ABOUT DANCE — Forming Futures, Vol 2 on Work & Play

The ABOUT DANCE, Vol 2 participants spent two days discussing labor, work, play, virtuosity, and new tenets for an ideal cultural economy. Prompted into various forms of dialogue by forum moderators, Kareth Schaffer and Olympia Bukkakis, excited by the articulations of presenters Marcela Giesche and Annelies van Assche, and inspired by the dancing/thinking bodies of Mădălina Dan and Kasia Wolinska, the participants were led through a rich landscape of listening, talking, observing and sharing. Floating between Lake Studio’s new outdoor studio space, the sprawling garden, and the nearby Mueggelsee, live participants wandered in and out of formal and casual conversations while online viewers posted comments and questions via digital chat. Old colleagues reunited, new connections were made. One live participant, in reference to the talk by Annelies van Assche, said, “Community conversation like this is the immaterial compensation that keeps me engaged in the field” 

Another live participant, Tsuki, felt that immaterial compensation lies in the growth and development of the spirit a way to manage and navigate society as one’s true self. Another participant, Fergus, left the forum thinking about the interplay between the necessity of work, the pleasure of labor, and the neoliberal structures that underlie it all. They said:  

“i find myself then wondering ‚what can we do?‘ and my gut feeling is that some answers lie in the collective… that if we are being exploited as individuals, that if hierarchies of auteurship are isolating us… we can subvert those structures by refusing to play the game, not conceptualising ourselves as sovereign artists but instead as playmates who depend on each other to survive and thrive.” 

Other participants’ concerns lay with stepping back into work, in the aftermath of a pandemic, with a sense of power. Some spoke of the need for professional therapy to maintain sanity in their work/life balance. Others simply expressed gratitude for the chance the forum offered to collectively imagine both attainable and far-fetched utopias for artistic working conditions.   

In many ways, Vol 2 of ABOUT DANCE forming futures was a forum built around questions and answers. The event took the form of a call and response between moderators and guest presenters on the one hand, participants online and live on the other. To get a sense of the second forum’s launching points, and to keep the dialogue alive, following the links below. Better yet, gather some playmates and let the documentation spark new collective conversations on work and play. 

Click here to answer Unresolved Questions 

Click here to help complete the list of 86 Steps Towards and Ideal Cultural Economy 

Keep in touch 

Want to share an unresolved question, add a step towards an ideal cultural economy, or contribute a line to the “Even Bigger” script? Wishing to access the forum videos? You can do it all with an email to Lake Studios:  


This documentation was written by Jessy Layne Tuddenham drawing on conversations with and contributions from the forum participants. 

The ABOUT DANCE, Vol 2 live audience included the following artists: 

Maria Baroncea, Madalina Dan, Javier Delarosa, Franzizska Doffin, Fergus Johnson, Enrico L’Abbate, Lola Lustosa, Naïma Mazic, Tsuki.