boychild & Fernando Zalamea

Borders between Mathematics, Gestures and Dance

How do we gesture to the invisible, the trans or the obscure? A performative conversation between boychild and Fernando, a sharing of gestures, and a bodily back and forth between mathematician and dance artist.

The French communist and radical gay activist, philosopher and mathematician Gilles Châtelet thought that maths was best understood as gestures: articulations in motion that collapse what we want to say into how we say it. How does this relate to how boychild thinks about “the world’s moments enfolded”, or what the writer André Lepecki calls ‘choreopolitics’ — the gestures of protest that are made even within the tightest, policed spaces?

In one sense, gestures are the only medium that could possibly apprehend the multiplicity and constant motion of our times. They are essentially mobile, liable to torsion, capable of re-integrating cuts and discontinuities, and sensitive to fleeting articulations. But gestures can never be complete — incompleteness is fundamental to them. In trying to do something that goes beyond us, that evades our condition, we are always reaching out towards the infinite, the mystical, to get a small sense of something more profound. The purity and beauty of failure tears open the sky behind every gesture.

Fernando will share a gesture that sums up a mathematical concept with boychild. boychild will respond with a gesture of her own. They’ll then continue back and forth like this, maybe with some chatting.

Fernando Zalamea is a Colombian mathematician, philosopher, cultural critic and writer living in Bogotá. He opens up the vast spectrum of modern and contemporary mathematics and the new philosophical possibilities they suggestto any of us who have ever read an epic novel, been moved by a piece of art, or wonder about the complexity of human understanding and social life.  His thinking — as summarised in English in his book Synthetic Philosophy of Contemporary Mathematics (Urbanomic x Sequence Press 2012) — weaves  together strands of the modern and postmodern, the rational and the romantic into a synthetic universality, endlessly revisable and updatable, and puts forward an idea of the trans and transmodernity as a term to encompass our unfolding epoch. 


boychild is a movement-based performance artist whose work operates through improvisation as a mode of survival and world-building, in the liminal, performative space where becoming meets representation.  Adamant about the visceral experience of live visual performance, boychild makes a case for how the movement of form can communicate what remains impenetrable through images and language.


boychild has participated in several Episodes including Episode 5: Hidden in Plain Sight, Episode 8: Refuse Powers’ Grasp and Episode 9: Other World’s Already Exist.


Image Description: Feranando Zalamea and boychild face one another on a dark stage, they are lit with a yellow cast of light.  Fernando’s back is to the camera; boychild’s left arm and hand is placed upwards against their chest with the right hand grasping the left elbow.

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