Contingency Planning

‘Contingency planning’ is the act of imagining possible future events, often catastrophic, and figuring out ways to handle them. ‘Contingency’ is also a term in contemporary philosophy that refers to a state of change and uncertainty, where the foundation of reality is in constant flux, and absolutely anything is possible.

Formatted as a public seminar, 2-day workshop and exhibition / happening event, this project is an open-structure exploration of sci-fi strategies, collective movement, and metaphysical sculpture, developed in collaboration with Bergen-based dance artist Yohei Hamada. It was presented at the Bergen Centre for Electronic Arts (BEK) in September 2019 and will happen in Tromsø in March 2020 with Kurant Visningsrom.

Sexton is interested in subverting mainstream apocalyptic narratives and finding ways of coping with / seeing beyond the socio-economic structures that drive them. She has created a series of wearable / occupiable sculptures from parachute cord, tarpaulin, knots, and netting that she considers as metaphysical technologies, hybrid tools for basic survival and hyperdimensional experience: Harnesses that grant us new abilities and protect us from harm, doubling as gentle restraints for skepticism. Colourful globular nets to contain, amplify, focus, or deflect energy as needed. Shelters within shelters, topological forms that resonate across manifold dimensions.

In their 2-day workshop, Sexton and Hamada lead discussions, strategy sessions, energy experiments, and simple movement exercises with the sculptures. Focus is on the development of extra-sensory perception and other skills such as knot tying and space-time folding. A sci-fi soundscape is provided by live radio noise and ionospheric transmissions.

The presentation with Kurant visningsrom occurred online instead due to the pandemic as an online workshop, non-local rave, and a streaming exhibition / artist talk, available here:

Here are some photos from the pubic exhibition / happening event at BEK in Bergen, September 2019:

Harness details:

Astral Projector 1.0, 2019, tarpaulin, paracord, projector mount:

movement experimentation with Sexton’s ‘aura amplifier’ harness, Yohei Hamada, BEK studio, May 2019

YOHEI HAMADA (b. 1987) is a Japanese dance artist and movement researcher based in Bergen, Norway. He develops choreographies concerning time, space, and perception, exploring tensegrity models and evolutionary principles. His research focuses on movement structure, involving collaborators from many different subject fields, using references to embryology, physics, architecture, martial arts and various dance methods.

Erin Sexton netting paracord at outdoor studio site in western Norway, April 2019

photos: Rasmus Hungnes

The project is made possible with the support of Bergen Kommune, Kulturrådet, and BEK, tusen takk!