MOVE ! Body Politics in Motion MOVE ! Body Politics in Motion MOVE ! Body Politics in Motion MOVE ! Body Politics in Motion

MOVE ! Body Politics in Motion

8 July - 18 September 2022

Those who dance move and those who move change. Everyone who dances sets the world around them in motion and expresses what moves them. Dancing together is a source of energy and release, pleasure and protest.

With MOVE ! Body Politics in Motion, MU zooms in on the liberating power of the dancing body. From rave to ballroom, from peepshow to festival, from TikTok to street parade; how and where we dance contributes to who we are. From young to old, alone at home in front of the mirror or all dressed up out there and everything in between. 

Dancing is a universal ritual of all times, a dynamic expression of identity, a physical manifestation that is both vulnerable and extremely strong. Movement speaks the non-verbal language of rhythm and emotion. Especially in times of radical changes and major crises, dance can allow our bodies to speak in all their unity and diversity.

Participating artists
Albert van Abbe & Brad Downey, Chiara Baldini & Rafael KozdronBogomir DoringerBart Hess, Kiki House of Angels, Anouk KruithofJess Oberlin, Naja Orashvili & Koka Kitia & Giorgi Kikonishvili, Maggie Saunders

The exhibition is a collaboration between MU and Plasma / Jess Oberlin
Exhibition partner: Q21 / Museumquartier Wien
Campaign image by Bart Hess. Type + design by HeyHeydeHaas

Reflections (2022) - Jess Oberlin. Image: Max Kneefel

With Reflections, Jess Oberlin  confronts the viewer with the iconic mirror balls of disco culture as if they were dance partners. The disco ball represents the shared joy of the dance floor and shows us our multiple selves. It is a symbol of freedom, joy, togetherness and movement within the club culture.

On the dance floor and in dark clubs, we come together to be or to discover ourselves, under the shining eye of the disco ball. She is the silent witness of shared emotion, she helps us shapeshift, and her fluid light resists the urge to define the night or ourselves. The play of light masks the emptiness by adding atmosphere and dissolving the walls. Where do you end and space begins?

Share your own disco ball with Jess via Instagram (hashtags #MOVE!, #Reflections, #Discoforever, #mirrorballrooms), and listen to the Playlist she created specially for this work.

Striptopia Peep Show, Maggie Saunders (2020). Performance at MU. Image: Max Kneefel 

In times of COVID-19 restrictions, many sex workers were left without work or governmental support. Although they pay taxes via their exploitant, they are neither self-employed nor on anyone’s payroll. As a result, their workspaces dissolve, pushing the profession further underground. With her work, Saunders calls attention to the problems sex workers face, fighting stigma and discrimination. In this new Striptopia Peep Show for MU Saunders collaborates with Mischa Tydeman of S.A.V.E., critically addressing the plans of the mayor of Amsterdam Femke Halsema to relocate the red light district in Amsterdam. 

Ecstasy Inquiries (2022) - Albert van Abbe & Brad Downey 

In nine chapters, sound designer and audiovisual artist Albert van Abbe and artist Brad Downey draw a complex but intriguing story about the popular 'happy drug' Ecstasy, which is interwoven with dance culture. Experience the work at MU or read the essay online.

Van Abbe & Downey launch a series of 89 pills, digitally distilled from physical ones, which will be sold as NFT. This way collectors can own ecstasy by cultivating the happy drug, also still a major but illegal export product of the Netherlands, but not take it further. 

Universal Tongue (2018 - 2021) - Anouk Kruithof 

The dance-conclave Universal Tongue by Anouk Kruithof leads us through the jungle of the internet. The work explores how dance has developed throughout history as part of our global media culture, and how it nowadays manifests online. The rousing installation is based on 32 hours of video presenting thousand different dance styles, collected from YouTube and Instagram, and selected by a team of 50 researchers from all over the world. The ongoing loop of moving image erases typical categories of the world order, such as country, continent or culture. Instead, it looks at our era of fluidity, hybridity, and non-stop connectedness, respecting the value of our historical backgrounds, cultural differences, and individuality. 

Fun House party, Amsterdam 2014. I Dance Alone - Crowds and Gestures, Bogomir Doringer (ongoing 2014 - 2022) 

Dance is a way of socializing, non-verbal communication, a form of art, a ritualistic practice, and a political actWhether we dance alone, allow strangers into our personal space or collectively move as if we were one. I Dance Alone is Bogomir Doringer’s ongoing research into the return of politics to the dance floor. Viewing club culture as a space that has the potential to transform, empower and act as a political body when necessary. The work is part of ‘Dance of Urgency’, a concept coined by Doringer referring to dance that rises in times of personal and collective crises, aiming to empower individuals and groups.

The politics of Ecstasy (2019) - Chiara Baldini & Rafael Kozdron 

The visual translation of Baldini’s written essay The Politics of Ecstasy narrates the history of the ‘Bacchanalia Affair’: the name was given to the repression of the Bacchanalia in 186 BC in ancient Rome. The work traces the rise of collective, ritualistic intoxication and outlines the striking similarities between ancient Dionysian practices and certain modern-day electronic music events. They often share similar values - inclusivity, female empowerment, safe spaces - and ‘techniques of ecstasy’: dancing to repetitive beats and ingesting psychotropic substances. Such features lead to the posing of similar challenges to mainstream society, triggering either enthusiastic support or ferocious repression. 

Dance or Die (2019) - Naja Orashvili & Giorgi Kikonishvili & Koka Kitia

The experimental film Dance or Die looks into the political significance of dancing, and the way club spaces paved the way for completely new youth culture in Georgia. Recreating the path from ancient Georgian folkdance rituals to modern-day collective dancing for freedom at Tbilisi’s famous techno club BASSIANI. 

Still from video, Kiki House of Angels X ARK X MU

ARK and MU invited the legendary dancers of Kiki House of Angels from Rotterdam at the end of last year to dance within the setting of LAWKI–Alive: the multimedia installation commissioned by MU and Noorderlicht that recently got nominated for a Golden Calf Award. Mixing the Angels’ genderfluid energy and urban ballroom expression with the exploded artificial intelligent media set-up of ARK called for mesmerizing performances, filmed up close by two videographers.