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Blog for dancers, choreographers, critics, pedagogues


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5.5.2020, 1:38:45   |   Category: Education, Art & Society

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Hapticality or Love

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How do we care for each other in these times of pandemic isolations? When the borders and social distancing are locking us in our own bodies forced to be detached in the small bordered units prohibiting us to meet the other. Hapticality is denied by the only contact we have through screens. We need to touch, to feel the other and through the other. In their book Undercommons  Fred Moten and Stefano Harney draw on the theory and practice of the black radical tradition as it supports, inspires, and extends contemporary social and political thought and aesthetic critique. Or as Denise Ferreira da Silva writes : "In this intimate and intense example of affected writing—writing which is always already other, with an other—Harney and Moten dare us to fall." Rereading Undercommons in isolation is to recall the hapticallity within the other.  

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Hapticality, the touch of the undercommons, the interiority of senti- ment, the feel that what is to come is here. Hapticality, the capacity to feel through others, for others to feel through you, for you to feel them feeling you, this feel of the shipped is not regulated, at least not successfully, by a state, a religion, a people, an empire, a piece of land, a totem. Or perhaps we could say these are now recomposed in the wake of the shipped. To feel others is unmediated, immediately social, amongst us, our thing, and even when we recompose religion, it comes from us, and even when we recompose race, we do it as race women and men. Refused these things, we first refuse them, in the contained, amongst the contained, lying together in the ship, the boxcar, the prison, the hostel. Skin, against epidermalisation, senses touching. Thrown together touching each other we were denied all sentiment, denied all the things that were supposed to produce senti- ment, family, nation, language, religion, place, home. Though forced to touch and be touched, to sense and be sensed in that space of no space, though refused sentiment, history and home, we feel (for) each other.

from Undercommons by Stephano Harney and Fred Moten; Chapter 6: Fantasy in the hold; Hapticallity, or Love

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