Studies On Symbolic Violence Vol. II | Research

The research for Studies on Symbolic Violence Vol. II took place from July till September 2022 and consisted of two phases: theoretical and practical research. In the first phase, Yana Novotorova and her colleagues (Sophia Seiss, Vitalii Shupliak and Anna Lutsenko) took time to explore different sources (literature, articles, documentaries) on surveillance capitalism and the social media. The authors that the artists found most influential were Shoshana Zuboff, Noam Chomsky, Peter Promerantsev and Arne Vogelgesang. These research sessions led to fruitful discussions and conceptualisations of the future production. During the second phase, the artists took the research to the practical level, meeting in the studio to try out choreographic scores and movement ideas.

The question that served as a starting point for practical exploration was: how would a post-digital society look like? We imagined that (due to a mysterious catastrophe) all digital technology was wiped out from the face of the earth. The itdividuums that survived it were left stranded in a post-digital, post-apocalyptic dystopian world. Being so used to the symbiosis with the technology that went on for generations before them, these creatures have unlearned the means of communication that were once inherent to human kind. The only thing that was left were dysfunctional remnants of digital modes of communication, which (technology being extinct) had to take place via the only communication channel left – their bodies.

This conceptualisation became the base for the exploration of new movement material which referred to the actions that we are used to performing while using technological devices – tapping, swiping, scrolling and others. Performers explored those movements using different body parts and spacial constellations, as well as speeds and intensities. At the same time, the artists took a closer look at the use of pictorial symbols for human emotions that we have grown so attached to – the emojis. The artists explored strategies of embodying different emojis using their facial expressions, using them as means of communication and a choreographic tool.

Yana Novotorova

Sophia Seiss

Vitalii Shupliak

Anna Lutsenko

Supported by Fonds Darstellende Künste with funds from the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and Media within the program NEUSTART KULTUR