The APRA Foundation Berlin Multi-Disciplinary Fellow 2022

APRA Foundation Berlin Fellow 2022: Anya Yermakova

Project Proposal: The Bodies with/in\out

This project is about the multiplicity of bodies that permeate the self. I imagine, perform and document a continuity – from the somatic, interoceptive body; to the human, social body; and beyond, to the body politic. Focusing on the polyrhythms, the micro-politics, the proto-languages and other fine-tuning axes that entangle the various body-scales, the root ambition of the project is to dissolve the perceived and discursive boundaries that legitimize the discrete, isolated existence of bodies, broadly defined.

This undertaking imagines kinship and alliance across space and time, uniting researchers – principally under-recognized logicians from non-Western, non-Aristotelian traditions – who have carried out similar thought experiments of embodied reasoning across scales as acts of resistance against logical normativity. The act of uniting these individuals as interlocutors suggests a possible world in which amplifying the proposition of embodied logicality can be epistemically foundational rather than eccentric.

The project includes a book manuscript and a performance installation. The text will relate hybrid logics – some borrowed from actual archival materials and existing logical frameworks, some invented; with hybrid bodies – mostly recognizable as existing creatures but communicating directly across various body-scales. This part-real, part-mythic interaction is an enactment of a certain kind of synthetic understanding of reality which would elude us without attention to fine-tuning across body-scales. The interacting written word and performance research will engage with critical discourse on anthropocentricity, which has propagated one body-scale to be dominant. The project will further argue that the isolated existence of any “body” relies on a fallacy that disembodied logicality is possible, which the project both exposes and challenges.

Combined History of Science, Mathematical Logic, Musical Composition and
Dance Curriculum Vitae

Project Report: The Bodies with/in\out

During the tenure of my Fellowship, I made significant advancements on the performance installation. In a studio space, I developed an interactive system to be performed with and by my body/bodies. The installation included a piano, several speakers and microphones, a mic’ed floor, flamenco footwork percussion, various small instruments, and a computer. The funds of the fellowship helped me to acquire this needed equipment and to pay for the studio space. I presented a version of this performance installation in my studio in May in St Louis, another version at Španski Borci in Ljubljana, Slovenia in July, and will present it again at Washington University’s Desmond Lee Concert Hall in St Louis in February 2024.

I dug into my digital archives from research in Russia and Ukraine during the PhD years for (previously unused) material related to embodied logicality. The historical actors brought many surprises and inspired new directions, especially engaging evolutionary and multi-species perspectives. I have been working on a mixed paper/projection visual presentation of this archival material as part of the installation.

In writing, I have been borrowing from the third chapter of my dissertation in working towards a manuscript and have contacted some publishers. This process has been slow, and I will keep working towards a book contract while preparing for the event in February. I have also been working on an article about my process of “surfing” disciplines, which I plan to submit for publication soon and to share in lecture format preceding the February event.

Working on this project encouraged conversations about artistic research in the university, sparking several speaking opportunities. This has brought new interlocutors – people from both artistic practice and humanistic intellectual backgrounds interested in this multi-dimensional engagement of bodies – with whom I hope to I continue collaborating, in practice and in writing.

Anya Yermakova

is a multi-disciplinary artist and an historian and philosopher of logic. In her intellectual work, she deploys case studies of historical experimentalism in logic to destabilize modern logical normativity. She is particularly interested in embodied logicality, bringing into salience the ways in which dynamic, relational and non-binary notions can serve as atomic units for common sense. In her creative work, Anya expands the historical bent towards logical pluralism by using proto-rhythms and micro-rhythms as foundational units in sound-making and movement research. She employs a mix of acousmatic material, found sounds and a traditional score-making practice, and implicitly connects her soundscentric thought experiments to both the post-Soviet “futureless ontologies” and pre-Soviet radical logical experimentalism.

Anya has spublished for Leonardo, Annals of the History of Computing and Scientific American, and has been an artist in residence at Djerassi, UCross and Snape Maltings. She has had a variety of professional recordings of her work, from a recent electro-acoustic album of experimental ethnography and sound sculpting “mytho-logicking,” to a Concerto for Charango and Orchestra, to a sound-movement work, “Ocean Memory in the body.” She has trained as a classical pianist since age six and through a bachelor’s degree in music. She has also trained as a dancer: in Russian folk dance and ballet as a child, in competitive salsa ages 18-26, in flamenco since age 22, and in contact improvisation and somatics over the last ten years.

Anya holds a Ph.D. from the departments of History of Science and of Critical Media Practice at Harvard University. She is presently a Visiting Assistant Professor of Sound in the Cinema Studies department at Oberlin, where she is also an Artist in Residence of contact improvisation in the Dance department.