In the face of a world pulling apart, we insist on being together.

Change is in the air.

Right now how we can be together has changed. However, a crisis was already with us before the pandemic. Art Stations Foundation, CounterPulse, and Movement Research partnered to create an international, intergenerational conference in Poland in June of 2020 to address this crisis. A crisis precipitated by growing extremism and polarization tearing at the fabric of inter-human and interspecies relations, and our connection to nature.

The center of the earth is directly beneath each of us. We have something in common. 

This project was originally designed as an in-person gathering-and in-person remains the ultimate aim-meant as an opportunity to pause, an invitation to suspend business as usual, a chance to create time, and make space for deep reflection on the global circumstances of our era. Little did we know that there would be no need to contrive the conditions under which to be suspended, that a pandemic would arrive and enforce such a pause. A pause greater than we could have imagined. Inside that pause, our intent is reborn stronger. 

Grand re Union is a revival and embrace of the spirit of being united in collective thinking, acting, and dancing.

We conjure the first horizontal improvisational collective Grand Union, established in 1969 by protagonists of postmodern dance. Grand re Union exercises the choreographic traditions borne of that time-renewing the knowledge created then, and adding to it the practices flourishing in the field since. Furthermore, we attempt to map this zeitgeist, proposing that coherence, while akin to control, is in service to organizing our collective power. And we crave action.

Choreographing change. Dancing our resistance. Collaborating on connecting.

Still centering the generative act of being together while unhinging from geographies gives us the opportunity to transcend ephemerality for a moment. Togetherness for us now is a shared focus on this act of mapping. Grand re Union moves from being a ten-day in-person gathering to a two-year platform for commissioning, collecting and archiving the wisdom of our fields. A group of practitioners, thinkers, writers, and scholars will generate a monthly online magazine with associated live online meetings and off-screen activities (and we hold space for localized in person gatherings as possible) aimed at documenting, while also cultivating and transmitting, relevant knowledge and practices honed in dance, movement, and choreographic reflection and creation. The magazine will be accompanied by the book contextualizing the generated and collected practices. We search out ways to extend existing and create new frameworks to reach beyond the dance field to likely and unlikely collaborators and conspirators.  We welcome the friction that emerges between new acquaintances and new ideas. 

We show up to be changed, and by extension, change the world. Together.

So we begin again. We believe resistance and sustainable change to the dominant world order is possible. It is happening before our eyes just now. Choreographic practices provide alternative ways of being human, of being in the world with each other, and being in relationship to nature; of caring for each other and with each other. The only way out is through, and we want to co-map the way.

We know that there is much that we do not know. We are also aware that mapping is and has always been a political project. In every map there is just as much information missing as is present. And so we chose to focus on practices that help us navigate not knowing. We find two areas that are distinctly relevant in this. The first is the plethora of somatic practices that in our digital, disembodied times reconnect us with physical experience and return to us a grounded awareness of our own body as well as respectful possible interaction with other bodies. The second is improvisation, perceived as a laboratory for brave and generous experimentation toward testing and developing the necessary adaptability to respond to ever-changing realities through considerate participation.

We unite in radical connection, transdisciplinarity, and post-hierarchical collective actions. 

We commit to the political potential of live gathering. We will start now with the launch of platform and  gathering online (20.06) and from September 2020, we will continue monthly (every 3rd Saturday).  Then in the near future hopefully we can convene local gatherings, and eventually, we desire to meet all together in-person across the borders of nations, and place, and time. The diversity of these frames will enable us to experience and reflect on the potential of varied ways of being together and supporting each other. We intend each gathering to strengthen us all in our everyday encounters during the pandemic and beyond.

It is our expressed desire to remain responsive within the shifting realities both local and global. The Project Statement for Grand re Union is therefore perpetually re-written and re-choreographed by project participants. Each months‘ rewriting leaves a trace of what came before, while also forming anew – a palimpsest emerges both literally and as a metaphor for intergenerational sharing and co-mapping.

Project Statement Re-write

The project statement for Grand re Union is perpetually re-written and re-choreographed by project participants. Each months’ rewriting leaves a trace of what came before, while also forming anew – a palimpsest emerges both literally and metaphorically. This process invokes co-creation as a necessary dimension of more complicated collectivism, with each iteration shifting and problematizing the content and the notion of authorship. How are we synthesizing and adding to the collectively generated ideas of our time?

Below is a chronicle of the writings that have laced through the Grand re Union project over the last year, rewriting will continue through June of 2021. A deliberate move away from legibility and simplicity, a parallel reading of these texts cracks open more space between the lines, inviting many meanings by design.