Over the past few decades, it has often been said that we no longer have an addressee for our political demands. But that's not true. We have each other. What we can no longer get from the state, the party, the union, the boss, we ask for from one another. And we provide.
— Brian Kuan Wood — Is it love?
I heat up, I can't cool down
You got me spinning
'Round and 'round
'Round and 'round and 'round it goes
Where it stops nobody knows
— Steve Miller Band — Abracadabra
It has been theorised that the contemporary "economy of presence" has made ﬂuid the boundaries between the professional, private and social spheres of human activity. Institutional apparatus rely on our incessant pressure to perform, where immaterial labour, personal commitment and the search for pleasure are barely distinguishable and in constant operation. In this dystopian pleasure-based economy, the conventional arbiters of value convert easily into immaterial alternatives such as emotions and experiences. Love and authenticity are the currencies of our time, exchanged alternatively through restless online posting, reproductive labour and the good vibes produced by corporate mindfulness meditation sessions. This behavioural landscape, in which it becomes unclear whether we are performing by our own will or not, makes the practice of the strike as physical absence a strategy of refusal that no longer functions. How can we withdraw from chrono-imperialist, sleepless self-performance and still claim the right to inhabit our own time? What kind of autonomous agencies can we perform in order to resist holistic burnout?
'Abracadabra' is an archaic magical incantation with opaque origins and the title of a homonymous 1980s disco hit by the Steve Miller Band. It is a performative word, suggesting the hazardous production of unforeseen surplus energy as a strategy to navigate sub-political quicksand. Staged in an electrically charged society, crisscrossed by apparently unintentional intensities and elusive forces, Abracadabra draws a line through contemporary forms of suggestion and disenchantment, the growing interest of contemporary culture in esoteric, clandestine practices, and the ecology of "the night out" as exuberant fugitive protocols. Abracadabra will investigate the imaginary and transformative force of these minor, and sometimes hidden, narratives, proposing the historically charged subculture of the dance ﬂoor as a scenario where diﬀerent times can be inhabited, animated proxies can be invented, and conditions can be staged to host embodied experiments in exuberance.
Abracadabra will privilege time-based practices, moving images and interdisciplinary research pursued individually or collectively. Applications from artists and performers whose work aims at activating spaces and landscapes through notions of performativity, dramaturgy and agency are particularly welcome.