Inflammations  2019
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Inflammations copes with chronic pain and the way it affects bodies, their relationship to time, work and pleasure. The performance stems from an interest in autoimmune diseases and difficult to treat medical conditions like fibromyalgia or myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome. It problematizes the boundaries between wellbeing and sickness, medical authority and felt experience. While recognizing chronic pain as a form of disability it further speculates about fatigue as a possible persistent condition of both the performers body and the capitalist subject. Western medicine understands the body according to simplified opposition between normal/ pathological and often fails to recognize the erratic and always changing nature of these conditions and their symptoms, many of which are invisible on the outside causing distrust and social stigmatization of those affected. Thus, the sick, unreliable body remains the other.


In Inflammations, it is the everyday violence of language, its ability to stab,stiffen and inflame, that is being examined by the performers. Words trap vivid experience into sterile medical discourse, penetrate like an instrument or organize the body into a peculiar anatomical theatre. The work looks for relief from pain and suffering by exploring possible infrastructures of care. Environments in which through common play and rest the game slows down, the mysterious becomes tamed and the fatigue presents its erotics.
By the way, I really like Inflammations.
Thank you, it is one of the works I am most insecure about. Many people from the disabled community appreciated the work too. Because it is not didactic, among other reasons. It deals with poetics of illness, fatigue and their language but not in a victimist or heroic way. Even though there is more education about non normative health in our field, the approach is still incredibly ableist and so it focuses on inclusion rather than on exchange and invitation. Audiences still have very particular expectations both when seeing healthy and sick bodies on stage.
I agree with that.
Sickness or weird health can become your identity, also as a strategy of harnessing your incoherent bodily experiences in the long run. How to make sense of something that your doctor tells you is chronic? With those two works and through the exchange with my performers-collaborators Angela Alves and Laura Lulika, sickness became a lens through which to perceive and do things in another way, rather than a curse or a taboo. Those processes made me more aware of my own physicality and the degree to which I’m used to accepting pain in my life on regular bases —for example the physical and emotional pain caused by PMS, period and maybe endometriosis— as a natural thing that cannot be helped. Then Coronavirus came and made many people shift their understanding of where sickness begins and ends and what solidarity is. When I think of the dance field, you are required to be on top form and healthy all the time. You are expected to mask illness. If you are fat, it is not okay, because you don’t look a certain way. If you are disabled, it is not okay because you might be slower or need care. I started thinking how this excludes other ways of being in your body.
From an interview by Gizem Aksu Ankara Queer Art
Idea, text, choreography, performance Ania Nowak
Creation, text, performance Angela Alves, Laura Lulika
Dramaturgy Mateusz Szymanówka
Research, advice Luke Pell
Set design Christopher Füllemann
Light design Aleksandr Prowaliński
Sound Justyna Stasiowska
Costumes Maldoror/Wsiura
Production management Micaela Kühn Jara
Premiere Sophiensaele
Production Ania Nowak in collaboration with TATWERK | Performative Research
Funded by Berlin Capital Cultural Fund 
Photos Dorothea Tuch