Nordic Summer University July 29 – August 5

As a part of the Nordic Summer University, I will be presenting as a part of the research circle on Practicing Communities: Transformative societal strategies of artistic research:

Amnesia of Acts: toward a history of physical practice

A physical practice is not an event, but strings acts together; through physical practice one works with the body to complete a task that, for one reason or another, will be completed again and again. Consequently, if considered in relation to time, physical practice is twofold: though over time physical practice fixes memory into material bodies, through transformation over time any particular physical practice ceases to be concrete. Furthermore, physical practice is amnesiatic. When engaged in walking, speaking, dancing, inscribing one doesn’t remember nor need to remember that one is intricately remembering all the time how to do those things. The amnesiatic position inherent to physical practice relieves the doer from the need to pay attention to the act. Thus, I can forget that I remember how to walk; I walk without thinking, and thus I can think while I walk. A ‘history of physical practice,’ however, demands a reversal of physical practice. Rather than forget that one remembers, one must remember that one forgets. In my presentation at the Nordic University, I will discuss how the artistic and academic research methods I have developed in my PhD research in Early Modern Studies are rooted in such inquiry of physical practice. As an artist who moved into a traditional academic PhD program, I have sought to write not only of physical practice as a historical subject, but to consider the implications of physical practice that conditions my research. Reconsidering the physicality of history has led me to likewise reconceive of the physicality of historical practice. Lastly, I will address the historical desire to remember the remembering and give consciousness to the passage of time and thus to ourselves in the present. Through such a desire, historians have optimistically elected themselves as the consciousness for the unconscious physicality of history, the practice of time. My presentation will be given in the style of a traditional academic conference paper, as a 20- minute talk and PowerPoint followed by ten minutes of discussion. However, over the course of the presentation, an unexpected physicality will emerge.