The Talking Body in the System
Nora Otte & David Le Thai
“The undersigned, the most humble of the undersigned, takes the liberty of approaching Eternal Majesty with the following respectful request and asks him to excuse the distress he is in and the feelings of motherly love." (copy of the petitions for mercy part 2 LGAISGV)
The project “27- Requests for Mercy of the Royal Saxon Army” of the life-historical Archive for Saxony was the starting point for the research residence entitled “The Talking Body in the System”.
The project deals with requests for the return of ex-military conscripts or deserted soldiers without punishment in the years 1872-1885. The requests were mostly written by the mothers, wives, sisters or fathers of the persons concerned and provide a fascinating insight into the social order of the time. Otte and Le Thai examined how the original documents could be translated into movement language, how the body reacts to certain concepts. The words call for poses from which a choreography can be developed through movement.
The petitions for mercy, which came from Dresden families, listed the old addresses that Otte and Le Thai visited in the second part of their residency. Here the history of Dresden became visible once again. None of the nine houses still exist. The streets were renamed or have completely disappeared from the city map. For the time being, the result of this research residency is an 8-minute short film in which the time then touches the present through the living body.