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DANCING ONTOPOWER (2017) - Diego Gil

“Dancing ontopower” is a dance lecture performance that by embodying concepts of process philosophy, attempts to do instantaneous (and spontaneous) research creation at the very moment of encounter with the audience. Through talking and moving at a continuous pace, the environment of perception becomes a tensile fabric of experience for half born thoughts to be held as a temporary collective between performer and participators.

The concept of “ontopower” is researched through the writings of the latest books of philosopher Brian Massumi: “The Power at the End of the Economy”, “Ontopower” and “The Principle of Unrest”. The research is also complemented with associated concepts by philosophers Alfred North Whitehead and Gilles Deleuze.

In its basic sense “ontopower” refers to the power to trigger emergent processes that give birth to concrete perceptions through the body senses. Its aim is to bring to the foreground of human recognition certain types of knowledge disciplines (by pushing to the background others). According to philosopher Brian Massumi, in our contemporary post 9/11 society, the dominant mode of ontopower is “preemption”: the operation exercised at the immanent moment in which a process begins to take an actual perceivable form. “Preemptive power” is used with more force in the military complex but is found in each institutional structure of the neoliberal system: politics, economy and culture.

By researching the concept of “ontopower” through a mode of performative technique of physical movement and talk, the attempt is to develop a pedagogical tool - that ‘practices’ what it ‘theorizes’- and that offers a lived experience of what affective experiences of counter dominant powers could look and feel like.

This project has been supported by the Humanities PhD program of Concordia University, Montreal.

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