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In March 2018, the Nasher Museum presented Parliament at Duke: A Pioneering Work of Situational Choreography, by Michael Kliën of Duke’s Dance Program. Kliën, who is new to Duke as associate professor of the practice, is directing the new MFA in dance. Kliën had already presented versions of Parliament in Amsterdam, Greece, Brussels, London and New York. The Nasher Museum knocked down all of the walls in Pavilion II, after Disorderly Conduct came down. Over the course of four days, more than 100 participants spent six hours a day standing, walking, lying on the floor and otherwise navigating the empty gallery space. On March 8, five Duke professors and three wellness community members took part in a panel discussion at the Nasher, “Participating in Experience: Ethics and Essential Questions.”

It is like a snow globe, you always want someone to come and shake it again. Everybody needs to shake each other’s reality all the time.

Michael Kliën, Dance Program at Duke, as quoted in The Chronicle
A very young visitor engages with participants of Parliament at the Nasher Museum. Photo by Ryan Helsel.

We are not exhausted by the social and cultural worlds we inhabit and build. They are finite. We, in comparison to them, are not. We can see, think, feel, build, and connect in more ways … than they can allow.

Roberto Mangabeira Unger, The Self Awakened: Pragmatism Unbound
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Upcoming Nasher event ‘PARLIAMENT’ seeks to recalibrate our realities

Michael Kliën’s performance art piece “PARLIAMENT” seeks to unearth the arbitrary choreographies present in our daily life.

view article on The (Duke) Chronicle | Published February 21, 2018

Introduction to Parliament at Duke for Visitors

Participants of Parliament stand, walk, lie down and otherwise navigate an empty gallery space, in silence, for six hours a day, over the course of four days, at the Nasher Museum. Photo by J Caldwell.
Participants of Parliament stand, walk, lie down and otherwise navigate an empty gallery space, in silence, for six hours a day, over the course of four days, at the Nasher Museum. Photo by J Caldwell.

PARLIAMENT
March 7 – 10, 2018

PARLIAMENT is a work by choreographer and artist Michael Kliën (born in Hollabrunn, Austria, 1973). Through the silent interaction of 100 persons over four days, a citizen’s parliament is cultivated. Participants sharing this space enact new forms of communion by not speaking and by not using electronic devices. The day is spent tuning their perception to the underlying dynamics of the individual and the collective mind, sensing and interacting with nature’s self-organizing patterns. Traces inscribed in gestures and relations are left behind by each individual, and may potentially be picked up, developed, and propagated by someone else.

A situation unfolds in which participants hold council about fundamental issues, the core problems of living: How should we be in this world as individuals and how should we be in this world together? PARLIAMENT negotiates the ethics that underlie daily interactions as well as political acts. It challenges us to entrust what our own senses tell us, to feel the life and struggles of others, and to form social bonds that allow everyone to contribute to society.

You are welcome to move silently among the participants in the gallery. Allow adequate time for the work to resonate. Individuals who are interested in becoming an official participant may inquire at the Nasher Museum visitor services desk.

PARLIAMENT is supported by the Nasher Museum of Art, The Kenan Institute for Ethics, and the Duke Dance Program.

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The health and safety of our community is our top priority. In accordance with Duke University, the museum is closed to visitors until further notice. The café and store are closed. Find updates and the latest information on Duke’s Coronavirus Response website.