4.114 [Philosophy] must set limits to what can be thought; and, in doing so, to what cannot be thought. It must set limits to what cannot be thought by working outwards through what can be thought.
4.115 It will signify what cannot be said, by presenting clearly what can be said.
— Tractatus Logico-Philisophicus Ludwig Wittgenstein
Actual Limit is a movement-based performance artwork, generated in response to artist Courtney Mackedanz’s interest in the rigid “limit” of Ludwig Wittgenstein and the queer notion of “actuality” demonstrated by Simone Weil. Using text in a fashion that other choreographers may use music, Mackedanz embodies the often-wonky, sometimes-wonderful negotiations of bodies within the overlap of these two definitions of reality.
Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus attempts to define ‘the limit’, and to imagine what is unimaginable beyond. Weil’s Gravity and Grace is a collection of Christian mystical prose grappling with what is “actual” in human experience—alongside the potential for transcendence. These two works become the point of departure for choreographing the dancing body as both a limit and expression of transcendence.
During her sponsorship with High Concept Labs, Mackedanz will continue the work of reading, writing, and choreographing in response to Gravity and Grace, building upon her work with Tractus. An ensemble of dancers will display the resulting series of honed and specific gestures in a work in progress showing of Actual Limit. Mackedanz also plans to host workshop classes, reading/discussion groups, and to document the work process.
Courtney Mackedanz approaches dance-based performance making from the round-about-outside. Trained primarily in the visual arts, before making a dance Mackedanz typically first reads, writes, draws, stress-eats—and then finally begins to work. Her family name comes from the German for “to make dance”—thus Mackedanz attributes her oblique process to attempting to keep up with her namesake. Mackedanz employs a sense of humor and play that is atypical of her family’s traditionally stoic nature, though her serious side is evident in her commitment to dance as an intellectually rigorous medium.
Mackedanz received her BFA in Performance from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2013, where she executed her thesis work The Meaning of Maybe Project and published her thesis essay The Choreological Movement of Maybe. Mackedanz has exhibited her work widely in Chicago. Currently taking a break from her usual project of choreographing Thelma and Louise the Ballet, Mackedanz is eager to build momentum with her next project, Actual Limit, and is grateful for the support from High Concept Labs.