A Permanent Parliament

Rafal Kosakowski designed Cory Tamler’s 184-page book A Permanent Parliament—notes on Michael Kliën’s social choreography. In this book, Parliament writes out of itself. Artist and writer Cory Tamler holds the container, editing together her memories of her own experiences as a participant, excerpts from conversations with Michael Kliën and from his personal archive, theoretical propositions for the way Parliament could go to work in the world, and reflections from other participants in Parliament over the years. An annotated bibliography makes visible the framework of ideas—from art and choreography to systems theory and political theory—within which Parliament sits.

Over the past decade, at least a thousand people (among them philosophers, office workers, professional dancers, scientists, students, artists, and the author-editor of this book) have participated in Parliament sessions from Athens to New York City. For all its potency, Parliament resists being written about, starting from any attempt to describe what it is. It resists authorship too. Choreographer and artist Michael Kliën prefers to say he discovered it, or wished for it, from within “a felt urgency that things are just not sustainable.”

This book is an experiment in writing about performance from the conviction that our entire beings (thoughtbodies) make theory. It is meant for readers who, whether familiar or unfamiliar with Parliament, are interested in how the social is formed and in bodies as key agents in its formation.