Podcast Series - Walking with Water

Episode 4: Fitness for Unlikely Species

Andrea Palašti

Upon our arrival for the Public Program in Novi Sad, we embarked on a scenic tour along the esplanade of the Danube river, having as our guide the artist and educator Andrea Palašti. Beyond initiating us to less-acknowledged milestones of the city's history and its prominent river, Andrea highlighted the socio-political and ecological events that had taken place on the Danube's shores and their environmental consequences.

The following day in a performative lecture, Andrea referred to the transformative and essential role that fluidity and flexibility have played in both her art and teaching practice.

In this podcast, the artist guides us through her 'Fitness for unlikely species'. This activity is an attempt to challenge humans to channel their bodily experience through physical movement while rethinking fitness practices as connected to the environmental concept of entanglement by mimicking more-than-human worlds. The aim of the exercises is to transform our bodies into a performative choreography by mimicking other entities whose shapes, movements and existence are affected by ecological and biodiversity changes. These shape-shifting somatic exercises can be regarded as relational tools for finding new ways of learning, understanding, connecting, and moving between our worlds in trouble. In particular, the exercises might also help trainees to address their own eco-anxiety and environmental grief. As Donna Haraway puts it: we are STAYING WITH THE TROUBLE!

By blending conceptual art with pedagogical impulses, the 'Fitness for Unlikely Species' welcomes participants of all movement abilities. They do not need to have performance and/or training experience. Developed by Andrea Palašti within the collective Danube Transformation Agency for Agency [DTAFA], co-founded with Solmaz Farhang, Alexandra Fruhstorfer, Lena Violetta Leitner, Ege Kökel, and supported by the Angewandte Programme for Inter- and Transdisciplinary Projects in Art and Research (INTRA), Vienna, Austria.