Tour Through Thoughts for Sophia Hörmann and Uri Shafir

Tour Through Thoughts for Sophia Hörmann and Uri Shafir

In the frame of the Dance Hub exchange 2020/2021, Uferstudios Berlin is welcoming artists selected by danceWEB and ICI-CCN de Montpellier in their activity Tour Through Thoughts 2021 // Uferstudios Berlin.

danceWEB selected the Austrian choreographer and performer Sophia Hörmann for this slot and ICI-CCN de Montpellier the artist Uri Shafir.


Tour Through Thoughts 2021 // Uferstudios Berlin

Each January Uferstudios Berlin organised, in collaboration with contemporary dance festival Tanztage Berlin, the Tour Through Tanztage. A ten-day exploration of the festival's program alternated with talks on artist's practices and interests. Seven artists, four from Berlin and three international ones, dove into an intense period of seeing all the performances, talk about them and discuss the topics present in their own works. The shared time, the collective watching, the ongoing exchange on the works seen created a true sense of immersion in artistic ideas (and a lot of other stuff). 

But now there is corona. We cannot meet people live. We cannot go to the theatre. But we still hope for artistic inspiration through togetherness. 

That is why Uferstudios wants to invite you into a new online series Tour Through Thoughts. 

Again seven dance and performance artists meet for an extended period of time. Unfortunately, we cannot experience the joy of going to the theatre and see performances. We will have to inspire each other! In the online Tour Through Thoughts each artist will introduce themselves and their work according to a list of questions. We hope to stir reactions and statements, opinions and experiences from the others. Not to 'judge' the work but to start the artistic exchange.

Besides the introduction we ask each artist to address a topic of importance to them. This topic could be related to their work or stand outside it. We aim to dive in together. We could watch a recommended documentary, read a text and call in some input, inspiration of enlightenment from an outside guest. As a basis for our talk. In this way the group can help to further the knowledge on the topic for the artist addressing it. And each of us others will get to know six other topics more extensively. 

Tour Through Thoughts asks for your investment, your responsibility to want to meet and exchange. 

First session / getting to know each other & the topics: 15 January 15 - 17 hours
Second Session: Wednesday 20 January 15 - 17 hours
Third Session: Friday 22 January 15 - 17 hours
Fourth Session: Monday 25 January 15 - 17 hours
Fifth Session: Wednesday 27 January 15 - 17 hours
Sixth Session: Friday 29 January 15 - 17 hours
Seventh Session: 1 February 15 - 17 hours
Eight Session: 4 February 15 - 17 hours

Artists involved: Alexandra Zoe, Pamela Barberi, Ula Liagate, Robin Levroos, Maraina Romaganani, Sophia Hörman (danceweb), Uri Shafir (ICI-CNN), Inge Koks, Simone Willeit 

Tour Through Thoughts was a guided & shared do-it-yourself exercise. It was the alternative format to our Tour Through Tanztage, that Uferstudios Berlin had planned in collaboration with contemporary dance festival Tanztage Berlin/ Sophiensaele. Due to the cancellation of the festival and travel restriction, we altered the format, yet keeping the underline aim and impetus alive. Originally it was planned as a ten-day exploration of the festival's program, watching performances, studio visits in alternation with talks on artist's practices and interest. The shared time, the collective watching, the ongoing exchange on the works should have offered a true sense of immersion in artistic ideas. 

Alternatively, we developed the online lab Tour Through Thoughts: four dance and performance artists from Berlin and three artists from Italy/Berlin, Israel, Austria met for an extended period of time. The aim of these meeting was to meet and support eachother, reflect on those very challenging days, learn how to express their artistic thougths, plans and questions, practice how to pitch their ideas and preliminary work, how to introduce themselves, experiment how to analyse, reflect and incorporate feedback from others towards their own ideas, and ,viceversa, practicing how to give feedback by stepping away from one’s own aesthetic or artistic subjectivity towards following and understanding the intention and the means used by others. 

In the online Tour Through Thoughts each artist was to introduce themselve and their work according to a list of questions. The sessions were moderated by Amsterdam based dramaturg Inge Koks and Uferstudios manager Simone Willeit. We encouraged them to use different media, using video recordings, sketching out pencil drafts, referring to other artists they are influenced by, or by sharing common theory, poetry and films, physical exercises or rituals as set up and contextualization for their own work. We also asked to clearly formulate what questions, what agenda they would expect to be discussed regarding their work or a broader artistic topic. These agendas were to formulate a wider aspect of their artistic practice and knowledge, that might not concern only their specific work, but wider tendencies they could discover withing the dance field/artistic scene/politics/society. 

In summary the lab really showed the tremendous need to get involved into artistic discussion, especially since many were cut of their physical practice at the time due to CoV restriction. It allowed them to concentrate on introducing, mediating and pitching their own work on first contact - a skill especially young, unknown artist urgently need once confronted with contacting venues, curators, directors. It enabled them to immerse into very different artistic ideas, methods, practices and analytically understand them – a skill not only useful for professional watching, but elementary for their own creation. Last but not least it gathered a huge pool of knowledge, and knowledge transfer on theory, recommended literature, works to be explored, potential contacts to be established. 

It was very demanding holding up an intense discussion energy via videoconference only. It definitely seemed to slow down wider or wilder discussion, framing participants into very orderly question-answer settings. Yet it also showed, that not “experiencing” a work but only hearing of a work/artistic practice is a very subjective experience that mainly strives discussion towards the maker, but rarely within the group. Unfortunately, also the wider topics – the ones beyond the participants own work – were challenged by a very remote abstract feeling. Nevertheless, dealing with all this only online and the necessity to gather tools on how to enliven digital sessions, how to embrace physical distancing and open up towards a more playful, creative usage of digital media and all its potential, was as much of a learning effect, as were the contents of the discussed artistic works.


Collective mourning / public mourning: political ; Framing of mourning ; Commodification of grief; Fetish of autonomy: interdependency of beings / vulnerability; Individualism denies interdependency; Mourning: a signifier of a healthy life; Saying goodbye is necessary for life; Radical hope: actualization of hope through mourning; Activeness (mourning) - Passiveness (grief); Mourning shows us what we value and are connected to; Where there is grief there is rage (An Carson); Sacrifice of live in capitalism; Gathering around grief is important; Antropoceen / focus on humans; New rituals; Acting as a way of ‘exploring people’; Rediscovering & redefining in acting; Opening up perspectives; Allowing yourself (to break the rules for example): act of liberation; Mourning / grief as a source of creation; Catharsis; Ecosystemic strategies; Ecosystemic performativity; How can performance avoid to be focused on the performer?; Response-ability ; Importance of familiarity in work and practice / notions of support; Mother’s bodies; Naturalism as arguments or prove of truth; Research in online performance; Romanticization of Motherhood; How to not be representational?; Importance of water as new way to see life / society; How does patriarchy work in society and how is it reproduced by it’s members? ; Site specific ness in art; Co-creation; Use of different art forms in one; Conventions of / in art; Heritage & legacy in art; Decentralizing of the performance / the performer; What do we see / what don’t we see: steering of audience gaze?; Text is grounding meaning; Opening up audience imagination; How are narratives created? What are their importance?; Naivety in art: approach form a naive place; Intentional stupidity as strategy in making art; How is audience involved in the intentions behind creation?; Relationship between object and performer; Urgency & necessity: to be formulated to convince funding bodies; How does art contextualize itself? Is art relevant when it is activism? ; Space for the not knowing ; Absurdity, silliness, lightheartedness; Serious Sillyness, Conceptual Lightheartedness, Relevant Frivolity, Urgent Entertainment, Humorous Activism, Reasonable Absurdity; Different ways of looking / Different ways of engagement (passive - active); Caring for the instruments of creation (in details, research……..); The difficulty of the many roles of the maker; Visibility of puppeteer: agency & responsibility on stage; Challenging of audience expectations; Value of ceremonies in life / especially now with corona; Being inside and outside of an art project: creating, performing and documenting; Social art - bringing attention to people / topics ; Social art - approaches for people who are not familiar with art?; Can art help people?; Empathy’s role in art?; Documenting the meeting / the getting to know….; Conviviality - ‘being nice to people’ - how to do this? Through rituals & traditions? Other acts, gestures? Does it need to be recognized as such to have an impact?; The shared knowledge of rituals can make them a safe place (?) to relax and be at peace.; Is the unknown unsafe?; Cross-generational aspects of rituals / traditions ; Tea ceremony: taking time, complexity of procedure, state of being, past, knowledge; Blurring layers of intimacy and daily life; Appropriation: what can one use from other people’s culture? when? under which circumstances? How does power come into play? Profit? Visibility? Misrepresentation? Precarity?; Failure as an (artist) proposal ; How to get rid of a neutral body?; What is a neutral body?; The relationship between representation, self staging, and selfview; Competition in art world; Durational work ; The body understood in a material way; What does physical intimacy mean to us?; Vulnerability as strength or resilience ; Speechlessness: no expression of the self; In relation to giving voice to or the wish for visibility?; Fear of vulnerability ; How goes the process of victimization? ; Is vulnerability a privilege? Vulnerability as a place of choice making? Showing your vulnerability? ; How do we experience through physical trauma?; Care for words; Experience is wordless; Multiplicity: I am many; How do we make existing choreography happen ‘live’?; What is the essence of liveness? What does it need? How is it relating to nowness?; How is audience perspectives / experience involved in liveness?; How is the performing body involved in liveness?; Is not knowing important for liveness? As acts of re-inventing and re-discovering?; Not knowing is the motor of what we actually see; Death of the author or agency involved in liveness?; Idea of caring as a body of knowledge or transmittance of knowledge ; Boredom: researching the boundaries of performance; What is the biggest freedom? Being part of a machine, following desire?; Strategies of not knowing; The idea is not in dance; How to choreograph experience?; Sick practice; Wellbeing a privilege; What is healthy? What is a sick body, a healthy body? No distinction between the two: blurring the two as a potential of looking different; Abandoning your body = freedom; Sickness as potential for space; Practice of not knowing / of expansion / through non-rationality; What is the point of the body when words are so important?; Precarity becomes movement; Practice of no name giving; Taking care versus having each other’s back; The importance of trust in creation; Different interpretation of the concept of freedom;  


View the artistic experience report in the upper right column.

27.12.20 - 04.02.21

Online activity

supported/organized by Uferstudios