Pro+agonist: The Art of Opposition

Pro+agonist: The Art of Opposition emerged out of Discourse and Discord: Architecture of Agonism from the Kitchen Table to the City Street, a symposium presented by the Walker Art Center and Northern in Spring 2012.

Edited and designed by Marisa Jahn, the publication explores the productive possibilities of ‘agonism,’ or a relationship built on mutual incitement and struggle.

My contribution to the book consisted of a series of diagrams based on Agon (1957), a ballet by George Balanchine with music by Igor Stravinsky. Balanchine and Stravinsky’s ballet serves as a point of departure for articulating spatial structures of contest and conflict within the context of a conversation between four people. The diagrams explore the “programming” of the event, collapsing practices associated with both the organization of a conference session and that of the space within which it takes place. Drawing on segments of the opening Pas-de-Quatre of Balanchine’s ballet, the diagrams attempt to map indications for movement and action that oscillate between stationary and traveling, homophony and canon, side-by- side and mirrored. Understood as both playing field and playbook, the diagrams aim to inject an an agonistic logic into the structural relations inscribed by the arrangement of bodies and furnishings in space throughout duration of the session.

Download the book for free here, or buy a printed copy here.