Isabel Lewis – danceWEB Scholarship Mentor 2024
Having had a long history of collaboration with the ImPulsTanz Workshops I am particularly excited to take on this new role as the danceWEB mentor in 2024. The ImPulsTanz Workshop programme has always been a place that has invited and encouraged me to radically experiment with my practice and to share this process with others. In a time where the demand for and expectation of visibility is so high, we may often feel hesitant to allow ourselves to dive into unknown possibilities in front of one another. In honoring the space that has been extended to me over the years at ImPulsTanz, I would like to consider the summer programme as such a space of intention for giving oneself the permission to escape the habit (and requirement) of representing a coherent and continuous image of oneself or one’s work AND for the collective effort of hosting and holding a compassionate space for taking such risks. I want to attend to our differences with care and respect and not impose an idea of a shared common ground. I want to attend to time-based dramaturgies and compositions from the bodily perspectives of the experiential, the relational, and the situational that are not limited to a particular format or mode of presentation. I want to reflect together on aesthetics and find connections with contemporary discourses in art, fashion, music, architecture and beyond! I want to dance together! I want to take into consideration the situatedness of all forms of knowledge, creative processes, and artistic gestures and reflect upon the ways we mediate our relations within our “biosocial surround,” paying close attention to the intersections of artistic practice and ecological thinking/doing. I am very much looking forward to working with you and experiencing how you articulate your artistic wants and desires for this shared time.
Isabel Lewis (born in Santo Domingo, in 1981) is a Dominican-American artist active in the fields of theater, music, and dance and is particularly recognised for introducing the format of the “occasion” to the field of Contemporary Art with her presentations of An Occasion hosted by Isabel Lewis at the Biennial of Moving Images at Centre d’Art Contemporain Genève in 2013 followed by Frieze Art Fair London in 2014. Through persistent experimentation and embodied research methodologies, Lewis creates formats for alternative modes of sociality between human and more-than-human agents. For Lewis any given format suggests ways of ordering the sensible and so how to engage with the format is a deeply political question. “Occurrences”, “arrangements”, “activations” “expanded viewings”, “sensory parcours” as well as workshops, listening sessions and lecture performances are to be found in the history of the artist’s work. Trained in literary criticism and philosophy and with her artistic roots in dance, Lewis employs an expanded sense of the choreographic that centers its focus around generating affective bodily experiences that address all of the senses in her collaborative practice which includes architects such as Juan Chacón of Zuloark, scientists such as Sissel Tolaas, theorists such as classicist Brooke Holmes, and composers such as LABOUR among other practitioners.
Lewis has created works around such topics such as open-source technology and dance improvisation (Communal EPIC Fiction, 2010), dances as cultural storage systems (Mountain Grass, Mountain Hare: bodily imprinting and social dances, 2012), future bodily techniques (BALLISTIC BODY, 2011), rapping as an embodied speech act (FLOW PLAY: Sensualized Speech and HipHop, 2013), and the sociological concept of erotic sociability (Unambitious Stripper, 2017-ongoing). Lewis’s work has been presented by Dia Art Foundation, Tate Modern, Kunsthalle Basel, Liverpool Biennial, Serpentine Galleries, Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Tanz Im August, Kampnagel, Gropius Bau, Göteborg International Biennial for Contemporary Art, Palais de Tokyo, Ming Contemporary Art Museum, Sharjah Biennial, Karachi Biennial Trust, and Kunsthalle Zürich among others. In 2021 she became Professor of Performative Arts at the Hochschule für Grafik und Buch Kunst, Leipzig (Fine Art Academy Leipzig).