MAPPING ARTISTIC RESEARCH AS PART OF A DECOLONIAL CHOREOGRAPHIC PRAXIS: THE CREATION OF AN ONLINE CARTOGRAPHY

MAPPING ARTISTIC RESEARCH AS PART OF A DECOLONIAL CHOREOGRAPHIC PRAXIS: THE CREATION OF AN ONLINE CARTOGRAPHY

Dr Kristina Johnstone

University of Pretoria

kristina.johnstone@up.ac.za

Julia de Rosenwerth

Rhodes University

julia.derosenwerth@ru.ac.za

Abstract

This joint presentation reflects on the creation of an online cartography as part of a recently submitted artistic research project. The cartography was developed collaboratively by researcher Kristina Johnstone and web designer Julia de Rosenwerth in search of ways to capture live dance works as research documents.  The creation of the online cartography became a means not only to archive the creative component that formed part of the research but also expose the deep structure and non-linearity of artistic practice as research. The term ‘cartography’ was deliberately chosen to describe this process. Although the practice of ‘cartography’ is at times linked to the colonisation of space (Mignolo, 2018:362), we borrow the term from Rosi Braidotti, who defines a cartography as “a theoretically-based and politically informed account of the present that aims at tracking the production of knowledge and subjectivity and to expose power both as entrapment (potestas) and as empowerment (potentia)” (Braidotti, 2018:33).  The presentation focuses on a digital walk-through of the cartography and illustrates how the cartography, as a practice of collecting various research documents, creates a parallel conversation with the text of a conventional research thesis and the live dance works that are lost in their eventfulness. Through these ponderings, we offer that online archiving both makes artistic practice momentarily stable, repeatable and transmissible (Spatz, 2020) and creates a digital art object in its own right. We question how mapping artistic research may be imagined as part of a decolonial choreographic praxis and argue that a cartography enacts the methodology of artistic research by offering a collection of momentary stabilisations, assembling instances of practice, writing and other research documents, while realising that alternative configurations of these documents remain possible and viable. 

Biographies: Kristina Johnstone & Julia de Rosenwerth

Kristina Johnstone is a Belgian South African dance artist and teacher. She has been a guest lecturer at the University of Cape Town School of Dance and the Makerere University Department of Performing Arts and Film in Kampala, Uganda. She is currently working full-time at the University of Pretoria, School of the Arts: Drama teaching Movement and Physical Theatre.

Julia de Rosenwerth is a South African movement-based artist, teacher, and web designer. She has recently completed her MA, specialising in Interdisciplinary Performance Praxis, through Rhodes University, where she currently lectures. Julia has been designing and creating websites for artists since 2015 and has recently begun to investigate the potential these web-based spaces offer for artistic research.