Gesture, Energy, Critique
Robert Longo and Boris Charmatz
Lucia Ruprecht's chapter juxtaposes Robert Longo's c. 1980 Men in the Cities series of oversized drawings of bodies in energetic convulsion with Boris Charmatz's 2017 dance piece 10000 Gestures. The insights offered by this constellation cast light on questions of choreographed gestural energy. They also enable teasing out nuances of gestural political critique in the 1980s and the contemporary period, respectively. The still frames of Men in the Cities stage a »Punk« version of the world of corporate finance by showing sharply dressed Wall Street bodies undergoing violent contortions. 10000 Gestures derives its critical energy from a frantic type of gesturality, which is staged in such excessive variety and acceleration that it causes gestural stress. Charmatz's gestures can be understood as energetic and expressive force in incessant motion. Standing in for the »frenetic negotiations of our busy-bodies« (Eric Santner) which navigate everyday life in the neoliberal situation, they feed an imperative of gestural productivity that ultimately implodes by overaccumulating unusable gestural capital.