Muscles : questioning the language of the body in the public space


Event details

Date 21.05.2024
Hour 12:0013:00
Speaker Sara Leghissa, Nathalie Garbely, Sandra Cane et Claire Logoz
Category Cultural events
Event Language French, English
Sara Leghissa, an Italian artist based in Milan, will be presenting Muscles, a 30-minute performance exploring the notions of visibility (and sometimes ultra-visibility) and invisibility of women in the public space.

The artist draws inspiration from her own body and her personal experiences in the public space. She also draws on a text by Kathy Acker (1947-1997): Against Ordinary Langage, The Language of the Body (1993). In it, the American essayist and playwright interweaves observations on her bodybuilding practice with reflections on the philosophy of language. Her words will be displayed during the performance. Sara Leghissa will stick more than 80 posters on an ad hoc support, reading a text that will gradually be composed according to the gestures and movements of her body. The sentences will be superimposed to create a palimpsest text established in the time of the action. Sara Leghissa's artistic and philosophical appropriation of public billboards, most of which are used to advertise consumer products, calls into question the ways in which people are present and act in the public space.

At around 12:30
, there will be an opportunity to look back at the creative process behind this multi-faceted performance, share different impressions and develop a collective reflection. A discussion in English will be led by Nathalie Garbely (far° festival), with Sara Leghissa, accompanied by Sandra Cane (specialist in Gender Studies) and Claire Logoz, architect (ENAC-ALICE) who, in the DRAG(UE) course, introduces the notions of performativity and gender in the built environment. The discussion will be supplemented by contributions from EPFL associations, the Bureau de l'Egalité and members of the public.

Why Muscles at EPFL?
Architecture, civil engineering and, more generally, the construction and management of built spaces occupy an important place at EPFL, both in terms of teaching and research. It is on the question of the uses of public space that we propose to bring the performing arts and science into dialogue. Sara Leghissa's approach invites us to think about the norms that structure public space and the performativity of bodies that deviate from gender norms. By playing with ambivalence and placing a queer experience at the heart of Muscles, Sara Leghissa invites the EPFL community to critically and openly question the uses, occupations, dominations and other appropriations of public space.

A co-production with the far° festival des arts vivants, Nyon
Les Culturelles develops partnerships and collaborations with renowned Swiss cultural institutions. Muscles is a co-production with the far° festival et fabrique des arts vivants in Nyon. Founded in 1984 in Nyon, the far° festival is now renowned in Switzerland and abroad for its exploration of the living arts (contemporary dance, theatre, performance, circus, music and all other ephemeral art forms). Every year, far° organises a multi-disciplinary festival that gives pride of place to up-and-coming artists and site-specific creation. For ten days or so in August, it brings together artists and different audiences around inventive and daring works, in a convivial setting conducive to encounters. During the year, it operates as a factory, welcoming artists in residence, organising participatory projects and occasionally opening its doors to the public for public meetings. The 40th edition of the far° festival of the performing arts will take place from 8 to 18 August 2024, in Nyon and the surrounding area.

The CDH-Culture and the far° festival collaborated successfully for the first time in 2023 by inviting Sara Manente, an Italian artist-researcher and choreographer based in Brussels. For several years now, she has been interested in the relationships between living beings, both human and non-human. At Culturelles de mai 2023, she presented Molding, a choreographic piece. With her team, Sara Manente also ran Ruined, a participatory workshop to build architectural pieces from mycelium. The elements built collectively with the students became part of an installation presented at the far° festival des arts vivants, in August 2023.

Sara Leghissa is an artist, performer and researcher based in Milan. Her work questions the power relations that run through public space and affect bodies. Her projects have led her to work with marginalised population groups (people with migratory backgrounds or living in peripheral neighbourhoods) in Milan, Madrid and Palestine. Sara Leghissa's performances, most of which take place in the street, are based on elements such as billboards. She plays with customs, twists codes (gestures, language, etc.) to invite us, not without humour, to take a fresh look at our everyday modes of interaction. Sara Leghissa regularly shows her work in Italy and elsewhere in Europe: Santarcangelo (IT), ShortTheatre (IT), TriennaleTeatro Dell'Arte (IT), far° festival des arts vivants Nyon (CH), La Casa Encendida (E), Festival Parallèle (FR), Les Tombées De La Nuit (FR), Mir Festival (GR), Beursschouwburg e Kunstencentrum Vooruit (BE). The performance Muscles was created in Milan in 2023. In August 2024, Sara Leghissa will present Pretend is a toilet in Nyon, a new performance exploring the interactions between bodies and normative, gender-binarised spaces such as public toilets.

Sandra Cane trained in Oriental and African Studies at the SOAS University of London, and is pursuing independent research into queer cultures and contemporary Palestinian culture. She is interested in queer, anti-normative and decolonial cultural practices. She contributes to several journals and online platforms, including Kohl: A Journal for Body and Gender Research, Palestine Square, Il Tascabile, Arabpop, Not - NERO on Theory, Harper's Bazaar Italia, Quid Media and Zero. In 2023, she published La grammatica della frammentazione with Einaudi, a book with an open and unstable form, combining a self-portrait with a theoretical reflection on the construction of identity.

Claire Logoz is an architect graduating from EPFL in 2021 who devotes her research to the performativity of the built environment and the way in which architecture materialises social constructions. In 2021 she co-created the multiple practice detritus, which - through texts, drawings, installations, performances, competitions and objects - playfully navigates the complexity of the contemporary context. Claire Logoz is also active in the educational field, teaching project design as studio director in the ALICE laboratory at EPFL. She also teaches the DRAG(UE) course, which introduces the notions of performativity and gender in the built environment.

> Lunch offered to registered people (sold out)
Free entrance
Programme complet Les Culturelles Printemps 2024