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Moving Society (2014)

Christophersen/Siljeholm/Skjeldal/Tsegaye/Giday/Ashigrihe/Adane/Students from Alle School of Fine Arts and Design

Moving Society - Addis Ababa is a choreographic, performative, relational art project that explores human mobility by addressing local social and political issues. The participating artists will collaborate to develop performative and relational artworks displayed in public spaces. The objective is that Moving Society will challenge and encourage dialogue, reflection and discussion both within the project and when meeting the public, aiming to generate movement in the society in which the project is created. The issues that will be addressed are locally rooted and come from a local engagement and interest.


Moving Society - Addis Ababa is a joint project between the Norwegian choreographers Sara Christophersen, Ingri Fiksdal, Helle Siljeholm and Marianne Skjeldal and the Ethiopian artists Michael Tsegaye (photographer), Berhanu Asagrihe (visual artist), Agegnehu Adane (visual artist and writer) and Frewayni Giday (documentary filmmaker). Furthermore the project will involve young artists who participated in the pilot project Social Choreography, which took place in Addis Ababa in December 2012. The project is also open for interested students at the Alle School of Fine Arts and Design to follow the project. The work is founded on dialogue and exchange. Together we will develop knowledge, work processes, strategies and networks according to the context we are working in.


The project examines movement or mobility on three levels. Mobility as a theme (through the intervention of social and political content), mobility as form (the interventions are choreographed), and by virtue of the interventions performativity; what kind of effects do they produce in the local community and how do the interventions create movement beyond themselves. Moving Society will thus, at best, function both as a choreographic project and as a generator for movement and social development.

We will be working with a collective art practice, where the process is the project. The work begins with a series of practical workshops. We will examine and discuss social issues related to mobility and how these can be addressed with the respective art mediums represented in the collaborative project (visual arts, creative writing, media/film, photography and choreography). Based on the workshops, we will together create strategies and tools to generate performative and relational interventions in public space.


The "material" for this project is mainly "ourselves" (those who participate). We will therefore examine and discuss how we can work with the body and movement in relation to the different media involved, and how a given representation creates meaning and communicates in a specific context. The contexts will be specified and examined through an exploration of different sites in Addis, where we will examine the sites´ histories and functions. Furthermore, we will discuss different methods that can be used to research and obtain relevant information for the themes that surface throughout the working process, this may involve interviewing locals, collecting material from archives, the media etc.


Parallel with developing the interventions, we wish to invite local and regional contributors to lecture on relevant art theory and social themes. We wish to invite art theorists/historians/ curators and professionals from other fields, such as academics, health practitioners, journalists who can address the social and political aspects of the project. The aim is to provide new and different perspectives on the areas the project explores, through offering deeper insights on relevant social themes and by contextualising and placing the project within a contemporary African art context.


As well as the the actual process and interventions that will be created throughout the course of the work, Tsegaye will document the project through photos and Giday will create a short documentary. The photos taken by Tsegaye and Giday’s documentary, will be exhibited in gallery spaces etc, and will be a part of the total performative expression the initiative generates.

Moving Society wants to facilitate interregional exchange, aiming to enhance the role and relevance of contemporary art as a mobilising and political force in East-African society. Moving Society can thus in the outmost sense be understood as a continuous social choreography beyond national borders, where social and political engagement, process and dialogue are the cornerstones.

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