Collaboration with Siobhan Davies Dance


Siobhan Davies Dance presented MATERIAL / REARRANGED / TO / BE in association with the Warburg Institute. The work began its national tour at The Curve, Barbican, London, from 20–28 January 2017. The work will tour to Tramway, Glasgow, 22–30 Apr 2017, the Whitworth, Manchester, 6–14 May 2017, and Bluecoat, Liverpool, 1–9 Jul 2017.

Artists from Siobhan Davies Dance drew on the Photographic Collection and Aby Warburg's research, and researchers from the Warburg Institute viewed the development of the work, and were in discussion with the dance company, focusing particularly on Aby Warburg's ideas on image and gesture. 


A public discussion was held at the Barbican which included the Warburg Institute's Manois Tsakiris and Christopher Johnson and Siobhan Davies, Emma Smith and Jeremy Millar.

A conversation with Warburg Institute researchers was published as part of the MATERIAL / REARRANGED / TO / BE publication; more information on this can be found here.




"Exploring our bodies' capacity to communicate, Siobhan Davies Dance’s most ambitious collaboration to date, MATERIAL / REARRANGED / TO / BE includes performance, film projection, and sculptural objects that are presented as an ever-changing arrangement. Visitors enter the gallery and are immersed in a live environment that evolves around them.

Artist Jeremy Millar provides a structure and concept for the work inspired by the practices of the art historian Aby Warburg. Warburg collected diverse images of human gestures and poses from different times and places, positioning them side by side to allow new relationships to emerge, and explore how meanings are constituted by the movement of imagery across time and space. In a similar spirit, MATERIAL / REARRANGED / TO / BE presents a large-scale, modular architecture which is continually arranged and rearranged by the artists, creating new pathways through the installation and drawing visitors into a journey of discovery. The constantly altering juxtapositions mean that few visitors will have the same experience.

The artists and choreographers in MATERIAL / REARRANGED / TO / BE have combined Warburg’s ideas on bodily communication with the latest research in neuroscience to investigate how movement is felt, observed, and we reveal and conceal thought in physical behaviour.

Works include choreographies on concepts of instability and disorientation, how we archive or remember past movement, along with a taxonomy of imaginary actions. Performers engage directly with the public inviting them to participate in the bodily postures and rhythms associated with argument, or to think about how we feel in relation to the actions of another through everyday activities like shaking hands. A looped video projection that oscillates in the space between live movement and recorded image highlights how our embodied intelligence anticipates future events. A lustrous black, mobile is suspended from the ceiling, its forms derived from Albrecht Dürer’s Melencolia I (1514), one of the most influential images in Warburg's art historical system.

MATERIAL / REARRANGED / TO / BE features works by choreographers Andrea Buckley, Siobhan Davies, Helka Kaski, Charlie Morrissey, Efrosini Protopapa, and Matthias Sperling; visual artists Jeremy Millar, Emma Smith, and design duo Glithero (Tim Simpson and Sarah van Gameren)." (SDD)