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Carol Mavor: Everything is Kleptocratic: Mary Glass dances Happening (1970) - A performative lecture, rich with picture, sound and moving image

Aesthetic Seminar

2019.08.26 | Yasmin Marie Jensen

Date Thu 03 Oct
Time 14:15 17:00
Location Kasernen, Aarhus University, Langelandsgade 139, Aarhus C, Building 1584, Room 124

Anna and Lawrence Halprin, Driftwood City––Community, an environmental dance performance, Sea Ranch, California, 1968.

Consuming what one does not need, is kleptomania: desire unleashed.  Anorexia is a refusal to consume what one needs. Both are related rituals – forbidden secret activities – compensating for threatened or actual loss.  Radically, in 1968, alongside Paul Ehrlich’s The Population Bomb (which argues for zero population growth), kleptomania and anorexia developed as a feminist philosophy for women’s rights and the environment.  As the practicing psychoanalyst Xenia Godunova said in a lecture at UC Berkeley (1968): "Our irresistible tendency to steal things we do not need from the Mother (Earth), is klepto-parasitism, is kleptocratic." The famed Bay Area choreographer and dancer Anna Halprin was at Godunova’s lecture and incorporated Godunova’s philosophy into her own dance practice. In Halprin’s words: "my concern is form in nature – like the structure of a plant – not in its outer appearance, but in its internal growth process. The plant cannot be kleptocratic." In response, this lecture focuses on Mary Glass, who apprenticed with Halprin. Of note are Glass’s own struggles with anorexia nervosa and a tendency towards kleptomania, which shaped her dance piece Happening (1970). In Glass’s words: "As lover of the sea, I transported my thalasso-philia into an imaginary ocean" and tried not to be neither kleptocratic, nor anorectic. 

The seminar is public, and we welcome everybody. 

Programme: Aesthetic Seminar Autumn 2019

Seminar, Kunsthistorie, Æstetik & Kultur og Museologi, Contemporary Aesthetics and Technology, Afd. for Digital Design og Informationsvidenskab