WEDNESDAY 20 SEPTEMBER 10.30 am Roger Bernat and Roberto Fratini. Roger Bernat is a playwright and theatre director. He uses theatre as a laboratory to reflect on creativity.Roberto Fratini is a playwright, dance theoretician and lecturer at the Institut del Teatre, Barcelona.
The Place of the Thing, a topology. The Place of the Thing, a project produced in the context of Documenta 14 between Athens and Kassel, is called a ‘topology’ for two reasons. The first is that the question behind the project was: ‘What place, physical or symbolic, is to be assigned to objects with an enigmatic power to agglutinate, unite, mobilise, hypnotise and, for better or worse, magnetise the collectivities? And to what extent does the place determine the value of the object or, vice versa, to what extent does the object determine the value and sense of the place? The second reason is that for whatever motives, incidents, omissions or contingencies, no other project has had to struggle so hard with the need to transform, adapt, sneak in, insinuate itself, pose, bend and MIGRATE from all its possible forms, probable names and improbable determinations, in order to preserve a topological equivalence with itself; going through all the places of value (ethical, aesthetic, political, of the media, economic) to keep intact the ‘There is no place’, which was its only message, and continue to be a structural nonentity, the perfect pretext for any kind of autogenesis of the collectivity: the guest (sometimes unwanted, sometimes fetishised; king or pauper) of all the images in which communities frame and set themselves, territorialising the fantasy they have of themselves, the myth in which they recognise themselves.
11.30 am Break
12 noonRana Hamadeh. Visual and performance artist from Lebanon based in the Netherlands.
Notes of the artist from The Ten Murders of Josephine, an opera-in-progress
Rana Hamadeh contributes with a talk on her latest work The Ten Murders of Josephine, a longstanding operatic project commissioned by the Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art in Rotterdam, and structured through a series of study groups, an exhibition, a theatrical production and a film – among other evolving iterations. Drawing broadly on historian Saidiya Hartman and poet Fred Moten’s writings, among other interlocutors, the opera proposes a distinction between the workings of ‘testimony’ and the constitution of testimonial subjecthood*, generating with that aberrant understandings of the relations of justice, speech, property, labour, legality, governmentality, documentality, o/aurality and theatre. The work offers a new formal and theoretical departure from previous works such as Hamadeh’s cacophonous and delirious sound-play, Can You Pull in an Actor with a Fishhook or Tie Down his Tongue with a Rope? (2014) and its successor, Can You Make a Pet of him Like a Bird or Put him on a Leash For Your Girls? (2015). Structured through the oratorical tradition of the Shiite ceremony of Ashura, these previous works took this ceremony’s political, military and legal expressions within the Lebanese/Syrian context as its field for commentary and research.
13 h Vincent Meessen. Artist. Through the use of various media, Meessen aims to ‘experience the document and document the experience’.
Tshela Tendu. A Misunderstanding This lecture is connected to Patterns for (Re)cognition, an iterative duo exhibition held so far in three different contemporary art institutions. For those shows, a ‘constructivist apparatus’ has been designed in order to look at abstract paintings from the late twenties painted by Tshela Tendu (circa 1890–1960), a precursor of the so-called Congolese modern art. Based on the ‘rediscovery’ of a major collection of paintings by Tshela Tendu, this lecture questions the conditions of the public reception of these works conserved by a Belgian institution. Rarely studied and never exhibited since their donation in the late 1950s, these works point to a blind spot in colonial modernity.
2 pm Lunch break
BIOGRAPHIES Roger Bernat A playwright and theatre director, Bernat uses the theatre as a collective laboratory in which to inscribe utopic aspirations, as well as the authoritarian fantasies lurking in any society. Viewers cease to be privileged witnesses, becoming instead perplexed actors in a drama in which they play the part of both victim and executioner. Viewers are also forced to confront the most complex stage of their cultural maturity: their Hamlet Age. Bernat’s better known shows are: Domini Públic (2008), La consagración de la primavera (2010), Please Continue: Hamlet (2011), Pendiente de voto (2012), Desplazamiento del Palacio de La Moneda (2014), Numax-Fagor-plus (2014) and No se registran conversaciones de interés (2016–17). The Place of the Thing (2017) is his latest project and was commissioned by Documenta 14. In 2009 he edited, together with Ignasi Duarte, Querido público. El espectador ante la participación: jugadores, usuarios, prosumers y fans (Ed. CENDEAC).
Roberto Fratini Playwright and dance theoretician. Currently a lecturer at the Institut del Teatre, Barcelona, and a member of the research group Iconodansa, based at the Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Tarragona. As a dramatist, he collaborates with several international companies and has given master classes, workshops and lectures on theory and dramaturgy at various academic and theatre institutions in Spain and abroad. He is the author of books and magazine articles, and his work has been featured in major dance festivals and European theatres. He has published A contracuento. La danza y las derivas del narrar (2012). In 2013 he was awarded the FAD Sebastià Gasch prize for his artistic and intellectual career. He collaborates regularly with Roger Bernat in his theatre projects.
Rana Hamadeh Visual and performance artist from Lebanon based in the Netherlands. Drawing on a curatorial approach within her artistic practice, she develops longstanding discursive projects that think through the infrastructures of justice, militarism, histories of sanitation and theatre. She initiated in 2011 her ongoing project, Alien Encounters, which has since been operating as an incubator for a growing series of propositions that aim at complicating the notion of ‘alienness’. Throughout the project’s chapters – manifest through performances, choreographic/cartographic works, sound and text-based installations, writing projects and conversations – the ‘alien’ turns into a discursive tool that allows for setting up alternative archives from which to locate corporate and state-sponsored forms of violence and their enabling legal apparatuses. Some of her recent exhibitions include: The Ten Murders of Josephine (Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, 2017); The Sleepwalkers (Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane, 2016; The Showroom, London, 2016); The Fugitive Image (Nottingham Contemporary, 2015); Her work has been shown at biennals and museums around the world.
Vincent Meessen Through the use of various media, Meessen aims to ‘experience the document and document the experience’. His investigations lead to associations and appropriative gestures that are rewritten into critical narratives, pointing to the colonial matrix of Western modernity. Meessen re-animates hidden traces of the colonial in the present and opens up new speculative scenarios. Both in his work as an artist and in his para-curatorial activities, Meessen likes to use procedures of collaboration that undermine the authority of the author and emphasise the intelligence of collectives. With ten guest artists, Meessen represented Belgium at the 56th Venice Biennale. Recent solo exhibitions include: Tshela Tendu & Vincent Meessen. Patterns for (Re)cognition, BOZAR, Brussels, 2017; Sire je suis de l’ôtre pays, WIELS, Brussels, 2016; and Patterns for (Re)cognition, Kunsthalle Basel, 2015. Recent group shows include the Venice Biennale, Taipei Biennale, and the Printemps de Septembre, Toulouse.
Staged by Das Frankenburger Würfelspiel de Eberhard Wolfgang Möller, 2 August 1936. Thingplatz Dietrich Eckart – now known as Waldbühne–, Berlin.