Joana Tischkau

Corona hit me and my team of collaborators hard. We were meant to tour my two current works around Germany and Austria and all of our gigs were cancelled. We immediately gathered for emergency meetings via Zoom and fought hard with programmers about possible cancellation fees, with state institutions about emergency funds and social security. While some theaters seemed lost other institutions and collaborators offered immediate support and were open for a discussion about how tackle the current situation. In the midst of home-office, home-schooling, home-cooking, home-cleaning, of course, there were also home-workout sessions via youtube and Zoom. „Colonastics“, a fitness workout that doubles up as a critical whiteness lecture, has been with me for some time now. The concept emerged long before the violent killing of George Floyd and the now famous Central Park incident that captures white embodiment so perfectly*. As I mainly create for theatre spaces, this was the only format in the back of my projects folder that I believed could also function digitally. For me it works as a reminder that even though this moment might have felt like a pause, the white supremacist, capitalist patriarchy, as bell hooks would say, doesn’t grant us a ‚rest day‘.

In this very moment, sofas and kitchen tables are being pushed to the side to make space for yoga mats, bedrooms are turned into exercise parcours and carpets into weightlifting areas. At the core of his new-found quarantine life is the very present idea that you can re-emerge as a stronger, fitter and better version of yourself, the modernist myth of unlimited and constant progress. Whether practiced in the safe environment of your newly created home gym or in the studio, what Yoga, Zumba, Pole Dancing and Breaklaethics have in common is that their vocabulary feeds off an imaginary esoteric and exotic space as well as body that is constructed as the ‚other‘. Joana Tischkau’s workout „Colonastics“ also invites you to clear your surroundings for a sweaty work-out that decolonizes your body, mind and spirit. Take part in a physical practice that developed out of the unmarked embodiment of whiteness and which carves out a blueprint of white masculine embodiment from which it sheds light onto the colonial and neo-colonial practices of the fitness industry. Because at last maybe you can have it all; The rationality of a straight white man with the physicality and corporeality of a black woman.