Resume Introduction - Esmé Valk


People can have social relations with one another, but one can also speak of social relations between people and objects and between objects and objects where it’s not the bodies that are social but the relations between them that are. In my work I study the social relationship between bodies who are in constant movement in response to each other. This movement concerns the grouping and bouncing behaviour of bodies; be they humans, objects, collected experiences or fragments of knowledge. Together they create multiple combinations and form an arena for observation and exploration.

I consider the patterns that can be recognised in the movements of entities to be a social choreography; a visible expression of social processes through movement. A recurring question that I’m researching is what decision making processes guide us in everyday life situations. To what extent is our behaviour shaped by our environment, and by social, biological and chemical processes? To study these questions I deliberately choose not to direct, but to create settings that function as a stage where the action takes place. The agency of the ‘performers’ on it guides the outcome of the project.

Social choreography is not only a study subject but functions as a method for thinking about presentation as well as the context of the exhibition and the character of the space. I try to create a ‘tactile’ space addressing the body in different ways. By tactile I mean an installation that one experiences physically by sitting, walking over or climbing on steps. I think of an exhibition not only as a place to present work but also as an opportunity to include the visitor as an active part of an installation or event. Through their actions a work is constantly changing.