Soliloquy is a somatic practice developed by Monika Błaszczak at the intersection of choreography, hauntology and ecology. Soliloquy is a practice of becoming.
In the practice of Soliloquy, the dancer is encouraged to study their body as an archive of their past-present-future experiences, and their relationship with the environment, both in terms of their immediate surroundings and the broader context of the Earth and the Universe. The practice incorporates a hauntological lens to the study of the body in space and time by acknowledging the complexity of the processes of mattering understood as both embodiment- and meaning-production in non-linear time. Since all matter is entangled, the practice of Soliloquy involves learning about the agency laying in one’s becoming to affect all matter.
Soliloquy encourages the practitioner to question the ways they have been taught to understand their bodies, to listen closely, to desire differently, and to explore radical loneliness and the intimacy that it brings. Soliloquy is a process of making work on one’s own body through the hauntological choreographing of oneself. The term hauntology was coined by Jacques Derrida in “Spectres of Marx” (1993), which refers to the paradoxical state of being neither/both present nor/and absent.
Insisting on the historical understanding of choreography as writing and reading body as text, Soliloquy encourages the practitioner to actively witness the process of reading-writing one’s body. For this purpose, Soliloquy proposes the figure of a ghost as a phase of a body’s process of becoming. The practice, therefore, offers an opportunity to meet with the ghosts which are absent/present in one’s body and the bodies that one becomes with, encouraging the practitioner to look at the ways they are affected, moved and shaped by their pasts, presents and futures.
Soliloquy explores vast arrays of knowledge, aiming to expand our understanding of embodiment, space-time, memory, desire, nature and processes of becoming.
Today, thinking about matter seems to be a just and worthwhile activity only if one considers the implications of the climate crisis on matter. Therefore, Soliloquy is particularly concerned with the haunting of the impending sixth mass extinction event, which affects our bodies, the bodies of others, and the Earth's body. Soliloquy, therefore, asks: what kind of dancing is possible and necessary on a dying planet? How can we collectively activate the healing potential of dance to transform how we relate to the Earth, its ecosystems and each other? How can we resist the capitalist urge to extract, produce and accumulate and rather engage in processes of love-making, grieving and creating? These questions are explored from an anticolonial, queer and feminist perspective.
Soliloquy can be experienced in the form of:
The Manual of Soliloquy
A set of exercises, bodily experiments and provocations
A solitary practice
Soliloquy classes and workshops, in-person and online
A performance, in which the dancer engages in the practice of Soliloquy while being witnessed
A laboratory for various processes of becoming
A collective mission of hope, responsibility and love.
This research has first been developed as Monika Błaszczak’s Final Project at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in London in 2019, and is being constantly expanded in their independent research.
In the last years, Soliloquy received support from such partners as Independent Dance (ENG), Trinity Laban (ENG), The Place (ENG), Polish Dance Theatre (PL), La Wayaka Current (CL-ENG), Adam Mickiewicz Institute (PL), National Institute of Music and Dance (PL), United-C Eindhoven (NL), V.O Curations (ENG), Glasgow School of Art (SCT), and others.