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  • Writer's pictureTristan Koepke

statement on Impasse

Updated: Jun 24, 2021

Concrete and crackled walls. Underground. I am back again, my back, again. My skin in this cold, cold room. I am at an impasse.

This work evolved from an earlier draft, Impossible Pleasure, which sought to complicate and challenge my capacity for resisting, or at least slowing, capitalism’s saturating effects through both the pursuit and interruption of sensual pleasure. Employing the creative proposals of choreographer luciana achugar, who calls to growing a utopian, sensational, connected, and anarchic body “as one would grow a plant ,” the theoretical frameworks of phenomenology and attunement of Sara Ahmed, and scholar Rosemary Candelario’s discussion of slowness as a powerful aesthetic and political tool, I moved, undressed (or never dressed) along the floor of an underground fallout shelter, softly illuminated by a string light bordering my path.[1]

Flip it. My back arches, my ass spreads, my feet slide up and climb down.

Now, at an impasse, I wrestle with limitations and futility as I invoke iridescence and tangibility. The world is now quite literally flipped as I trudge along my continued journey, now drawn upwards, never allowed to fully transcend. This fallout shelter has been inverted as I hover at the roof of this cathedral, hollow and cavernous. I consider my ongoing processing of pleasure, attunement, and slowness now as a meditation on the writing of philosopher Giorgio Agamben. He writes, “The naked, simple human body is not displaced here into a higher and nobler reality; instead, liberated from the witchcraft that once separated it from itself, it is as if this body were now able to gain access to its own truth.”[2] Like his resurrected and glorious bodies, my body articulates impassibility as it senses, subtlety as indistinguishable from the rarified air, agility even as athletic prowess decays, and clarity of its crystallizing form.

Slow crawl, disarticulating, distancing from center. Behold: Even underground, clouds part, and a choir sings.

[1] luciana achugar, program notes for Otro Teatro. Minneapolis, MN: The Walker Art Center, February 27, 2014.

[2] Giorgio Agamben, Nudities (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2011), 102.


achugar, luciana. program notes for Otro Teatro. Minneapolis, MN: The Walker Art Center, February 27, 2014.

Ahmed, Sara. “Not in the Mood.” new formations: a journal of culture/theory/politics, Volume 82 (2014), 13-28.

Agamben, Giorgio. Nudities. Stanford, CA: Stangord University Press, 2011.

Candelario, Rosemary. Flowers Cracking Concrete: Eiko & Koma’s Asian/American Choreographies. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 2016.


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