Mette Ingvartsen, 'Speculations' © Studium Generale Rietveld
    Maximilian Haas, 'Animal Agency' © Studium Generale Rietveld
    Nikolaus Gansterer, 'Translectures' © Studium Generale Rietveld
    Andrea Božić, 'Day For Night' © Studium Generale Rietveld
    André Lepecki, 'In the Dark' © Studium Generale Rietveld

on enclosed spaces and the great outdoors

curation

During the past years, theatre maker David Weber-Krebs and theoretician/dramaturge Jeroen Peeters have been developing the project On Enclosed Spaces and the Great Outdoors. This project addresses the question: how are the arts (its questions, forms, research and discourses) challenged by climate change?

So far, it’s taken on the form of a performative conference that had four editions:

* 1. More than Human Participation (De Brakke Grond, 2015)
* 2. Limits of Human Sensorium (Kaaitheater, 2018)
* 3. Decolonial Ecologies (De Brakke Grond, 2020)
* 4. Grounding (Kaaitheater, 2021)

concept by
david weber-krebs & jeroen peeters
curated by
david weber-krebs & jeroen peeters
supported by
kaaitheater, DAS theatre, gerrit rietveld academie, brakke grond, BUDA kunstencentrum, damaged goods

watch the four editions of On Enclosed Spaces and the Great Outdoors

On Enclosed Spaces and the Great Outdoors - 1. More than Human Participation

18-22 March 2015, Brakke Grond, Amsterdam

Curated and hosted by  David Weber-Krebs

With contributions by Andrea Bozic, Andre Eiermann, Nikolaus Gansterer, Maximilian Haas, Mette Ingvartsen, André Lepecki, Jeroen Peeters and David Weber-Krebs.

In the frame of a five days festival/conference organized by the Studium Generale of the Gerrit Rietveld Academie. Convened and moderated by invited curators Claire Tancons (curator, New Orleans), David Weber-Krebs (artist, Brussels), Joanna Warsza (curator, Berlin) and Claire Bishop (art historian, New York).

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 possible to abandon anthropocentrism at all 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 engaged in various ways by lectures, screenings, performances in and outside the theatre, and a cosmic event.

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please click here to watch the first edition of on enclosed spaces and the great outdoors 

Andrea Božić – Day For Night led by David Weber-Krebs & Julia Willms

For this first intervention, we met at 11:00 and walked from the Brakke Grond to the Dam.

For the 20th of March, the beginning of spring in the Northern Hemisphere and autumn in the Southern, I have prepared a special 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 performance is a once in a 500 000 years event.

Day for Night is the fourth performance in the series of my 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. For this dance, three celestial bodies will align in a straight line. The full blood-red Moon will pass between the Earth and the Sun, temporarily disrupting the coming of the light.

The introduction of the day by Gabrielle Schleijpen.

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

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 a quite 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. The lecture asks what kind of consequences such developments entail, and what it means to look at art through a lens correspondingly curved.

Maximilian Haas – Animal 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. Man has an exceptional position among other lifeforms, which is 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, theirs is called nature and contains living objects which, however, are without any cognition or will. 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-Krebs – Performance (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 (Robert Morris Revisited) is a spectacle and a speculation telling the true story of how the American artist Robert Morris injured his head in 1961.

André Eiermann – Looking 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 a quite 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. The lecture asks what kind of consequences such developments entail, and what it means to look at art through a lens correspondingly curved. 

André Lepecki – In the Dark

In this talk, I am interested in thinking about what might be revealed in the dark, particularly 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, Tino Sehgal, I would like to explore how darkness offers us the possibility of a collective modality of experience where depersonalisation and speculation propose an non-enlightened critical stance and a more resonant aesthetics, away from photological imperatives.

    Mette Ingvartsen, 'Speculations' © Studium Generale Rietveld

Mette Ingvartsen – Speculations

Imagination, speculation and description, three differently charged modes of address, are in this presentation used to develop ideas in front of an audience. The spectator is not directly participating in the performance but is never the less 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 & Performance: Mette Ingvartsen
Production Management: Kerstin Schroth
Production: Mette Ingvartsen/ Great Investment
Support: Summer Intensive 2011 organized by Christine De Smedt/les ballets C de la B and DOCH (University of dance and circus, Stockholm)

On Enclosed Spaces and the Great Outdoors - 2. Limits of the Human Sensorium

10 February 2018 11am – 6pm, Kaaitheater, Brussels
a performance-conference curated by David Weber-Krebs and Jeroen Peeters

With contributions by René ten Bos, Augusto Corrieri, Axel Dörner, Mette Edvardsen, Bryana Fritz, Nikolaus Gansterer, Anne Juren, Michael Marder and Stefanie Wenner.

Co-production BUDA kunstencentrum, Damaged Goods, Kaaitheater.

We live in an age in which human activity has a profound impact on our physical and ecological surroundings. Nevertheless, these transformations often go unseen – they are literally too large or too small for our senses and imagination to take in. How can we create stories, aesthetics, and spaces of experience to deal with this situation reflexively and critically? And in the theatre, how can we focus attention on the many non-human actors and factors that play a role? A variety of hybrid artistic and theoretical interventions are specially created for  On Enclosed Spaces and the Great Outdoors. They’ll resonate with one another in a performative setting and constitute a dramaturgy of an entire day. Lunch and dinner are included.

>      to read more please click here
>      please click here to watch the second edition of oesgo

Introduction of the day by David Weber-Krebs and Jeroen Peeters.

Mette Edvardsen – No Title

The performance No Title is about how reality exists in language and how this extends into real space. It is about how memory and imagination blur. It is about things and how things can be there and gone at the same time, and that what defines this is various. It is about things that are gone and about things that remain. No Title is about the awareness that all things are impermanent and that nothing lasts forever. It is about things that have gone before their time and things that never quite disappear. It is about what the piece and its making is, what a piece can do, what it is for, what its power and limit could be. It is about the gap between a world and our ideas of it, the invincible gap between thought and experience, between here and there. No Title is a writing in space, a writing that is both additive and subtractive. It is a writing that traces and erases, that moves and halts, that looks at things that are not there and recovers that which is instead.

On Enclosed Spaces and the Great Outdoors - 3. Haunted Scenes, Decolonial Ecologies

29 February 2020 11am – 6pm, De Brakke Grond, Amsterdam
a performance-conference curated by David Weber-Krebs and Jeroen Peeters.

Produced by Arp for Infinite Endings and De Brakke Grond in collaboration with DAS Theatre.
Production/Assistance Dramaturgy: Simone Basani.

With contributions by Maria Thereza Alves, Kristof Van Baarle, Denis Côté, Malcom Ferdinand, Daisy Hildyard, Gilles Laurent, Amanda Piña and David Weber-Krebs. video: Luca Mattei. Special thanks to Marie Urban.

What remains of the theatre as we know it when its walls crumble and the outside world creeps in? Perhaps we discover a landscape in which humans are no longer in the foreground and where various life-forms and agents claim their place. Do we need to develop different modes of attention to appreciate these more-than-human actors as well as our intertwining with them? “Haunted Scenes, Decolonial Ecologies” evokes the horizon of a world without people, but also relates to the material witnesses and ghosts of oppression and extinction that linger in these emergent ecosystems.

to read more please click here

Introduction of the Day by David Weber-Krebs and Jeroen Peeters.

Malcom Ferdinand – A Decolonial Ecology: Voices from the Hold of Modernity

Behind its claim of universality, environmental thought was built on the occultation of the colonial, patriarchal and slavery foundations of modernity. Drawing upon his recently published book A Decolonial Ecology: Thinking of Ecology from the Caribbean World (in French), Dr Malcom Ferdinand will stage the perspectives and voices of those who have been silenced, uprooted and cast out of the world. Through theory and spoken word, he suggests a path of justice and dignity out of the ecological crisis that points to the horizon of a common world.

Daisy Hilyard – Ash

How can a person experience absence? This talk will use death, grief and extinction to think about presence and desire. It will give an account of how individuals of four different species (a cow, a human, a microbe and an ash tree) might end their lives, or have their lives ended. Death is experience outside memory: each of the four stories extends beyond that which an individual person might ordinarily expect to know, and in this sense it can help me to think about how to tell – or listen to – stories beyond the human.

David Weber-Krebs – The Actual Event

Let’s imagine people waiting in the foyer of a theatre. They are waiting for the door to open. It opens and they enter the theatre. When everybody is inside the door is closed behind them. There is no tribune. No stage. It is an enclosed space and what people share there is air. The air that was there before they entered, air that now mingles with the air that all of them have carried inside. A fragile balance comes into being. Something seems to be at stake here. In this lecture-performance David Weber-Krebs analyses what happens when strangers gather in spaces. How does their mere presence change this place? What happens before, after or during the actual event they are due to participate in?

Kristof van Baarle – The Trouble with the End: What Remains After Theatre?

I would like to talk about the final scene in works that deal with end. How to end a performance about end, or an artwork that precisely performs a process of ending? In this lecture, I will draw from concrete experiences as a dramaturge and connect these to larger ecological and philosophical questions about extinction, end times, death, nothingness and absence. What remains in the theatre when the last human has left, when the show is over?

Aphasia or another world
by Jan-Willem Anker
published on SARMA. Laboratory for discursive practices and expanded publication

When I think about global warming, that is, the human influence on the climate system that, judging by a huge stream of news reports and scientific publications, increasingly marks all life and will continue to do so for centuries to come, I quickly experience how complicated it is to use a language that does justice to this, to the scale on which all this as yet undetermined ‘new weather’ will intervene in the lives of all beings on earth.

Global warming will not leave anything or anyone unaffected…

full article

First intended as a performative conference, On Enclosed Spaces and the Great Outdoors – 4. Grounding has been reworked into a series of radio contributions that will be streamed in three parts from Kaaitheater.

We live in an age in which human activity has a profound impact on our physical and ecological surroundings. How can we create stories, aesthetics, and spaces of experience to deal with this situation reflexively and critically? What role can the performing arts play in the debate on climate crisis?

What remains of the theatre as we know it when its walls crumble and the outside world creeps in? When formulating this question over a year ago, little did we know it would be overtaken by reality in unexpected ways. The covid pandemic has made some uncanny aspects of the climate crisis into an acutely felt reality. Events, lifeforms and entanglements beyond our control have entered not only the theatre, but our familiar environments of life and work. Confusion, constraint, vulnerability and grief have mingled with emergent ecosystems and the prospects of organizing the world differently. Where can we – artists, researchers, citizens – find a ground to land given this situation?

Curated & hosted by David Weber-Krebs & Jeroen Peeters
Produced by Arp & Simone Basani for Infinite Endings and Kaaitheater. Co-production: Damaged Goods
Special thanks to Emergence Magazine.

David Weber-Krebs – The Actual Event

In this lecture, David Weber-Krebs analyses what happens when strangers gather in spaces. How does their mere presence change the place? What happens before, after, or during the actual event they are due to participate in?

Ingrid Vranken, Gosie Vervloessem, Mathieu Charles, Rodrigo Batista, Nahuel Cano, Mihaela Brebenel, Rasa Alksnyte and Mayfield Brooks – Unsinging linear time

Unsinging linear time is a collective reflection on the violence of the linear understanding and experience of time that defines Western societies. In Unsinging linear time, Ingrid Vranken, Gosie Vervloessem, Mathieu Charles, Rodrigo Batista, Nahuel Cano, Mihaela Brebenel, Rasa Alksnyte and Mayfield Brooks present an open glossary of reflections on time, and how a different experience of time could responsibilize us towards the human and more-than-human world.

Daisy Hilyard – Negative Love

How can a person experience absence? This talk uses death, grief and extinction to think about presence and desire as it tells – or listens to – several stories that extend beyond the human. The covid pandemic has drawn our attention toward the space between things. These ‘negative spaces’ reveal relationships that normally lie beyond our perception.

Siegmar Zacharias – ANIMAterialities

Let’s acknowledge the grief present in this time. Grief for the dead, grief for the climate, grief for social injustices, grief for a certain idea of future, individual, collective, worldly and planetary grief. Grief for the lack of touch. This binaural listening session explores intimacy and alienation as two dynamic forces of grief work and the possibility of touch by sound waves and the presence of those absent.

Julien Bruneau – A door opened onto a garden, delineating the cusp of where inside meets out

How are we inhabited by the places we inhabit? Places affect us. Space is itself expressive, active, potent. How to make ourselves available to this preeminent, yet neglected, dimension of experience? Genius Loci is a performance addressing domestic places through a simple practice of presence that invites the home of people to unfold as a dynamic web of interactions.

Anne Lise Le Gac & Loto Retina – La Caresse du Coma ft. YOLO

I have been staying in a four-star spa in Croatia for about 40 days now, at a gathering of people who are in search of Happiness, convinced that they live in a world FOREVER ALIVE. They each have a transitional status: as I am new, I am automatically a DOG, ‘a loving machine’, and my number is 23. In this feature, DOG (23) meets LIQUID VIRGIN, the spectral figure of the movement, the presence of whom is manifested by a breath called YOLO, a pirate conversation by Anne Lise Le Gac in collaboration with the musician Loto Retina.

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de brakke grond, amsterdam

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kaaitheater, brussels

performative conference

de brakke grond, amsterdam

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