Grace Euna Kim - Acid Bodies
Instagram takeover on 19 May 2020
A series of immersive workshops and performance actions that unpack the psychic life of ideology and the body as a site of resistance in crisis.
Initiated in fall 2019 at ZK/U, Acid Bodies is an ongoing experiment in hybrid forms of radical pedagogy, immersive performance, and social research. Together with the people themselves, the work unpacks the ideology of the body, and the hidden processes by which social fictions are negotiated, embodied, reproduced, and normalized. Each 2-day workshop concluded with an intervention at a public site in Moabit.
As the research is ongoing, public documents are limited for the moment. If you are interested in experiencing the archive, please write to Euna at hello[at]euna-kim.com.
The immersive performance Dance Party(the apocalypse is disappointing) is part of an ongoing series exploring psychic, symbolic violence, and the body as a site of resistance in crisis. In this sense violence is examined not only as an invisible sociopolitical mechanism and condition, but also as a method of resistance and poetic action. The work is a further development of the Acid Bodies research; the performers were all participants of the Acid Bodies workshop actions.
Roujieh Gharib, participant, Acid Bodies
“My lovely friend, I want thank you alot for spreading this spirit with us. You are Star of this project, not just a guide, I’m so happy cause of your invetation and your acceptance. I’ve tried to do my best but I hope that I could give more and let spirit and positive energy flow higher through breaking the ristrictions down. So proud of being a part of this groub.
Today there is an addition to my personality, my strategy how I deal with the external world, plus a realising fregility of awareness and knowledge. You know humanity when I wake up I repeat alot of habits, taking in the same way but today something’s different, I’m alive on those threads, between my words spelling out I feel a strange liquid of comments changing the old face we used to be. I can hold Berlin with smile on my face, it’s really n’t heavy like always, it’s becoming so light flighing with wind movements. I’m a human, I can be that legendary air, stronger than any time befor, a child playing out without any kind of fear breaking the scene,
Fear as a threat :
If you get fucked, you will get AIDS. If you smoke, you’ll get cancer.
If you breathe, you will breathe polluted air. If you speak, you will lose your job.
If you walk, you will be the victim of a criminal act.
If you think, anxiety will wear you out. If you suspect, it will lead you crazy.
If you feel, you’ll feel lonely. To take a deep breath, it is necessary to feel debilitated. Stands, you have to learn how it is falling. To provoke, you have to learn how defeat is. We have to know that life is like this, and that we will fall and rise again.
Keep on love’n you earth without wearing any mask to adapt those social scripts.
Actions and Reactions. “To do means you can do. Not to react means that you are weak enouph to this level that you can’t”. Excuses to our unlimited greed.
I can be my self, I could be any thing that I want unless I can be my self, also my shadow. New visions of me, read apdate. And not harm full in compare with my last life. I share my shadows with creatures then I disown from. To be a reflection inside a bottom of a Mirror. Perhaps I find a tale of a dictator’s story about long-short ways: “Don’t you think you’re safe from me .. Nothing escapes the text”. One the way to übermensch.
Sipping the fear of your palm, the iris reached its limit as a gateway. Transparent as a point of view, sharp as the angle of vision, so light that it is difficult for a whole mankind to carry you, silent to the extent that your friendship widens as far as range. Here on a vibrating rope under my feet, I fly to the middle.”
Naomi N., participant, Acid Bodies
“How sure can you be of the emotions and the messages you transmit by the use of your silent body? How do you give meaning to every movement without programming yourself? How do you use your body when you know you are being watched?
With about 10 years of experience in theatre, I have acquired mindblowing insights about my own body language in those two days. The workshop felt like next level theatre training and meditation at the same time. The exercises forced me to deal with inner blockages that we sometimes prefer to ignore. Releasing these could be confronting yet very deliberating. Grace Euna Kim leads the workshop with a particular kindness and great attention to details. Silence is an important ingredient to the atmosphere. It allows to slow down and focus on the body. In her way, Grace Euna Kim creates a safe space where in a few hours time, you feel comfortable in sharing emotions with people who were still strangers when you had walked in earlier that day. And that is also the beauty of these two days. Acid Bodies is a marvellous enriching experience thanks to the techniques, the magical atmosphere, the great energy that emerges in short time, and the beautiful encounters with Grace Euna Kim and the other participants.”
Pat Maslowska, participant and performer, Acid Bodies and Dance Party (the apocalypse is disappointing)
“The adventure that I open the door to, was the most unconventional from all of my lifetime experiences, yet its primal aim was to expose the rawest of the essence, hidden deeply under the thick layers of conventional, coded gestures, that, what I later learnt with the full intuitive understanding, reflect a coded, imprisoned state of mind.
What was the most special about the Acid Bodies was that it was breaking the patterns. It started by building trust, empathy and intimacy – the most significant pillars of each relationship. I felt it throughout the whole communication with Euna, from the very first email I received from her I felt like she’s genuinely interested in what I have to say, who am I and what brings me here - that she wanted to discovery by inviting me to share my most crucial (co)existential questions I’ve been developing and bearing since the beginning of my conscious life. Here I am – writing about the panopticon that symbolises how I feel regarding the system. Those questions from Euna made me remind myself things that were asleep, alive but a little numbed, now again waken and hungry. I didn’t know what to expect, so I had no chance to overgrow with the expectations, to put one of the social masks. What happened next – I would never be able to guess before I actually had an indescribable luck to experience.
On the long list of lessons that I gained throughout working with and learning from Euna, the one about taking action is the one that has the biggest potential to bring us the future back. And what I hope for the worldwide spread societies, is that they started this new decade with the strong and sustainable realisation that out future requires depetrification and there is no one but each of us that can make that happen.”
Anne-Sophie Debrabant, participant and performer, Acid Bodies and Dance Party (the apocalypse is disappointing)
“Intense, poetic, apocalyptic. I am in gratitude to have been able to participate in a project of such emotional, physical and psychological strength. It made me realize that questioning habits were essential to finding one’s place. I became aware of the sovereign strength of the body, that it was capable of regaining its freedom in the face of alienation. Listening to the richness of this silent and profound language that governs us and makes us live. This openness made me change the way I communicate with my body and with others. To become fully aware of what I experience every day in my body of domination and oppression but also of the passion that animates me.”
Inky Lee, audience, Dance Party (the apocalypse is disappointing)
(excerpt of a text that originally appeared in Tanzschreiber, 10 Dec)
“Kim’s work sets up a space where every movement, sound, and spatial choice of both performer and viewer are intensely amplified – the audience shares in the responsibility of designing the space by being given the freedom to react as they choose to. She explained to me that her piece addresses “the body as a site of resistance and catharsis in crises.” She told me that she had come to an understanding of how the social and political mechanisms she found problematic are “written into the most intimate and banal gestures and movement processes of the body.” She therefore approaches the body as an initial site of activism through intimacy and psychic action.
As the audience enters the studio for “Dance Party (the apocalypse is disappointing)”, mobile phones are handed over so their cameras can be blinded with a circular, black sticker – a commonly accepted ritual on Berlin’s nightclub scene. Around the studio, nine performers are standing, facing the walls with their eyes closed and their backs to the viewer, quiet and still. Nothing ‘happens’ for a while. As time passes, I notice myself becoming hypersensitive to every movement and sound in the space, however slight or subtle – the way someone walks, where and how they choose to stand or sit, the sound their jacket makes … Every gesture is amplified. Audience becomes performer. As the hushed uneasiness swells, a very slow reveal begins to take place. Three or four people in the audience begin to make what look like intentional choices in the way they stand, where their gaze falls, and how they move. They stand out unmistakably, and I gradually realize that they too are performers. These subtle interventions become more extreme until one of them breaks out into an intense movement accompanied by heavy breathing. She is strenuously distorting all possible body parts in all directions. Her eyes are closed. The jerkiness of her movements and her arduous breathing make her look as though she is in pain. She walks in random directions, then falls suddenly and violently. She repeats the action again and again. Her eyes remain closed..it becomes the viewers’ responsibility to clear a space for her. What do we choose to do?
I sense a growing tension in the space as more and more unforeseen and forceful actions erupt from erstwhile hidden performers. A piercing scream bursts suddenly from someone who had passed as an audience member until this point. Three more performers join the blind-distorted-stagger-and-fall dance. The line between who is the performer and who is not is thrown into deeper confusion. A new space opens where it feels as though anything can happen.
So, what, in fact, is ‘normal’? Are norms constructed by repeated practice, and when should they be examined and challenged? Why do we feel uncomfortable when we feel that we are being closely watched by others, and do not know who will ‘break the rules’ and when? Was the tension in Kim’s work due to the unpredictable breaking of rules within a given space, or simply down to the intensity and the violence of the actions themselves?”