Occupy as Form: Naomi Bragin

The Arts Research Center at UC Berkeley is sponsoring the working session “Occupy as Form” on February 10, 2012. Participants have been invited to post some brief thoughts on the topic in advance of the event. This guest posting is by Naomi Bragin, Founder and Artistic Director of Dream Dance Company.

Keyword: Reactivism


Reactivism – processes of transforming and politicizing space that use sensory-kinesthetic techniques to activate radical intertextualities. Reactivism presumes space to be an arena of contest, difference and struggle, and uses complex processes of cultural referencing to address what and who are passed from tell-able history. Reactivism generates new meanings of space by bringing past experiences and historical events ‘to life.’ Reactivism’s assertive linking of place and historical event stays in tension with the suggestion of unstable, nomadic identity posed by the semiotics of the intersection/crossroads, the transitory movement of cars and trains, and the passing of bodies from sight/site. It challenges a notion of the contingent meaning of site that as Miwon Kwon argues “has tended to get conflated or confused with the idea of fluidity of identities and subjectivities, even of physical bodies, to such an extent that a certain romanticism has accrued around the image of the cultural worker on the go” [or] the ‘liberation’ of the artist from the local.[1] Flipping the countercritique that constructs site-specific art as negatively “reactive, cultivating what is presumed to be there [in place] already rather than generating new identities and histories,” the work of reactivism is a way of discovering and articulating unconventional processes of fighting for change.[2]
[1] Kwon, M. (2002). One place after another: site-specific art and locational identity. Cambridge, MA, MIT Press, 160.
[2] Ibid, 165.

One thought on “Occupy as Form: Naomi Bragin

  • kate

    this idea of reactivism is fantastic – makes me think about both the occupy movement and historiographies. watching this youtube of the dancers, i wonder about relationships between movement and occupation, improvisation and form. then i start to wonder about the amplification of these events through youtube, as well as relationships between site-specific creations and their dissemination on the internet… looking forward to hearing/reading more about your ideas.

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