Collective embodiment workshop

by Adam Drewes and Trine Friis Sørensen

The collective embodiment workshop was based on some experiences from the Humanities Unplugged symposium in Berlin in 2010. The Crisis Centre and in particular the schizoanalytic workshop seemed to suggest that we as PhD students share a number of personal problems and insecurities relating to academia. The Berlin workshops were concerned with the personal and an opening up of the personal to the collective as well as a shift in between these two positions. For the London workshop we wanted to extend a little on these experiences and invest ourselves in the collective i.e. to collectively embody the (individual) insecurities relating to academia.

Workshop set-up: Two circles of chairs, one surrounding the other. Chairs facing each other.

We asked the workshop participants to write down a personal problem relating to academia, the crisis etc. using a plural form i.e. “Our problem is…” or “We find it difficult…” The problems were then collected and half of the participants got a problem (which was not their own) and were asked to sit in the inner circle. The other half of the participants was asked to sit in the outer circle facing a person from the inner circle. The participants had 5 minutes to have a one-on-one discussion about the problem and write down a solution. Then the people in the outer circle would move one seat and have a new conversation about a different problem.

The workshop ended when the conversations came full circle. See problems and solutions from the workshop here: Problems and solutions

Before we started the workshop, we talked a little about a happening by Allan Kaprow called Fluids. It was first realized in 1967 at various public locations in Pasadena and Los Angeles and involved the construction of 20 enclosures with ice blocks, as described in the score:

The happening raises some interesting questions about (im)material labour and about being together and working together. As such, it could be a way of thinking about the workshop.

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