and its relationship with territory. In this theory of practice, bodies become agents of performance, and dance and choreography expert practices through which the capacity for embodied knowing is cultivated. And I say cultivated because in this work embodied knowing is not a given. The following questions are therefore key to my movement practice as a research investigation: Can the movement of the human body through space and time generate a capacity for embodied knowing?; What happens when these bodies become displaced? And can a re-organization of these ‘movement maps’ create a dynamic such that the emergent knowledge is claimed by the mover?

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