From February 3 till March 18, the Centre d’Art Contemporain in Geneva held a survey exhibition of the work of the British writer, performance-maker and visual artist Cally Spooner (b.1983). She presented her work in Belgium as well, as a part of the Playground festival at STUK and, more recently, during a talk she gave at KASK. Spooner’s work provides an interesting case study on performance and choreography in a museum setting – a much-debated subject – merging as it does creation processes and viewing regimes associated with the black box as well as the white cube. In her oeuvre, text, video, audio, sculpture and choreography are related thematically, dramaturgically and in time.
In this article, Elke Huybrechts regards what happened on theater stages in 2017 through a queer theoretical lens, motivated by her fondness for queering as a strategy, but also by the realization that there’s an antagonism as well as a certain elusiveness at the heart of the artistic practices she associates with it.
Until the beginning of February, the New York MoMA is mounting an exhibition on Judson Dance Theater. In the sixties, this legendary collective, which used the Judson Memorial Church in Greenwich Village as its home base, paved the way for a postmodern dance and performance which steered clear of the formalism of modern dance. The influence of Judson Dance Theater on the development of contemporary dance in the last decades of the twentieth century is undeniable. But what can the movement mean to millennials who are trying to find their place in the world of dance today?
To contextualize my work HUMAN SIMULATION, I organized a Cybernetic Conversation at the Beursschouwburg in March 2017 with Professor Francis Heylighen, head of the Evolution, Complexity and Cognition research group at the Free University of Brussels and the Global Brain Institute11His main research focus is the evolution of complexity. http://pespmc1.vub.ac.be/HEYL.html. Two months later, in June 2017, we arranged the first Cybernetic, Algorithmic, Systemic Theater Symposium22Artistic participants: Annie Dorsen, Orion Maxted, Špela Petrič, Miha Turšič, Nathan Fain, Ogutu Muraya, Noah Voelker, Leila Anderson, and Thomas Dudkiewicz. Scientific participants: Prof. Hans Westerhoff (Synthetic Systems Biology, UvA, VU, Amsterdam), Stefania Astrologo (researcher in the epigenetics of cancer) and Prof. Francis Heylighen. Curated by Orion Maxted, moderated by Chris Keulemans, enabled by Frascati Productions. at Frascati Theater, Amsterdam. Both these events brought together artists, theater makers and scientists in the fields of systems biology, cognitive science and cybernetics to build a common language around complex systems through theater experiments, lectures and conversations.
The influence of the essay as a means of expression has long reached beyond the confines of literature. Just think of the visual essay and the rich history of the essay film. In his groundbreaking study Postdramatisches Theater (1999), theatre scholar Hans-Thies Lehmann devoted a very short chapter to the ‘scenic essay’. Lehmann saw it as one of the possible paths that theatre could pursue as soon as it decentralized or let go of the dramatic plot. Today, a lot of the work that dominates our stages possesses an essayistic slant. Why is that? And how do artists translate this form to the stage?
War and revolution are two terms almost interchangeable. They appeared in the titles of the double bill on the inaugural night of the 2018 edition of the Bâtard Festival at Beursschouwburg. With no hierarchy suggested, the programming flexibly allowed the audience to start their evening with either Cezary goes to war by director Cezary Tomaszewksi or Tell me about the revolution by artist Farbod Fathinejadfard. Both are totally different in moods, but they set out for the same thing: politics.