THE BODY AND INSTITUTIONAL VIOLENCE
FABIAN CHYLE meets KRIS LARSON
My interest centers around institutional violence and instutionalized exclusion. Obviously there is a huge discourse around that topic existing. Especially in the global north one can sit back and say: we came so far with human rights and inclusion of all kinds .... everything is pretty alright ... what are OTHERS complaining about? Nevertheless my pre-assumption is that - even though this discourse exists - strategies and structures have not changed so much. And ... here comes the next pre-assumption... that a especially institutional forces work through collective and personal internalized believesystems. Believesystems are based on memories - experiences and narrtives from yesterDAY/ yesterMONTH/ yesterCENTURY. Therefore in my conversations and research (body)memory will play a certain role: how do we memorize exclusion and violence? What are our images around that? How do they transform in movement, action, word or behavior. I have chosen a dialoguepartner which is a gay choreographer and dancetherapist (amongst a lot of other things) dealing with Tourette Syndrom since his early childhood. Being gay, dealing with the Tourette Syndrom or being part of the institutionalized mental healthcare system will only be the „mise en sene“ in order to try to unfold those internalisiation and believsystems on which institutional violence is partly build on.
I would be interested in a dialogue, where – next to exchanging - the process of memorizing can be part of the process. That was one reason why I chose Kris, which looks back on lifetime of around 60 years. In order to do that I thought it is important to have some shared memories. I would like to blend those personal experience with „classical“ writings of Foucault and Goffman. Those writings can function as the „prototyp“, the „archetypical“, the „historical“ in the dialogue and the performative process.
Interview partner (Kris Larson):
Kris and I met for the first time in 1997, when I attended the dancetherapy program at Columbia College Chicago. He was teaching groupdynamics in my year. Later he became my supervisor. We share some common history. Both of us are dance therapist and performer/ choreographer. Both of us are gay men. Both of us worked as interns at Saint Elizabeth Hospital in Washington D.C. which opened in 1855 as the first federally operated psychiatric hospital in the United States. So both of us have been part of institutionalized systems. We hardly had contact since 17 years.
And here is a statement (on the question: How would you describe your approach as a dance/movement therapist?) of Kris, which I find inspiring for our research: „I am an existentialist at heart. I believe in the role of responsibility as the means to healing as well as the energy of letting go of attachment. As I trained at a Buddhist institute (Naropa), it was almost impossible not to be influenced by Buddhist principles, one of them being attachment and ego. My work in the field led me to be interested in addictions and the role of shame in mental illness. It almost made sense for me to lean towards an existential approach as I was working with attachment and shame, ego and anger, fear and love, aloneness and escapism. I was interested in how the energy of fear imprisoned the body and created a false sense of self and loneliness based upon fear of giving up who or what one identifies with/as and how existentialism speaks directly to letting go of identity in order to find inner purpose based upon new self and the here and now.“