AMAZONA A-Zone Cyborg – Dramaturgy for Interdisciplinary dance research project 

During 2022 I worked with artist Andressa Cantergiani as dramaturg, designing a a public community program mediating her year long artistic research project “AMAZONA or a dance of resistances” to local audiences. This project delved on both discursive and embodied physical strategies to combat gender based violence departing from self-defense as a self-care practice, and it was made possible via the Weltoffenes Berlin Fellowship which hosted Andressa for 12 months at the project space ACaU run by my culture association neue häute e.V. Along the process I assisted Andressa in the allocation of further art production resources, obtaining a grant from NPN Joint Adventures. In this frame I coordinated a parallel interdisciplinary collaborative venture where Cantergiani worked with Berlin-based dancers, digital artists and international martial arts practitioners on a collective choreography whose outcome was two films, presented at Uferstudios on December 17th 2022. This event I curated in collaboration with Gabriel Vallecillo inside an immersive installation we both built in 2018: The Screen Air Pavilion, designed by Popcticum & GA Studio (Chile). For both films I conducted dramaturgical research on the iconography of women warriors, disruptive queer aesthetics and I wrote the script with Cantergiani for A-Zone Cyborg animation film. Summary: I am quite grateful for the trust Cantergiani placed in me, and by the opportunity to accompany this very special year-long interdisciplinary research project that engaged 14 Berlin-based collaborators, 5 international guests, and 3 funding bodies, raising 76.560€ for it to happen.


2022 >> Premiere on Saturday 17th of December @Uferstudios / Uferstr.23, 13357 Berlin!
19:30 doors open | 20:00 Events 

Event curation: Paz Ponce 
Multi-media installation: Andressa Cantergiani
Hosted inside the: Screen Air Pavilion ( 2019) 
Special thanks for the installation support: GA estudio + POPTICUM Collective
Project technical assistant coordination: Gabriel Vallecillo, Andreas Harder 
Documentation by: Gabriel Vallecillo Márquez, Paz Ponce, Dianna Butaeva.
Graphic design by: Karen Hofstetter

Portfolio of artistic collaborations

AMAZONA or a Dance of Resistances 
#film (8’40”)
Andressa Cantergiani, 2022

| Concept & Artistic direction: Andressa Cantergiani
| Performances & collective choreography: Andressa Cantergiani, Pêdra Costa, Daddypuss Rex, Julia B.Laperrière, Mzamo, Maque Pereyra, P.G.L  (Or Meilin)
| Self Defense instructors: Clarissa Fontana, Movement Lab Athens / Fight back club (Margarita Pita & Aris Pitas)
| Research, curation & dramaturgical support: Paz Ponce
| Direction of video choreography & photography: Maryna Makarenko
| Film editor: Livia Massei | Color grading: Renato Batata
| Sound design & score: Alan Egedy
| Sound mastering: Zeno Mainardi

A-Zone Cyborg #3Dfilm 
(in progress)
Andressa Cantergiani, 2022

| Concept & Artistic direction: Andressa Cantergiani
| Performances of Characters 3d  & collective choreography: Andressa Cantergiani, Pêdra Costa, Daddypuss Rex, Julia B.Laperrière, Mzamo, Maque Pereyra, P.G.L (Or Meilin)
| Animation & visual art: Mert Akbal
| Script: Andressa Cantergiani & Paz Ponce
| Research & dramaturgy: Andressa Cantergiani & Paz Ponce
| Characters 3d modeling: Esteban Rivera | Sound Design & score: Alan Egedy
| Digital space consultants: Ana María Millán, Mert Akbal

Memory of the project

I’d Rather be a Cyborg than a Goddess [Cyborg Manifesto, Donna Haraway]
This is my body. It has been an armor / With it you can’t swim or fly. / Poor body, this one of mine, so close to the ground [Cyborg. This is my body, Luisa Miñana]

A-Zone Cyborg is an interdisciplinary dance research project by Berlin-based visual artist, performer, mother and activist Andressa Cantergiani (Caxias do Sul, Brazil, 1980). 
Inspired by the Greek myth of the Amazon warriors and its entanglements with Brazil’s colonial history, Cantergiani’s new project arises from the desire to extrapolate and desecrate Western myths, situating a creative feminist vision where struggle becomes a practice of self-care through self-defense.
Around this theme, the artist carried out a year-long performative and aesthetic research on both the iconography of diverse women warriors and the symbology of feminist militant struggles. This part of the research achieved a participatory dimension through the collaboration with curator Paz Ponce, backed by the Berlin-based NGO neue haute e.V., mediating a series of community meetings in their project-space at Uferstudios around the theme of combating gender violence. 

A hybrid program of online & offline talks connected with collaborating agents active on intersectional feminism in Latin America and South of Europe, exchanging theoretical, conceptual and historical references for the project (Manoela Cavalinho, Cristina Ribas, Érica Saraiva from MARÉ – Artist collective & FREPLA/RS, Margarita Pita). This section of the project was funded by the Berlin Senate Department for Culture and Europe in the frame of the Fellowship-Program “Weltoffenes Berlin” /See: AMAZONA

By early summer 2022, and after obtaining a production grant from NPN Joint Adventures / Neustart Kultur, the participatory program opened itself to a target community of dancers from the context at Uferstudios and a local audience of migrant women, in the shape of feminist self-defense workshops, with guest instructors coming from Spain (Clarissa Fontana) & Greece (Margarita Pita & Aris Pitas, Movement Lab / Fight Back Club Athens) who work on martial arts techniques and methodologies aimed at self-protection for women and LGBTQI+ people in everyday environments. The Greek collaboration in this research was funded by Onassis AiR. 

This parallel movement research exploration became the dramaturgical base for the development of a new dance piece: AMAZONA or a Dance of Resistances, in collaboration with 7 dancers selected from the group of participants attending the workshops: Pêdra Costa, Daddypuss Rex, Julia B.Laperrière, Mzamo, Maque Pereyra and P.G.L (Or Meilin). The choreographic material was collectively generated during a two weeks practice exchange lab, where they shared with each other their personal movement interpretation of the concepts of resistance and self care in the context of combating gender violence. Video and editing became expanded choreographic tools in this performance (video direction & photography by Maryna Marenko, editing by Livia Massei.

Still frames from AMAZONA or A Dance of Resistances
Andressa Cantergiani, 2022 
Photography: Maryna Makarenko

By early autumn Andressa met with several advisors guiding the intersection between digital space & body towards the creation of a new 3D Film: A-Zone Cyborg.
Ana María Millán and Mert Akbal trained her via mentoring sessions in tools from motion capture technology, AI, computer games and cyberspace, in order to exchange knowledge from the dance field, the visual arts and new media techniques. The script for this film was developed between Andressa Cantergiani & Paz Ponce, and comprised a parallel plastic investigation in dialogue with Mert Akbal (xm:lab): “to challenge heteronormative animation and use digital image elements that would reflect a queer understanding of art and show resistance against stereotypes” . Read below Mert Akbal’s research notes on Breaking the stereotypical animation aesthetic

The result is a rather dreamlike, glitched, post-utopian vision that traces an inverse hero-journey to the processes of Eurocentric mythification that the project reflects upon, immersing us in the celebration of a triumphant genderless collective space that ruptures the binary stagnation tensioning today’s (arched) world. This ultimate solar-punk emancipatory dance is narrated through five allegorical characters modeled by Esteban Rivera, in a soundscape (in progress) designed by Alan Egedy. 

Still frames from A-Zone Cyborg 3D Film 
(in progress). Animation & visual art by Mert Akbal

3D Characters of A-Zone Cyborg modeled by Esteban Rivera

Production credits

Supported by: the NATIONAL PERFORMANCE NETWORK – STEPPING OUT, funded by the Minister of State for Culture and Media within the framework of the initiative NEUSTART KULTUR. Assistance Program for Dance. / Berlin Senatsverwaltung für Kultur und Europa
Sponsors: xm:lab experimental media lab / Hochschule der Bildende Künste Saar; Onassis AiR / Onassis Foundation.
In cooperation with: neue häute e.V.
Hosted at: Ana Conda am Ufer Café/Resto/Bar/Collective research space + Studio 16 + Heizhaus (Uferstr.23, c/o Uferstudios. 13357 Berlin)
Communication partners: Berlin-based platform for socially engaged artistic practices & activistic positions from the South.
Project coordinator: Paz Ponce (neue häute e.V.)
Project accountants: neue häute e.V. (Gaby Hundermarkt & Paz Ponce)

Bibliography of the project

  • CLARK, Andy. Natural-Born Cyborgs: Minds, Technologies, and the Future of Human Intelligence. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003.
  • CUBONIKS, Laboria. The Xenofeminist Manifesto. A Politics for Alienation. London: Verso, 2018.
  • FEDERICI, Silvia. Beyond the Periphery of the Skin: Rethinking, Remaking, and Reclaiming the Body in Contemporary Capitalism. PM Press/Kairos, 2020
  • HARAWAY, Donna. A manifesto for cyborgs science technology and socialist feminism in the 1980s. New York: Routledge, 1991
  • HARAWAY, Donna. Simians, cyborgs, and women: the reinvention of nature. New York: Routledge, 1991
  • LEPECKI, André. Coreopolitica e Coreopolicía. ILHA, v.13, n.1, p.41-60, 2012.
  • RUSSEL, Legacy. Glitch Feminism – A Manifesto. London: Verso, 2020

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