The project uses I, the dance artist, both as author and initiating material. In individual and distinct projects choreographers, dance makers, musicians and creatives are invited in my creation of staged self-portraits.

I have investigated self-performance and self-portraiture in today's society; a meeting between fiction (my-"self" actualized on stage) and non-staged reality (my lived "self" found in autobiography). The series of performances is an investigation and a critique of how artists, I included, choose to stage themselves as professionals, creative entrepreneurs. It becomes an expression for how the commodification of the self is created through self-performance. It is important to highlight how this is capitalized and exploited. The personal is used as the tool to connect with an audience, to gain trust, and in the end, capitalize. 

In PRESENTATIONS, my ambition was to discuss what I see as the new virtuosity of the dancer – an exploitative state where art and commerce are merged. In the project, I portray both myself and my course as a dancer. Coming from a classical background, the trajectory goes via a master's education for the intersection of Jonas, the "dancer," and Jonas, the "professional / entrepreneur," to appear. In the project, the solo dancer becomes an "indie-dancer" – an artist who both assesses and adapts to the market, while at the same time being critical towards his being. An artist who uses social media as dramaturg. Everything is done from an empowered position as he is aiming for transparency concerning privilege, whiteness and sexuality. The self-portrait was perhaps created in a symbolic order through the actions and labor resulting in and exposed in the staging.

Supervisors: Torunn Robstad, Bojana Cvejic and
Kai Johnsen

The portraits

1.1: Choreographing Whiteness

Choreography: Thomas Prestø 
Pianist: Orlin Kantardjiev
Talk show host: Charlotte Thiis-Evensen
Guest: Camara Lundestad Joof
Video: Lars Rolland

Together with Prestø, I am identifying a stereotypical queer and gay behavior, appropriated from the black woman as a performativity in a known character. In the process, we investigate my embodiment of black womanhood through gestures, actions and voice. The process builds on the movement material and the autonomous embodiment of the song If I Can't Sell It, I'm Gonna Sit Down On It, filtered through lipsyncing, vocal gesturing and singing. The performance questions and points out strategic appropriation and at the same time examines appropriation as a way to give strength and togetherness for marginal communities. It marks a clear ambiguity in what it means to be white, gay and privileged.

1.2: Somewhat  Deconstructed

Music: Produced and performed by  Erik Spanne
Video: Nik Gundersen

In Somewhat Deconstructed, I approach my idealization of William Forsythe through the words of Arthur Rimbaud, “Je est un autre”. In this case, the (great) Other is the clean spectacle of the male solos and the famous pas de deux with Sylvie Guillem from In the Middle Somewhat Elevated sourced from Youtube-videos. Material from the iconic ballet is extracted and analyzed emphasizing my body as a cognitive medium. It is then given personal meaning through personal or fantasy-driven narratives. Idealization yields autonomous imitation. This project is first and foremost about mirroring; seeing oneself as something different than what is possible.

1.3: Self-study/ Sjølvstudie

Choreography: Solveig Styve Holte
Guest: Finn Skårderud
Music: Stylist performed by Myra
Video: Lars Rolland

Styve Holte and I ask "What is my (/Jonas') pedestrianism?" The choreographic process is marked by an active self-detachment and the creation of a technique of self-appearance manifested through gestures. Embodied personality traits are collected, systematized and archived. These traits are found in conversation and observation and then decoded, abstracted, and extracted. Through composition they give structural choreography, accentuating repetition and rhythm. As choreography, it marks the high status as a "sleek ambivalence", marking how small gestures express great meaning. It is paired with the music of rap artist Myra and a presentation about the self by Finn Skårderud.

1.4: Nostalgia

Co-creative dancer: Mathias Stoltenberg
Violins: Kari Rønnekleiv & Ole-Henrik Moe
Music: Maya Vik
Video: Lars Rolland


Nostalgia: Engendering a coherent and continous identity as we remind ourself in the presence of who we were in the past. “A process of constructing, maintaining and reconstructing our identity.” – Fred Davies (Nostalgia, Identity and the Current Nostalgia Wave, 1977.) Based on nostalgia, I see the future from the past. The maintenance of "truths" is linked to memory, remembering, and witnessing. These are all essential for the writing/ performance of the personal. Memory is a knowledge that is graped through desire and enabled through reconstruction. Rememberance is an act where past events are given particular meanings. It gives an embodied value to both performer and spectator as it makes them into active agents. Unconsciousness plays a role in the act of witnessing. However, there is an activity of choosing to remember when being a "witness". Choosing suggests a degree of consciosness and agency in relation to remembering. An interaction between past and present is enabled through memory, as memory works as a link to the future in the constant present

Jonas Pedersen Øren 2019 — Oslo