Anyone annoyed by Ai Weiwei’s photographic impression of a drowned Syrian child refugee could find tremendous hope in “Body Luggage: Migration of Gestures,” mounted as part of the Steirischer Herbst, an annual festival of dance, theater, art, and music in Graz. Here, art-historical tropes of continuity and mutation propagated by Alois Riegl and Aby Warburg politicized an international gathering of migration-themed, performance-centric commissions, which deftly invited one to rethink classical notions of innovation and originality. Indeed, many of the works explored ways in which artists and art practices survive displacement by becoming mobile containers of a kindjust as dispossessed migrants retain their body language even in new, unstable surroundings. The show included several pieces alluding to Ausdruckstanz, Germany and Austria’s Expressionist dance scene of the 1920s,
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