Technologies of the Self collaboration Exercise the Self (Performance, May 2012)

Performance and collaboration by Olivia Haggenmacher & Robin de Vogel

Based on Technologies of the Self by Michel Foucault. During the symposium and exchange Olivia and I worked together to research the physical space between two people, the boundaries of the one and the other. The clay functioned as a medium to map and capture our actions. Through performative actions that we directed by clear instructions we challenged our physical strength and endurance while simultaneously exploring the boundaries of the self and the other. The collaboration culminated by performing a piece where we formed a wall of clay in between our bodies, only building through the resistance that the other gives when you push and vice versa. Needing the other to grow. The aim of the program was to set up a structure where participants developed criteria for their artistic attitudes and power of judgment. Through critical dialogue that reflects on the relationship between theory and practice and methods of representation. The project is about producing something that happens between ideas and which cannot be explained. Rather, we must constantly try to give it a color, a shape, an intensity that never says what it is.
Foucault describes this activity as art of life, or as a search for aesthetics of existence. This search takes place by engaging with a set of rules, styles and conventions. The cooperation project between the context course ‘art discourse’ (CH) and ‘the theory | practice course’ (NL) challenges students to reflect on their own artistic practice in its relation to technologies of control and technologies of the self. The exchange project therefore started with a close reading of a text by Michel Foucault. 
Michel Foucault: Aestetics of Existence / The Care of the Self
Original edition: M.F. Dits et Écrits, 2001 - 2005, Éditions Gallimard, Paris
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