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In September 2009, Peter B defended his Ph.D in the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures at New York University. His Ph.D dissertation, “The Forgiveness to Come: Dreams and Aporias”, addresses the difficulties posed by the Holocaust for a thinking of forgiveness inherited from the Abrahamic (i.e. monotheistic) tradition. As a way to approach these difficulties, he explores the often radically divergent positions in the debate
on forgiveness in the literature of Holocaust survivors.
In the course of his education, he has worked under the guidance of some of the major figures of contemporary theory within the European tradition, including Jean-Luc Nancy, Werner Hamacher and Avital Ronell. He has published articles in refereed journals both in French and English on the work of figures such as Maurice Blanchot, Jacques Derrida, Martin Heidegger and Jean-François Lyotard, and has been the recipient of fellowships from the DAAD, the Leo Beack Intitute in New York and the Free University in Berlin. More information about his published and unpublished writings can be found at www.peterbanki.com
Peter has also invented several workshops and other events at Schwelle7 in Berlin. These include Fear Rituals (2006), The Reading Group (2007), Cultural Trauma (2007-2008), Queer Weekend: Romantic Life Performance (2008), Plush Animal Fetish (2008), The Poetry of Listening (2010). With the assistance of Felix Ruckert, he turned Ph.D research into a performance, entitled To Forgive the Unforgivable: A ‘Philosopher’ Who Wants To Dance (2009). To Forgive the Unforgivable has been performed several times at Schwelle7 and also in Sydney at the Medium Rare Art Gallery in Redfern.
Prior to working with Felix Ruckert, he worked in New York with Daniel Lepkoff, one of the founders of contact improvisation. He began dancing in Sydney in 1997 with Annetta Luce, who taught him to feel his feet. Since 1999 he has sustained a regular practice of Iyengar Yoga. He is currently learning Brazilian guitar in Sydney with Mestre Jerônimo, with whom he has played Capoeira for many years.
Many people give up their plush animals well before they go into puberty. However, there are also quite a few who never give them up, and courageously carry them into adulthood. For me, they are not toys, but living creatures, with unique personalities, likes and dislikes, and even sexualities. Beyond giving emotional comfort and reassurance, they create magical worlds of intimacy that it is possible to share with others.
This workshop is a unique opportunity to “out” yourself as a plush animal lover, or otherwise open yourself to an experience that is warm, funny and intimate, and which is for some more confronting than the most bizarre SM practices. I will talk about the role they play in my life, and in my relationships with others. Then they will introduce themselves. Circumstances permitting, we will let them take over, and lead us.
They are very anxious to meet new play partners. Choose your favorite one, or bring along all of them!
Many people within the BDSM world believe that you must choose a given role on one side or the other: top or bottom; dominant or submissive. If you don’t, you are considered not to know what you really want. There is, however, another school of thought that argues that one should cultivate the ability to enjoy all sides. From this point of view, growth consists not so much in going ever more deeply into a role that would somehow represent one’s true self, but in one’s openness to all the possibilities one can dream of.
For me, if you are absolutely unwilling or unable to switch, it’s a problem. It means you are overly attached to a particular emotional and/or psychological pattern. If, on the other hand, you are open to switching, you become in the end, arguably, a much better player, because you have the possibility for a more empathic understanding of your partner and a greater understanding of the energetic dynamic as a whole.
This workshop will propose switching scores adopted from dance. They are designed to stimulate your desire to play different roles and to increase your awareness of how roles change from one relationship to another. The scores will also permit you to explore creatively the different physical and spatial ways one can communicate dominance and submission, and how from one moment to another the roles can flip.
The opposition dominance/submission can at the limit be. Perhaps I am submissive, perhaps I am dominant, but perhaps I am neither submissive nor dominant, but something or someone else entirely.
In my journeys I have realized that for many people, including myself, what limits us erotically is above all the way we think, and not how good looking or young, sexy or well-dressed we are, which is what the capitalist society mostly tells us.
Most people are very confident that what they think is right, and that their values are right. Eroticism has this incredible power to put all that into question, if only we let it happen.
If bondage with the ropes is a highly visible, transitory and conscious action, what I am calling “intellectual bondage” is most often unconscious. It is not visible in the first instance. And, moreover, it is usually permanent. It manifests itself, for example, in a person's way of interpreting what happens to them, in their thinking and values, in their ability (or inability) to take risks or to listen. I don’t wish to suggest that intellectual bondage is simply negative. It also enables us. I believe it is impossible to learn without some intellectual bondage.
In this workshop, I wish to emphasize the role of intellectual bondage in our erotic relations. Rather than seeking to be liberated from it, more modestly I just want to ask if it may become more visible. Can we make our intellectual bondage more visible to ourselves and others? And can such an experience give birth to a more profound eroticism?
We will try to avoid too much talking.