Multidisciplinary project (2016-2020)

In 2016, Lenio Kaklea started “collecting” practices of Europeans, an ongoing project to this day that has evolved in multiple formats. Taking to the streets and urban pathways of Athens, Aubervilliers, Essen, Guissény, Nyon, and Poitiers, she has gathered a considerable volume of unique stories―nearly 600―, mapping thus a territory which resists simplifying geographical and socio-national categorizations. This corpus of practices ―socially significant but hardly resembling to the gnostic material of any generic encyclopedia― testifies to the familiarity and plurality of habits, of rituals, and of trades that compose and diversify the way we conceive society as a whole. Indeed, Practical Encyclopædia reveals a vastly contrasting landscape where different manners of moving in the world intersect and generate practices that don’t always register as conscious behavioural patterns. From hunting to boxing, by way of idleness to Zumba, various and disparate modus operandi are seen as a system of durable yet transposable dispositions that individuals share and reproduce, incorporating or negating socially inscribed values. Playing with the ambiguity and signification of those practices, the choreographer constructs an apparatus that both questions our intimate relation to movement and invites us to consider the socially specific space within which the subject is conceived, performed and constantly re-configured.

Different performances and artistic forms have been created in the frame of Practical Encyclopædia: a solo, Portraits choisis, a quartet, Detours, a lecture démonstration, Ballad, a book in french, Encyclopédie pratique, Portraits d’Aubervilliers, a multilingual book, Practical Encyclopædia. Detours, a short film, Encyclopédie pratique, Portrait | 7: Maryse Emel, a two-channel video installation, 41 rue Lécuyer.

Chosen Portraits
Solo (2018)

The solo Chosen Portraits, choreographed and performed by Lenio Kaklea, is the first output of the project Practical Encyclopaedia. Taking as her focal point seven practices which, she observed and collected in the Parisian suburb, Aubervilliers, the choreographer uses the technique of montage to embody and re-assemble them on stage. By re-organizing the layering of body representations these practices carry ―and inevitably the adopted interpretations which are inscribed on our bodies― the performer examines a spectrum of habitual activities from listening to music, boxing, praying, weighing herself, to taking pleasure in practicing Zumba. Disparate yet consistent, the above assemblage of practices remind us that “a body is never singular” thus calling for an investigation of what produces these representations and how the performer acts in the roles of the collectionneuse. The solo is accompanied by a 15-minute video and the book Encyclopédie pratique, Portraits d’Aubervilliers, which can be explored in a reading room accessible to the public before and after the performance.

Duration: 45 minutes

Concept, choreography and performance: Lenio Kaklea
Artistic collaboration: Lou Forster
Scenography and costume: Sotiris Vasiliou
Sound design and technical direction: Éric Yvelin
Light design: Amaury Seval
Creation assistant: Oscar Lozano
Production: Les Laboratoires d’Aubervilliers
Executive production: abd

With the support of Fonds de dotation du Quartz/Brest
The project received the support of the Department of Seine-Saint-Denis

Photos: Marc Domage, Maria Toultsa, Ouidade Soussi Chiadmi

Portrait | 7: Maryse Emel
Video installation (2018)

In this short film, choreographer Lenio Kaklea encounters Maryse Emel, philosopher and inhabitant of Parisian suburb, Aubervilliers. As the camera starts recording, the two women move in the dance studio, recounting and reflecting on different ways to perceive the body; from the Aristotelian notion of the “monstrous” to the “self-defense” techniques which allow us to re-adjust to new kinetic forms and forces, all conceptions affirm to how a body is con/dis-figured through its practices of being. However, this in-depth, unusual portrayal of “how to live with a body that you don’t construct,” is not yet another account of abstract theory, but an empirical perspective which is explicit about its origins, the body of Maryse Emel suffering from Parkinson’s disease. The film proposes a narrative away from universalistic pretentions, making apparent the “locality” to which certain boundaries are raised and crossed: between dance and sickness, art and philosophy, representation and everyday practice.

Duration: 16 minutes

Camera: Lenio Kaklea
With: Maryse Emel and Lenio Kaklea
Editing: Sotiris Vasiliou

Encyclopédie pratique, Portraits d’Aubervilliers
Publication (2018)

The book Encyclopédie pratique, Portraits d’ Aubervilliers, is an editorial project undertaken by choreographer Lenio Kaklea in collaboration with art historian and curator Lou Foster. It was published with the support of Les Laboratoires d’Aubervilliers, in April 2018. Though linked to the whole series of Practical Encyclopaedia, this book is more than just a written account of field-work, or an archive of practices. The materiality of the book testifies to the technologies of inscription, the modes of “writing” employed to produce it; from the interviews and registered encounters to their reproduction, cataloguing and their multiple discursive trajectories. Shuffling through its pages we could witness a 24h portrait of Aubervilliers via the sustained activities of its inhabitants, each listed the time of the day that it is performed. This unusual portraying of the city, made of 173 distinct practices, raises the question of the book next to the question of the work; an organized repetition of gestures which not only serve to define its reader but also demonstrate the subtle orchestration of individuality through dispersed yet unified practices. An insoluble tension—that between the body of the oeuvre Practical Encyclopaedia and the form of the book—rises from the diversity of registered activities which allow us to discover more complex societal structures underneath.

French edition, 17x23cm (softcover), 196 pages

Text: Lou Forster and Lenio Kaklea
Editorial coordination: Alexandra Baudelot and Pierre Simon
Research assistant: Oscar Lozano
Interviews: Lenio Kaklea with Pierre Simon, Oscar Lozano and Chabanne Terchi
Copyediting and transcription: Anne-Laure Blusseau
Graphic design: Jean-Claude Chianale
Typography: Adobe Garamond Pro et Rostand de Quesntin Schmerber (coverture)
Published by Les Laboratoires d’Aubervilliers and abd
Distribution by Les presses du réel

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