Protest as choreography
Choreographic principles (add photos here as we get the copyright)
The score consists of the meditative action of walking, running and standing in circles. It is an ongoing insistence on exploding the space with the only action of running and walking bodies into several climaxes inspired by Hatuka’s term ‘Choreography of Protest’. A guiding question for this score is ‘What is the ecstatic energy of a mass of bodies in a (performative) space?’. The piece consists of a durational insistence of one living system (the radar) in the space through a real-time mediation of strangers (the participants). In some editions of the piece (depending on duration) the audience gradually becomes participants as well. The score is accompanied by voice. The participants form a drone choir, going from low drone humming into a loud drone scream.
The principles of walking, running, standing and use of circles can be found in various forms of public manifestations and protests:
Vertical movement/stasis/ standing
1. The Tank Man from 1989, is an unknown Chinese protester who stood alone in front of a column of tanks on Tiananmen Square calling for an end to violence and bloodshed against pro-democracy demonstrators.
2. The Standing Man from 2013, is the artist Erdem Gündüz, who stood quietly in Istanbul's Taksim Square as a protest against the conservative government of Erdoğan. His standing provoked a silent struggle across Turkey for the right to protest.
Marching/ linear movement
3. The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, 1963. The March sought to address the conditions under which most Black Americans were living at the time. It was before this gathering that the day’s most prominent speaker, civil-rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech.
4. The asylum seeker march was carried out in Norway by 45 Afghan asylum seekers and refugees and their allies in 2007. The march followed the old pilgrimage route from the historical church Nidarosdomen in Trondheim, Norway all the way to the parliament in Oslo marking the one year anniversary of a 26-day hunger strike the year before protesting Norway's policies on returning refugees back to Afghanistan.
5. During the Arab Spring and the so-called 15 May events 1000 Pro-Palestinian protesters stormed the border from Syria into Israel in 2011. One protester made it all the way to Yafo and had a coffee at a shop before he was arrested.
Circular movement/ centripetal force
6. Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, 1977. During the military dictatorship in Argentina it was illegal to stand in a group of more than three people in a public place because it was considered a potential protest. But this did not stop the mothers who had their children taken from them in the night. They began to walk around the Plaza de Mayo in a circle, white scarves on their heads. These meetings of a few women turned into a ritual that is still practiced in the square today.
7. ‘Liberated Gwangju’: Protesters gather at the roundabout in front of Provincial Hall in Gwangju, May 26, 1980 which marked the first step of the overthrow of the military dictatorship in South Korea. ‘The roundabout organized the protest in concentric circles, a geometric order that exposed the crowd to itself, helping a political collective in becoming’.
8. Tahrir Square, Cairo, February 2011 during the Arab Spring: ‘These images became the symbol of the revolution that led to the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak… described by urban historian Nezar AlSayyad as “Cairo´s roundabout revolution”’.
Examples of choreographic principles from protests and manifestations not used in ALL:
‘Taking the knee’
9. The Black Lives Matter (BLM) political and social movement has been around for years but gained further international attention during the global George Floyd protests of 2020 wherein millions of people in the U.S. and beyond protested against police violence toward Black people. A common gesture of protest in the BLM protests has been ‘Taking the knee’. The gesture can be traced back to a widely-used image of Martin Luther King, Jr. taking one knee while in prayer at a civil rights march in 1965.
10. The 2019–2020 Hong Kong protests, also known as the Anti-Extradition Law Amendment Bill Movement: Pro-democracy protesters, 2019, held amongst other places a sit-in in the arrivals hall of Hong Kong's airport.
11. The 2011 Israeli social justice protests were a series of demonstrations in Israel beginning in July 2011 involving hundreds of thousands of protesters wherein several of the protesters started living in tents in the street. One example are various sit-ins at tents in Rotchild boulevard. On one tent wall it was written: ‘Rotchild, the corner of Tahrir square’ as a sign of solidarity to the Arab Spring uprisings in neighboring countries.
Horizontal movement/stasis/lying (die-in)
11. ACT UP protesters did a die-in on the Champs-Elysées in Paris, France, on Dec. 1, 1994. ACT UP—the AIDS Coalition To Unleash Power—is an international, grassroots political group committed to direct action to end the AIDS crisis. The group was formed in New York in 1987 and is still active.
12. Extinction rebellion protesters have staged die-ins in various places, both indoors and outdoors. Extinction rebellion is a global environmental movement using various non-violent forms of protest and civil disobedience, with the die-in form as one of them.