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This artist conversation will focus on melanie bonajo’s creative practices and immersive installation, When the body says Yes, presented in IMMA’s stunning Baroque Chapel. The exhibition seeks to answer the question of whether there is still a place for intimacy in today’s increasingly commercialised and technological world. The central theme of the exhibition is touch: literally, but also representing our relationship to each other and the world around us.

The discussion explores the artist’s interests in non-mainstream communities pushed to the margins of society, either through cultural exclusion or because they do not belong to a normative system. Issues of ethical and empathic coexistence, body politics, equality and alternative forms of perception of the world and oneself are prominent themes of enquiry in bonajo’s work.

This talk offers a pretext to artist led workshops by Skinship Collective on Sat 27 July exploring Consentship (10am) and Collective Body Spells (2pm) at IMMA.



Artist Workshops

Hosted by melanie bonajo and Pawel Chill Dudus (Skinship_touch_based_place_for_Kinship)

10 – 1pm: Matheson Creativity Hub
Join artist melanie bonajo and Pawel CHILL Dudus of kinship collective for a (re)connection workshop about consent and boundaries. A series of exercises will explore how feeling is a form of intelligence and how feeling our boundaries is an act of social justice, an act of self-care and care for others. This is a queer-friendly workshop, the theme of consent will be explored through touching exercises. Participants are asked to bring a blanket or yoga mat.

This workshop is for anyone working and teaching in the area of consent. Places are limited. Ticketed – Book here

WORKSHOP – Collective Body Spells
2 – 5pm: Matheson Creativity Hub

What does it mean to summon a queer collective body to create a spell? How do we recognise the voice of our collective body and our voice inside of it? And to which collective future do our bodies say YES?

“Collective Body Spells” is a workshop about honouring individual needs while weaving them into the fabric of togetherness, creating a harmonious dance of interconnectedness. Picture a swarm of (queer) bodies moving as one, with each person at the centre having their needs met – that’s the essence of a collective body prayer, fostering genuine connections and shared moments of joy. The human body is the most basic connection to our planet and our future. Through movement, deep listening, empathetic understanding, and inner inquiry, join us as we sculpt a space together where every voice is heard.

This workshop is open to everyone who is interested. Places are limited. Ticketed – Book Here

About Artists

melanie bonajo
melanie bonajo (they/them/theirs) is an artist, filmmaker, sexological bodyworker, somatic sex coach and educator, cuddle workshop facilitator and activist. Through their videos, performances, photographs, and installations, they examine current conundrums of co co-existence in a crippling capitalist system, and address themes of eroding intimacy and isolation in an increasingly sterile, technological world. They research how technological advances and commodity commodity-based pleasures increase feelings of alienation, removing an individual s sense of belonging. Their works present anti anti-capitalist methods to reconnect and to explore sexualities, intimacies and feelings. bonajo s experimental documentaries often feature communities living or working on the margins of society, either through illegal means or cultural exclusion, and the paradoxes inherent to ideas of comfort with a strong sense for community, equality and body body-politics.

bonajo studied at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy and completed residencies at the Rijksakademie voor Beeldende Kunst in Amsterdam (2009 2009-10) and at ISCP in New York (2014). Solo exhibitions have been: KUMU Tallinn, EE (2023), FOMU Antwerp, BE (2023); Bonnefantenmuseum, Maastricht, NL (2018); Frankfurter Kunst verein, Frankfurt, DE (2017); FOAM, Amsterdam, NL (2016). Solo shows include When the body says Yes: IMMA Dublin, IE (2024); Kunstpalais Erlangen, DE (2024).

Pawel CHILL Dudus
Pawel CHILL Dudus (they/them) is a Polish artist living in Vienna. He studied contemporary dance and has danced in performances by Georg Blaschke, Akemi Takeya, Alessandro Sciarroni and others.

Pawel CHILL Dudus studied contemporary dance at the Anton Bruckner University in Linz. Since 2015 he has been dedicated to #ONLYLOVEISREAL – a friendship-based collaboration with Laura Eva Meuris, a long-term research project dedicated to the themes of love, intimacy and (self-)care. Pawel feels the need to respond to violence, hatred and fearmongering as well as to the prevalence of normative concepts.

He investigates how intimacy and shared vulnerability can help us to improve the way we interact with each other and to build alternative networks and relationships with each other. Pawel has given workshops at the Berlin festivals STRETCH and xplore, among others. Until recently, he performed in Alexander Gottfarb’s 365-day performance Negotiations at the Tanzquartier Wien.

Skinship is a touched based place for kinship @skinship_berlin. Skinship is a collective based berlin teaching workshops on touch, intimacy, consent, pleasure and activism, centering queer/trans/nonbinary/femme people. Celebrating life and diversity in connection to the body is core to our values, and an act of resistance. Melanie Bonino, Ayo Gry Jonassen, and Pawel CHILL Dudus founded Skinship in May 2020.