We Need to Talk about Father. (participatory practice-as-research)

We Need to Talk about Father’ is an on-going multi-disciplinary dance research practice that engages a community to interact through dialogue and dance. It gathers elements of a practice-as-research process through which the question about the nature of relationships with ‘the father’ is opened, extended and answered in many ways.

‘The child becomes, under the pressure of a patronymic, paternalistic, patrilineal and patriarchal order, the man/woman on the boundary whose human and familial status, by its very nature, had not yet been determined’ (Spillers H.J. 1987 Mama’s Baby, Papa’s Maybe: An American Grammar Book. Diacritics p.74).

The research question is how to illuminate the notion of ‘the father’ as a real human and relational experience, instead of a conceptual idea. Dance and dialogue – the embodied research of the idea of ‘the father’ – place the body as a methodology of exploration of the experience of having a father, [not] being in his (father’s) skin, or what understanding and gaps this may involve? The work aims in showing how the act of performance might give rise to some ineffable layers in the individual and quite specific father-child relationships that integrate participants/observers of the practice both as contributors, and reflectors.

This project serves as a document of interaction and the development of proximity. The body is treated as a rich archival material, a field that brings together techniques, experiences, its own history and genealogy (Folkerts, 2014).