MARCH 20 Curated and presented by David Weber-Krebs
With contributions by Andrea Božić, André Eiermann, Nikolaus Gansterer, Maximilian Haas, Mette Ingvartsen, André Lepecki, Jeroen Peeters and David Weber-Krebs.



Keywords: materialism, alligator, cosmos, sculpture, darkness, bestiaire, speculation, object, wood, fluids, spectatorship, realism, authorship, diagram.

Anthropocentrism has become increasingly untenable in the light of scientific experiment and discovery. Now that we know how similar, and how closely related we are to all the living things on the planet, we cannot continue to consider ourselves as unique. And we cannot isolate our own interests, and our own economies, from processes taking place on a cosmic scale in a universe whose boundaries we are unable to grasp.
Steven Shaviro, 2014.

Usually people who step into a theatre are of two kinds: the spectators and the actors. The spectators watch the actors. Both usually are humans. This happens usually in the enclosed space of theatre. In its symbolism, economy, and practice, theatre is the place where the human stands central with his body and his words. But what kind of spectatorship applies when challenged by an encounter with a thing, a creature, a flow, fiction, or darkness? Is it at all possible to abandon anthropocentrism in this game? During this day we are going to focus on the non-human in theatre and outside of it, on stages, screens, and the great outdoors. Spectators will be activated in various ways by lectures, performances in and outside the theatre, and a cosmic event.

Andrea BožićDay for Night

This performance is a once in a 500,000 years event. For the 20th of March, the beginning of spring in the Northern Hemisphere and autumn in the Southern, Andrea Božić has prepared a spectacle titled Day for Night (Total Eclipse of Equinox Sun). The piece features a total eclipse of the Sun that will turn day into night at the moment of the same length of day and night in the whole world. The eclipse of the sun will interrupt this equilibrium of light and darkness.

The premium seats for the performance are at the North Pole. As the sun rises at the horizon for the first time after six months of darkness at the North Pole, the Moon covers the Sun and day becomes night again. The performance will affect all our senses: the temperature falls, insects and birds stop making sounds, the tides get more extreme and the landscape changes dramatically in only a few moments. We are in the Moon’s shadow and we see the Moon’s dark side. Dreams and secrets emerge in the dark. Seats for the performance in the Moon’s shadow are unlimited but visibility depends on your area. The Netherlands, where we are based, will enjoy the spectacular 87% visibility. For further instructions on how to attend the performance:

André EiermannLooking through an awry lens

To look at art through the lens of theatre – this has, since the proclamation of a so-called performative turn, become a matter of course in the field of theatre studies. But while the lens which is usually applied for this purpose, i.e. the understanding of theatre, remains shaped in most cases by an anthropocentric concept of performance defined on the basis of inter-human encounter, this concept is recently challenged by certain developments in contemporary performing arts. Non-human performers like animals or objects appear. Animated items, substances in motion, and acousmatic voices interfere with or even replace the human body’s presence. Performances occur partly or even entirely without human performers. In this lecture, André Eiermann asks what kind of consequences such developments entail, and what it means to look at art through a lens correspondingly curved.

Nikolaus Gansterer Habeas Corpus Ad Subjiciendum, or Body of Work? You’re Looking at It

Translectures are translations. They transform one thought into another. They are also invitations to understand and interpret one reality through another. How far can a drawing – a medium of high immediacy – become tool of communication, a score, and again an instruction for taking action? Nikolaus Gansterer presents his time-based fragile drawings and models as a rigorous development of a specific language for the materialisation of thought processes and a playful way of dealing with the complex levels of speculative knowledge. For Gansterer, Translectures are an open, performative model where live inscription fuses live-drawing, staging the unfolding of his on-going research through presentation rather than re-presentation.

Maximilian HaasAnimal Agency

Higher animals resemble humans in so many ways that philosophy and art have always felt obliged to determine the differences. Western modernity even considers man and animal to be opposites. It is only the human being who possesses language systems, consciousness and social manners, characteristics distinguishing us from the animal. Whether as the zoon politikon, the animal rationale, or – in essentially modern terms – the body-machine that thinks, there is unquestionably one thing man is not: an animal amongst animals. In Animal Agency, Maximilian Haas looks into man’s exceptional position among other worldly lifeforms, marked by the distinction between intention and instinct.

Reality is divided into two worlds: we inhabit one world, they inhabit the other. Ours is called culture and is created by free subjects, while theirs is called nature and contains living objects, which, however, are without any cognition or will. Empirical encounters with animals, especially in the reinforcing frame of (contemporary) art and theatre, draw a very different picture: Usually the works do not simply show an animal, but always this one animal. Lending their motifs both face and figure, an individual aura, they invite the beholder to speculate about the subject’s biography, character, emotions and passions. In short, they lend the animal subjectivity and highlight its (non-human) agency.

David Weber-KrebsPerformance (Robert Morris revisited)

What is it with the spectacular? To find out, on as to go back to a historic period in modern art, that was seemingly defined by an unparalleled will to be anything but spectacular: the minimalism of the 1960s. Of course, doing little can be quite unspectacular, but doing very little is again most spectacular. And it was. So how is something unspectacular turning into something spectacular? Is it the thought, the speculation, or is it the sight, the spectacle?

Performance is a spectacle and a speculation telling the true story of how the American artist Robert Morris injured his head in 1961. Concept and realization by David Weber-Krebs, in collaboration with Jan-Philipp Possmann. Technical realization by Hans Wenstendorp; produced by Infinite Endings and Frascati.

Mette IngvartsenSpeculations

In this discursive-practice-performance, Mette Ingvartsen uses imagination, speculation and description, three differently charged modes of address, to develop ideas in front of an audience. The spectator is not directly participating in the performance but is nevertheless playing an active role in the encounter. Ideas around artificial nature, catastrophic constructions and the autonomy of objects are being processed through talking, gesturing and moving. Speech and physical actions are given equal value, while being used to materialize a virtual performance within the mind of the spectator. Concept and performance by Mette Ingvartsen. Production Management by Kerstin Schroth. Production by Mette Ingvartsen/Great Investment with support from Summer Intensive 2011, organized by Christine De Smedt/les ballets C de la B and DOCH (University of dance and circus, Stockholm).

André LepeckiIn the dark

In this talk, André Lepecki shares his research and interests in what might be revealed in the dark by considering some recent performances where darkness is the key element of an illumination without light. Following recent theoretical-aesthetic propositions by Fred Moten, Mette Ingvartsen, Jonathan Crary and Tino Sehgal, Lepecki explores the ways that darkness offers us the possibility of a collective modality of experience, where de-personalisation and speculation propose an non-enlightened critical stance and a more resonant aesthetics, away from photological (science of light) imperatives. 

Jeroen PeetersIt lay like a log absolutely motionless and apparently deprived of all its faculties by our damp climate, so inhospitable to foreign visitors

Now that artistic practices often operate in an expanded, interdisciplinary field, pursue anthropological interests, or are in search of new places to thrive outside of the traditional institutions – how can we still recognize artistic gestures? How can we tell them apart from social and political practices? From journalism and the daily flood of images that surround us? What if we’d approach the ways we see, hear, sense and imagine art as an ‘ecology of attention’ – would we discover a conceptual landscape populated with animals, plants and objects that somehow clarifies the medial character of the cultural ecosystems we embody? Jeroen Peeters will explore these questions through a single trope: the crocodile, a predator that devours language and culture to then retreat like a heavy, taciturn creature to the river bottom of many books and film

9:29 – 11:48 (final location tbd by weather, meet at de Brakke Grond) 1 bit
Andrea Božić perfomance Day For Night led by David Weber-Krebs & Julia Willms Keep Knotting Notes performance by TXT department students (while EXPOZAAL doors open)

SLOT 1 12.30 - 14.302 bits

Introduction to today's program by David Weber-Krebs
Animal Agency by Maximilian Haas
It lay like a log absolutely motionless and apparently deprived of all its faculties by our damp climate, so inhospitable to foreign visitors by Jeroen Peeters

(15min break)

SLOT 2 14.45 - 16.45 2 bits

Performance (Robert Morris revisited) by David Weber-Krebs RODE ZAAL
Screening excerpt from Five by Abbas Kiarostami + the making of
Looking through an awry lens by André Eiermann

(15min break)

SLOT 3 17.00 - 19.00 2 bits

In the dark by André Lepecki
Performance Speculations by Mette Ingvartsen RODE ZAAL (Limited seats available – reservations at the front desk Thursday & Friday)

Full Attendance 7 bits

** Nikolaus Gansterer's Translectures will be performed throughout the day in the EXPOZAAL.

** IMPORTANT: Speculations by Mette Ingvartsen in the RODE ZAAL has limited seats available – please make reservations at the front desk Thursday & Friday.

**MASTERCLASS SESSIONS for Rietveld Students Esteemed guests of Are You Alive Or Not?, Claire Tancons (curator from New Orleans) and Dmitry Vilensky (member of the collective Chto Delat from Petersburg) will be leading two separate peripatetic sessions through the Rietveld Uncut exhibition, with a small group of students (maximum of 20). These conversational sessions will revolve around the students’ work as seen through the conceptual lens of the conference.

Each Masterclass addresses predominantly the Rietveld Uncut participants but it is also open to any student of the Rietveld Academie. Reservations can be made at the front desk during Thursday, Friday and Saturday afternoon.

Friday, March 20 with Claire Tancons 10.30 - 12.30 2 bits
Saturday, March 21 with Dmitry Vilensky 17.15 - 18.30 2 bits

Andrea Božić is a choreographer from Croatia, living and working in Amsterdam. Day for Night is the fourth performance in the series of collaborations with the night sky titled: Night Sky: Further Investigations Into Choreography, part of the larger cycle of collaborations with the weather titled Telling Future. Božić’s work has been produced by the Frascati since 2003 and has been presented at numerous festivals and venues internationally. She has collaborated with visual artist Julia Willms and music composer Robert Pravda since 2005 with whom she founded the interdisciplinary platform Tilt in 2009, to promote interdisciplinary artistic practice and thinking. At the University of Zagreb, she studied modern dance and earned a degree in Comparative Literature and English Language. She graduated from the School For New Dance Development and the Amsterdam Masters of Choreography, both at the Theaterschool Amsterdam. Since 2012, Andrea has been a mentor at the Amsterdam Master of Choreography and artistic monitor at DasArts, where she has also acted as an advisor for students.

André Eiermann asks what happens when an anthropocentric concept of performance defined on the basis of inter-human encounters is challenged by developments in contemporary performing arts. He works as an independent theater scholar and as dramaturge with the Brussels artist group fieldworks and studied at the Institute for Applied Theater Studies in Giessen, where he also obtained his doctorate. His dissertation “Postspektakuläres Theater” (Postspectacular Theatre) was published in 2009. He teaches and researches in various academic contexts – amongst lectureship positions at home and abroad he was substitute professor for theater studies at the Goethe University Frankfurt am Main from 2010 through 2011. For summer 2015, he has been invited as visiting professor to the Berlin University of the Arts.

Nikolaus Gansterer is a Vienna-based artist researching how far a drawing can become tool of communication, a score, and again an instruction for taking action. In recent years Gansterer developed a series of performances called Translectures – an inter-subjective form of notation and a new vocabulary between the lines of drawing, choreography and performance. Within this specific performance-lecture format Gansterer is interested – often in collaboration with others (philosophers, theoreticians, scientists) – how a thought could be extended along the categories of time, space and movement. He studied art at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna and completed his post-academic studies at the Jan van Eyck Academie, Maastricht. Co-founder of the Institute for Transacoustic Research and The Vegetable Orchestra, he also lectures at the Institute for Transmedia Art at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna, Austria.

Maximilian Haas is a cultural theorist and dramaturge based in Berlin. Haas collaborates with performance-makers and choreographers, and teaches in art academies and universities. His research interests and publications primarily address the field of Animal Studies and Performance Aesthetics as well as Poststructuralism, Actor-Network-Theory, New Materialism, and Pragmatism. His practice-based PhD project (begun 2011) Animals on Stage: An Aesthetic Ecology of Performance (Academy of Media Arts Cologne, Lebensformen+Lebenswissen Frankfurt/Oder) has involved a series of performances, including Balthazar (with David Weber-Krebs), during which a group of human performers confronted a live donkey on stage. He studied at the Institute for Applied Theatre Studies in Gießen and has been recently employed by the Volksbühne Berlin.

Mette Ingvartsen is a Danish choreographer and dancer researching the relationship between artist writing and artistic practice, using her own work and writing as a way to experiment with these relations. She is currently doing a PhD in choreography at UNIARTS in Sweden, and will be artist-in-residence at the KAAITHEATER in Brussels until 2016. She has worked as a performer in projects of Jan Ritsema / Bojana Cvejic, Xavier Le Roy and Boris Charmatz. She studied in Amsterdam and Brussels and graduated from the performing arts school P.A.R.T.S. in 2004. Recent performances include “All the way out there...”(2011), “The Artificial Nature Project” (2012) and “69 Positions” (2014).

André Lepecki is a curator, writer and dramaturge working mainly on performance studies, choreography and dramaturgy. He is currently Associate Professor in Performance Studies at New York University where he teaches courses on critical theory, continental philosophy, performance studies, dance studies, and experimental dramaturgy. He has curated and lectured extensively, including the lecture series Points of Convergence: performance and visual arts, for the Museum of Modern Art of Warsaw in 2014. He is widely published and his book Exhausting Dance: performance and the politics of movement, (Routledge, 2006) has already been translated in 10 languages. His forthcoming book Singularities: dance and visual arts in the age of performance is scheduled for publication in 2016, also through Routledge.

Jeroen Peeters is a writer, dramaturge and performer based in Brussels. His latest book, Through the Back: Situating Vision between Moving Bodies (2014) reflects on spectatorship and contemporary dance as a critical force in visual regimes. Peeters has published widely on contemporary dance, performance, art theory and philosophy and co-edited books on the aesthetics of Jean-François Lyotard, queer theory, monstrosity, and the performance collective Superamas. Peeters set up several dialogical projects with artists, which resulted in a book in collaboration with Meg Stuart, Are we here yet? (2010). As a dramaturge, artistic collaborator and performer, he has contributed to the performances and research projects of Julien Bruneau, deufert+plischke, Jack Hauser, Sabina Holzer, Martin Nachbar, Meg Stuart and Jozef Wouters, among others.

David Weber-Krebs (BE/D) is an artist and a researcher based in Brussels. He explores various contexts as a basis for an experimental process, which questions the traditional relationship between the work of art and its public. Recent works include the performances Tonight, lights out! (2011/2013), Balthazar (2013) with Maximilian Haas, Into the big world (2014), and the installation Immersion (2014) at the Weltkulturen Museum, Frankfurt. He studied at the University of Fribourg (CH) and the Amsterdam School of the Arts. Currently he teaches at different visual arts and performance academies, and collaborates with artists and theorists on a regular basis.