Workingmaking out

written by Luc de Groen

Jochen Stechmann studied mathematics in Hamburg and contemporary dance at Fontys Dansacademie Tilburg and Matías Daporta González (1987) studied choreography at the School of New Dance Development (SNDO) in Amsterdam. During NIEUW WERK. they are performing Workingmaking out, a piece about truth, sexuality based on the late works of philosopher Michael Foucault and the 80s workout exercises of Jane Fonda.

Could you tell me how the collaboration between the two of you came to be?
Jochen: it was an old project that I actually already did two research phases on. To combine the philosophical work of the later Foucault with the workout exercises of Fonda.

Matias: there was also quite a sexual tension between the two of us, so it made sense to work together on a piece about sexuality and truth. He asked me to take the research further, so one year and eight months ago we had a two month residency at Dansmakers, and now we are finally premiering.

What is the role of theory and research in this particular piece? For example the works of Foucault?
Matias: I think Foucault right now is much less concrete in the play then it was when we began. We used to explain Foucault in the piece, but now he is less present. He is in the piece, he is in the core because that is where we began with.

Jochen: But he is kind of sunk in. He is in there, but now it is not explicit anymore.

Matias: That’s also a result of the long research process. We used to put it in the play because as a sort of justification of the play. But now that’s not necessary anymore.

Jochen: The other day there was a philosopher who came to our rehearsals, and then the next day he came with a quote from Foucault. So Foucault derived from what we were working on. So that reassured us in a way it is really related to the philosophy.

What do Foucault and Fonda in common?
Jochen: In a workout people try to transform their bodies, they try to transform themselves, into an idea that they have. They want that idea to match with themselves. This transformation through exercise, transformation through discipline, that is something that I see a lot in Foucault’s concept of self-technologies. He does this on an analytical level and she does it on the level of physical exercises, but what they do is quite similar. So the question for us was; can you exercise thoughts in the same way that you exercise your body, and vice versa.

Matias: In order to sell, Fonda used a lot of sexual connotations: she is always sexy and she looks sexy into the camera, penetrating the screen. So you have all these housewives who are doing these exercises, but by doing these exercises they are victims of sexual violence or sexual connotations. So while they train, they also train being sexual, or being attractive. Not only because they get thinner, but also because they exercise sexuality itself. And now, thirty years later, we have a ultra-sexualized society but that maybe comes from this kind of exercises that was training us to be sexual without being honest about it.

How big is the role of your own sexual bodies in the performance?
Matias: in this piece it’s all about our own stories. We don’t fake anything.

Jochen: that’s also why we asked other performers to appear in this piece, because otherwise we would only be able to show the perspective of the cisgender gay male.

Matias: and it’s important that it is all real because we take the exercises and the whole project seriously. It is a piece about honesty, and truth and sexuality, so it really makes no sense if you fake it. And the piece is dealing with how impossible it is to be honest.

For more information about Workingmaking out and exercises please visit the website:


Twice a year Frascati presents NIEUW WERK. (NEW WORKS.) This programme hosts performances by a new generation of dance- and theatre artists.

Two double bills with thrilling performances by the new and upcoming.