The pilot edition of the HZT-Research Week focuses on the idea of Shielding: practices and conceptual approaches in which bodies, intentionally or involuntarily, become shields. Bodies take on an ambivalent and controversial status in the process: on the one hand, they serve as protection or as a buffer against others – other people or symbolic sites – and express resistance. On the other, they become weapons as well as shields when they intervene, on the ground as well as politically, in wars and conflict but also activism. Situated in a broader intellectual context, the focus on shielding connects to various debates in which corporeality and embodiment in current socio-political contexts are re-evaluated. It also follows the question of how body-based research from the performative arts can enter into dialogue with other fields of knowledge and application to help understand the aesthetic, sociopolitical, ethical and legal dimension of the body.
HZT’s Shielding is made up of various public and non-public programs and combines a variety of modes of encounter, including practical training sessions, workshops, lectures and other formats, to address the question of the body as shield on multiple levels: From an aesthetic and dramaturgical perspective: how is shielding trained, rehearsed, embodied and performed? How does it address and create both audience and witness? From a necropolitical perspective: How do practices and concepts of shielding contribute to producing, maintaining or critically reflecting power structures? How are different hierarchies of embodiment, unequally distributed privileges, and different concepts of accountability and responsibility expressed? On an ethical level: how are the value and worthiness of bodies negotiated in shielding? How can we do justice to our own position between fascination, voyeurism and disturbance?