Archives for category: Choreographic Process


Screen Shot 2015-05-21 at 8.11.01 PMhas released their annual report for 2014-2015, featuring The Economic Body. The report highlights the unique collaboration between the academic field and the arts, and allows a public transparency into the project, regarding how it evolved, and what insights have been generated.
See full report.

“Genom projektet har jag lärt mig att det krävs ett sammanhang för att tvärdisciplinär diskussion och reflektion ska uppstå, och en koreograf har möjligheten att skapa detta sammanhang genom den konstnärliga processen.” – Anna-Mi Fredriksson

På vilket sätt koreograferas individers beteende av socialt konstruerade system och strukturer? I en process bestående av reflektion, diskussion och koreografiska experiment skapades The Economic Body, ett verk som belyser och problematiserar koreografins och ekonomins performativa aspekter. Bakom projektet står Anna-Mi Fredriksson, klassiskt skolad dansare tillika student vid Handelshögskolan i Stockholm. Hon har genom den studentdrivna organisationen SASSE Art Division etablerat ett unikt samarbete mellan Handelshögskolan och Weld, en konstnärsdriven plattform för dans och konst. Anna-Mi Fredriksson upplever att intresset för projektet har växt både inom och utanför samarbetsinstitutionerna.

Projektet har presenterats för en bred publik vid den internationella forskningskonferensen Art of Management & Organization (AoMO) Conference på Copenhagen Business School (CBS), på Handelshögskolans doktorspromotion i Blå Hallen, samt under två föreställningar på Weld. Vid dessa tillfällen bjöds publiken in att delta i interaktiva moment, som till exempel i processens initiala skede då en diskussion hölls med forskare och studerande inom ekonomi, sociologi, filosofi och konst, samt vid föreställningarna på Weld, där interaktiva reflektioner från publiken dokumenterades. Kulturbryggan menar att liknande frågor har ställts inom konsten tidigare, men när projektägaren ställer dessa från rätt plats – inifrån ekonomins egen högborg på Handelshögskolan i Stockholm och ges tillgång till både lärare och studenter, har man möjlighet att på allvar påverka attityder och tänkande i den ekonomiska sfären. Projektet fortätter att utvecklas. Med utgångspunkt i publikens reflektioner från Weld drivs processen vidare tillsammans med dansarna Kajsa Sandström och Mia Hjelte. Nu planeras, i samarbete med organisationen Fluxum Foundation i Schweiz medverkan i MIA Milan Image Art Fair i april 2015 samt en kortfilm för framtida utställningsmöjligheter.

” Jag upplever att det finns ett behov av att skapa fler möjligheter till utbyte av kunskap och idéer mellan den ekonomiska och kulturella samhällssfären kring hur kulturell verksamhet kan samverka med det ekonomiska området för en bättre samhällsutveckling.”
– Anna-Mi Fredriksson

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Further performances

and research is approaching for The Economic Body as the project has been invited to present at MIA Fair Milan in April 2015. The exhibition is presented in collaboration with the organization Fluxum Foundation and their interdisciplinary art space, FLUX Laboratory.

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Into a new reality

Process images
Mia Hjelte and Kajsa Sandström

How can different systems in society co-exist under unequal conditions?

you see the reality
you create a model
that changes your perception of the world
into a new world
you see a new reality
create a new model
that changes your perception of the world
into a new world
into a new reality
– Audience reflection, 24-09-2014

Two systems 

like the two poles of a magnet
as though they almost hate each other
they are inseparable
what happens when they meet on equal conditions?
can they meet on equal conditions?
do they want to meet on equal conditions?
will one overcome the other?
or are they like the poles of a magnet
destined to never meet?
Audience reflection, 23-09-2014

Two systems renegotiating dominance… #theeconomicbody

A video posted by Anna-Mi Fredriksson (@annamifred) on

Analyzing reflections

in drawings and text from the audience at Weld in Stockholm, September 2014. The analysis is part of the iterated phases that generate progress throughout the project. Further choreographic material is created based on the audience’s reflection and in that sense the choreographic process is interactive.

Many different systems
Co-exist in society
Some are more powerful than others
– Discussion participant, 31-07-2014

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23% of all thoughts

collected were expressed through drawing whereas 77% were expressed through text. A total of 115 reflections were collected out of which 27 were drawings. Results from two performances a Weld in September 2014 in response to the phrase “Please draw or write down your thoughts”.

“Could these thoughts and ideas have been expressed if drawing was not an option?”
– Participant, 24-09-2015

Drawings vs text bw

A progression

of the project based on previous work.

More than 100 reflections from the audience at Weld in September 2014 are being processes and analyzed. This work is done together with Mia Hjelte and Kajsa Sandström, two Stockholm-based artists. 

I keep thinking about the difference between asking a question and doing a question. Only through doing can an understanding be achieved of what has been done. Perhaps that is where ‘the economic body’ is – in the doing of the question.
– Audience reflection, Weld, 2014-09-24

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The initial research

phase is documented as a short film from the Weld artist residency in July 2014.

A film by Anna-Mi Fredriksson
Dancers Sandra Gerdin & Kajsa Sandström
Cinematographer Erik Widman


A: So, can’t we be intuitive?
B: I don’t think we can ever be purely intuitive. Because we are born into a culture. We are formed already. But we have an intuition and that’s always negotiating against this choreography that we are born into.
– Discussion participants 05-06-2014

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Two public performances

were held at Weld in Stockholm 23-24 September. As a part of the presentation, the audience was invited to participate by sharing their personal reflections about the performance.

23rd September performance

24th September performance

Notes and drawings from the participating audience at Weld,
23-24 September. Photos of the performance by Erik Widman.

Choreographic Elaboration

Analysis (CEA) is a practice developed through discussions, research, video documentation and choreography. The ambition has been to create an interdependence between artistic creation and theoretical research, a relationship that holds for all parts of the project, from sources of financing to supporting platforms and institutions, participating audiences and presentation format. 

Choreography is commonly analysed through movement analysis (e.g. Laban 1966). However, I am interested in choreography as an analytical tool for studying organisational behaviour. This implies that the choreographic process is an analytical process in itself. Consequently, movement is not used as a means for illustration or representation but rather in a performative sense. I use the term elaboration to emphasize an ongoing dialogue with an audience of diverse ideological standing points. The elaborating format has been particularly important in cross-disciplinary discussions about economics, since it is an ideologically charged field with following friction between the art and commercial spheres. The aim has been to generate insights together with a participating audience, thus there is a reflexive aspect to the practice – it has impact on participants, and participants affect the outcome.

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The practice consists of five iterative stages. In the first stage, drawings and notes evoked personal reflection, similar to practice-based research influenced by phenomenology (Kozel 2007, p. 53). Secondly, reflections were connected to relevant theories in social science through a research phase and literature review. In the third stage, interdisciplinary meetings were held with participants from related fields. Two discussions, 2-3 hours each, were held with a total of 16 participants: 1 choreographer, 2 dancers, 1 art curator, 1 art critic, 1 artist, 1 sociologist, 2 MSc in Marketing, 1 PhD in Philosophy, 2 PhD in Economics, 4 BSc in Business and Economics. In the fourth stage, a choreographic concept was developed, based on drawings, discussions and movement experiments. Finally, documentation was summarised into text and visuals. The process was then reiterated to explore further questions that evolved.

Reiterating the stages, a choreographic process was held with two dancers, involving movement experiments and analysis of the recorded discussions. A semi-public viewing was held with 20 participating students and professionals in economics and arts, with a following discussion. Documentation of the process includes photos, audio, moving image, drawings and notes. The project is presented in an experience based format, involving a performance, fragments of process documentation and individual reflection.

Kozel, S. (2007) Closer: Performance, Technologies, Phenomenology. Leonardo Book Series, Cubitt, S., Eds. 

Laban, R. (1966). Choreutics. L. Ullmann., eds. London: MacDonald and Evans.

Fragments of conversation

What is it to act within a system?

A: “There are many systems that co-exist in parallel in society. Some systems are more powerful than others. Dancers are used to being a part of a system in the sense that we are used to being choreographed, organised. Therefore, a dancer may have a certain distance to the systems that one acts within, even though one can never be completely objective to it.”

B: “The question of how we are being choreographed by society is very broad. It can range from technological development, to how furniture is designed, or what norms we are surrounded by and how we think. It is a critical approach that allows us to step outside of a situation and look at it as a social construction. Thus can the economy be approached as a social construction that consists of our individual economic actions.”

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Photos © Erik Widman

Artist residency

at Weld with dancers Kajsa Sandström and Sandra Gerdin.

2014-07-21 15.27.49

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2014-06-22 14.38.08
If one approaches society as a choreography, can a remodulation of the choreographic setting help to redefine current structures? The second part of the choreographic concept was created to recordings of students’ reflections in a previous discussion. A particular part of the conversation related to female and male body language was chosen for further elaboration:

“Once there is a woman [in a leading position], the discussion usually goes: ‘She acts like a man’.”

Are there gender related aspects to rational ideals? In order to remodulate the rules of the rational choreographic setting, restricting lines were turned into into non-linearities, changing the dancer’s body language.

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Simon (1997) defines rationality of neoclassical theory as global rationality, assuming that “[…] the decision maker has a comprehensive, consistent utility function, knows all the alternatives that are available for choice, can compute the expected value of utility associated with each alternative, and chooses the alternative that maximizes expected utility.” (p.17). Contrarily, he states that bounded rationality is the kind of rationality that is consistent with our knowledge of actual human choice behavior. Bounded rationality “[…] assumes that the decision maker must search for alternatives, has incomplete and inaccurate knowledge about the consequences of actions, and chooses actions that are expected to be satisfactory […]” (p.17).

Elaborating on rational choice, a choreographic experiment was held, based on process documentation such as drawings, notes and recorded discussions. Lines were constructed along the floor as restrictions for physical movement, restricting the body from moving beyond given spatial paths. The idea was to force the body to choose between given alternatives of movement, through introducing restrictions to the kinesphere (Laban 1966), “[…] the space within the reach of the body.” (p. 10). As a result of this restriction, the body has to relate to a predetermined pattern, eliminating movement options that were possible without the restrictions. Thereafter, by introducing individual preferences to the space, such as the dancer’s preferred distance from the audience, speed, or movement preference, the body would enter a state of rational choice, as described by one of the participating researchers in economics:

“Theoretically you can define rationality quite specifically because you can say that rationality is following some kind of decision system, which can be completely individual and doesn’t have to mean that we always want things that give us the most money. It could also be that we want to be altruist. Basically, it’s just that we have some kind of decision system that we are consistent with, and irrationality then becomes when we somehow fail to live up to this consistency.”

In the choreographic experiment, the body would fail to live up to its decisive consistency when it moved beyond the outlined structure. It would then become impossible to predict which way or with what probability it would move in any direction. In this setting, the body is instructed to adjust to a predetermined pattern, which forces it to choose between given alternatives of movement. However, this concept of predetermined behaviour becomes problematic, as one of the participants expressed:

“Does this mean that the concept of rational and irrational collapses? […] We have to relate to a normative basis of rational or not rational, and that is the problem. What if instead everything was floating? Perhaps reality is like that?”

Laban, R. (1966). Choreutics. L. Ullmann., eds. London: MacDonald and Evans.
Simon, H. A. (1997) Models of Bounded Rationality, Vol. 3. MIT Press.