Zones of (Dis)Comfort: Spatial Hypersensitivities

Zones of (Dis)Comfort: Spatial Hypersensitivities


Zones of (Dis)Comfort: Spatial Hypersensitivities is an open practice based on the research during master studies in scenography at Norwegian Theatre Academy by choreoscenographer Nemanja Čađo. This edition was done in collaboration with Danica Selem, researcher within the field of expanded scenography and conceptual architecture based in New York where she is a founder of a working group Bodies Intersect Buildings which was devised by the School of Apocalypse. 

The open practice is negotiating different corporeal and spatial entities, its histories and memories towards understanding and articulating certain mental and physical places. One of these places is a comfort zone, a very intimate area through which we can meet ourselves introspectively. Through this practice the participant needs to reconsider and confront their own idea about the notion of comfort as well as the lack thereof. This lack or the displacement from our comfort zone tells us more about its essence and real value. Some of the questions we are asking ourselves are what if we are constantly in displacement, what if we weren’t ever provoked to think about our comfort, or what if we have too much comfort in our life? What are the political, social and cultural aspects influencing a personal zone of (dis)comfort? This practice carves a space to engage with these questions. 

The practice took place between June 26 and July 3 in the Culture center Magacin in Belgrade, hosted by art collective Brina. It was also an additional event to the exhibition “Silence is deafness here”.

key word: (DIS)COMFORT_about DIS-placement from your comfort zone to understand it better and to build awareness about it


Introduction, meeting each other, about participants and their art practices; aims, expectations from the workshop/open practice; Nemanja and Danica show some relevant examples of their previous work related to workshop


Dances no.1-6 are a series of exercises with eyes closed which focus on listening to the space and escaping external imageries by building up the body concentration and awareness; coping with given structures and spatial narratives.

DANCE no. 1 (small segments)

  • Danica follows-observes, Nemanja performs
  • Nemanja knows the space (room) from before (from previous trainings); developed/formed awareness of the space

DANCE no. 2 (small segments)

  • Nemanja follows-observes, Danica performs
  • slower opening/awareness of the fact that someone is observing from the side
  • Nemanja is very engaged with following-observing; consequential movement
  • closer to the floor – safe, comfort
  • in upper levels – unsafe,discomfort

DANCE no. 3 (mid and big segments)

  • spatial observations still present
  • a sense of being lost is present 
  • choreographical observing

DANCE no. 4 (mid and big segments)

  • uncertainty – discomfort with Danica
  • passive observing is less and less passive
  • spatial research much more expressed through movement

DANCE no. 5 (both perform with eyes closed)

  • sensing the space; Danica – releasing
  • smell of the other 
  • do I want to be close or far – searching for Danica

DANCE no. 6 (without audio track; just the sound of space and the body)

  • much more mutual listening
  • overcoming the awareness about the space

DANCE no. 7 (copying with eyes closed) – Inspired by “eyes closed” and “copying” exercises during Blindspot workshop at HZT Academy in Berlin led by choreographer Etienne Guilloteau in September 2018 I tried to question entering into someone else’s private space by reading the movement by touching with eyes closed and then reproducing it; it is about establishing the trust and awareness between two bodies who don’t know each other. I remember being quite discomfortable touching someone unknown and that affecting the reproducing and copying of their movement afterwards. 

  • Danica copying Nemanja

DANCE no. 8

  • Nemanja copying Danica

DANCE no. 9

  • Danica copying Nemanja
  • complexity and quality of movement – too much information

DANCE no. 10   

  • Nemanja copying Danica

DANCE no. 11 (60cm) – Module of 60cm is taken as a distance between two bodies moving opposite each other. 60cm is thought as minimal closeness of other body before breaking the “border of intimacy” – entering the zone of comfort of another body. What this means in terms of movement and using 60cm as a spatial strategy? 

  • trust – synchronisation – linearity
  • calculating the direction and movement
  • face to face

DANCE no. 12

DANCE no. 13 (linear motion)

  • “who is leading the movement”
  • resistance towards similar speed motion
  • preciousness of a mistake
  • irritation with “only I lead!”

DANCE no. 14 (non linear amorphic motion)

  • the direction in which I shouldn’t go
  • trust vs impulse for change – shifting the focus-center 

DANCE no. 15 (linear motion, gazes up)

  • weird

DANCE no. 16 (nonlinear amorphic motion with gazes in opposite directions-right shoulder)

DANCE no. 17 (non linear amorphic motion, gaze changes direction; in spatial frame 2x2m)

  • exhaustion of the motive within a small space
  • with the movement history and patterns from previous dances, while using the whole room

DANCE no. 18 (30cm, linear motion)

DANCE no. 19

  • deconstruction of the space
  • overlapping; 60cm – exploding the module 

DAY3 (Danica leads the practice) – Many of the dances/exercises of Day 3 are an adaptation of an open practice developed with working group Bodies Intersect Buildings in New York, between September 2016 and today.

DANCE no. 20

  • walking around the space
  • clarity of the movement – clear boundaries between movement and stillness
  • listening / stop – go
  • speed – speed variations
  • breaking up the pattern – (im)possibility of a pattern

DANCE no. 21

  • move as slowly as possible
  • tension within a standing position
  • concentration
  • which muscles can deactivate? 

DANCE no. 22

  • moving through clay until an impulse to move quickly arises
  • tension in the muscles/shaking
  • a room full of clay
  • importance of the RELEASE

DANCE no. 23

  • Bruce Neuman – Body Pressure exercise 
  • mapping of the body
  • frustration with the flat wall surface in opposition to the shape of a body

DANCE no. 24

  • exercises on the chair
  • shift between tension and release

DANCE no. 25

  • stillness
  • exploring the space through stillness and senses

DANCE no. 26

  • move through the space without stopping

DANCE no. 27

  1. move through the space as fast as you can
  2. move through the space as slow as you can
  3. keep changing the speed/dynamic of your movement 

DANCE no. 28

  • chose an object in the space and imitate its form with your body
  • stay like that for 10 breaths
  • move as you would imagine that object moving for another 10 breaths

DANCE no. 29

  • change your point of view – go higher, go lower, shift

DANCE no. 30

  • chose a specific part of a space and get to know that space the best that you can

DANCE no. 31

  1. walk looking only into the floor
  2. walk looking only into the ceiling

DANCE no. 32

  • walk following your breath

DANCE no. 33

  • walk backwards

DANCE no. 34

  • take up as much space as you can

DANCE no. 35

  • take up as little space as you can

DANCE no. 36

  • think of all the gestures you associate with the space you are in
  • taxonomy of gestures
  • repeat one of the gestures. Speed it up. Slow it down. Exaggerate it. Do it with another body part. Bring it to the point where you can’t recognize it anymore. 
  • do the opposite

DAY4 – Nemanja is introducing the idea of a personal comfort zone. In this exercise we tried to translate an intimate experience of comfort into movement. This question is considered in relation to the previous days and state of the bodies in the moment. Confronting certain fears and finding the best possible body gesture for resolving it into one’s own choreographed segment is an important step in understanding of one’s comfort zone and inner individuality. Settling into one’s comfort zone through movement also brings up the question of the possibility of its exhaustion or satiation. If that zone is at the same time an escape from everyday routines and turbulences, can we exhauste it to the point where it stops serving its purpose? In this exercise movement choices are made considering body’s presence in two spatial entities: the one where you enjoy your comfort zone as a part of an everyday routine and another one where you are rearticulating it in a different place under specific spatial repercussions.

  • the introduction of personal comfort zones
  • where is the body today?
  • listening to the space (the sound of ventilation and a random sound of water in the sewage system as cue points)
  • the contrast between inner (mental) spaces and roughness of the place

DANCE no. 37

  • both with eyes closed
  • light changes; sound of ventilation constantly present

DANCE no. 38 (big dance room)

  • more comfortable space of the big dance room; wooden floor; physical characteristics affects presence/focus and listening the space 
  • performers much more subtle with movement 
  • absence of uncertainty
  • common impulses and intentions with movement gestures


DANCE no. 41 (all three walking in the space)

  • soft focus-gaze
  • sharp focus
  • listening; impulse change; delay of information
  • dynamic change

DANCE no. 42 (all three with eyes closed in the small dance room)

DANCE no. 43 (all three with eyes closed in the big dance room)

  • concentration; exhaustion of the motive, satiation

DANCE no. 44 (Danica tasking)

  • slow motion without resistance

DANCE no. 45

  • slow motion with resistance

DANCE no. 46

  • meeting the space (spatial segment), mapping the space (spatial segment)
  • sensual, sensorial