Shifting Backstages and Frontlines of Embodiment
Series of Lectures 2017 curated by Dr. Sacha Kagan
Backstages are spaces where crucial things happen, which we however tend to leave out of public focus, away from scrutiny. They are not socially presentable. They often reveal some interesting aspects of the issues we are grappling with, difficulties we have, and mechanisms behind our public, on-stage, highlighted actions and interactions. They point at some strings and tricks that we may not want to stress, but that play an important role in the background of our personal and social lives.
Frontlines are the spaces where burning issues and contested topics are fought over or forging lines of discussions. They crystallize oppositions, at risk of simplifying complex relations. Sometimes, backstages move to frontlines, or vice versa. Some spaces might even be both frontlines and backstages at once, and the relative positions of frontlines and backstages may shift more or less quickly.
Embodiment is a common denominator across most of the bodywork, ‘sex-positive’, BDSM and queer practices hosted at the Xplore festival. However, it is often discussed exclusively under a positive light and without enough attention to its backstages and to the ambivalences and ambiguities at play on some of its frontlines. This year, the ‘Lecture Play Space’ of Xplore (a merger of the ‘Silent Space’ and the reflection space formerly called ‘Xplore Symposium’) will point our attention to “Backstages and Frontlines of Embodiment”, inviting participants to ponder over embodiment without sticking to the easiest tracks and most agreeable thoughts.
At the personal level, the insides of our bodies are at once backstages and frontlines of embodiment. Xplore lecturers will explore the relations between inner organs and the inner self (Marius Presterud) and the violent dialogue between auto-immune diseases and one’s body (Nathalie Blanc).
At the social level, the practices and communities forged by the sex-positive and associated movements, also have a more shadowy and often less reflected relation to the current socio-economic order and mechanisms of global capitalism in its ‘neo-liberal’ form (Peter Banki).
In the meanwhile, the specific ensemble of corporeal, personal and social practices of BDSM operates at a threshold that increases the shifting and blurring of backstages and frontlines, interlocking the real and the fictional, allowing a richly ambivalent access to our imaginaries (Regine Herbrik). BDSM may even eventually shift from backstages to frontlines of society by training a sagacity that allows to break through the dominant fear of complexity that produced too manichaean ethics and a dialectic illusion of resolution of complex dilemmas (Sacha Kagan).
Creating Sex Positive Spaces by Felix Ruckert
Berlin Lecture/ May 2018