The Permeable Stage – Reimagining the Social

With contributions from Patricia T. Clough, Annie Dorsen, Che Gossett, Mette Ingvartsen, Romuald Karmakar, Isabel Lewis and Carolee Schneemann.


In her tireless quest to reconcile thinking, dancing, and feeling, Mette Ingvartsen makes performances that stimulate the intellect and organizes conferences that appeal to the senses. For The Permeable Stage she invites artists, theorists, filmmakers, and activists to enter into a interdisciplinary dialogue about new relationships between humans, technologies, things, animals, plants, and other matters. The focus of the day is on how to reimagine the social, by including non-humans into the way we think about collective structures and how we live together on this planet. The public is invited to experience how the different contributions resonate with one another and to participate in turning the theater into a space for discussion, sensorial occasions, and imaginative exchanges.





DONKEY WITH SNOW, Germany 2010, 4 min.

DONKEY WITH SNOW, a still life from Lower Bavaria. It’s snowing. We see Bianca and Ugo, two donkeys, and Ole, a sheep named after a Norwegian cross-country skier. Their barn belongs to an auto-repair-shop. Wolfgang, the owner, got his first donkey when a customer couldn’t pay his bill.



Performance extract from Hello Hi There and interview with Dorsen.


In this presentation Annie Dorsen will show an extract of one of her earliest works, Hello Hi There from 2010. In this performance she uses the famous television debate between the philosopher Michel Foucault and linguist/activist Noam Chomsky from the Seventies as inspiration and material for a dialogue between two custom-designed chatbots: every evening, these computer programs, designed to mimic human conversations, perform a new – as it were, improvised – live text. As Chomsky and Foucault debate language, creativity, the roots of scientific discovery and the nature of political power, the chatbots talk on and on, endlessly circling the questions of the debate, and frequently veering off into unexpected, at times nonsensical, digressions.


The extract will be followed by an interview with Dorsen, focusing on how she uses technology to think about and to create algorithmic performances.



The User Unconscious: Post-Phenomenological Subjectivity and Datafication.

In this lecture, Patricia T. Clough will explore the meaning of subjectivity in these times of digital media and computational technologies. She will discuss the impact on human consciousness and human perception, as well as address the pre-affectivity or liveliness of the environment, or what has been referred to as a “worldly sensibility.”  She will focus on the work of two scholars who have most influenced her thinking:  Luciana Parisi and Mark Hansen, and conclude with some speculations about the working of unconscious processes invited by a post-phenomenological phenomenology.



Considered celebratory gatherings of things, people, plants, dances and scents, occasions hosted by Isabel Lewis take place in decorated environments where visitors can drift in and out of attention and sociality. Lewis unfolds a specific dramaturgy attuned to her guests and their energies shaping a live experience using choreography, music, spoken address, and storytelling in ways that allow for conversation, contemplation, dancing, listening, or just simply being. Easing the formalities of distanced observation typically found within the theatre and exhibition contexts, Lewis is interested in situations that generate relaxation where the entire human sensorium is addressed. Lewis’s hosted occasions conjure the ancient Greek symposium, where philosophizing, drinking and the erotic were inseparable.



In this conversation, Mette Ingvartsen and Carolee Schneemann will continue their ongoing dialogue established over 6 years ago – which has intensified over recent months without their ever having met. Their exchange will concern their affinities for each other’s work and the ways in which their artistic processes collide. As they present extracts from their performances, motives will emerge that are coincidentally aligned, prompting intimate thoughts about the work. The resulting discussion will introduce cultural taboos, such as sexuality, pleasure, nudity, violence –  as well as non-human agency and the materiality of objects and spaces.



Abolitionist Entanglement: Blackness, Palestinian Struggle and the Limits of ‘Solidarity’

In this lecture Che Gossett brings together Fanon, Sylvia Wynter, and Afropessimism as well as recent Palestinian films about animal necropolitics to consider both abolitionist aesthetics and how abolition — which might be characterized as what Jared Sexton calls “abolition the interminable radicalization of every radical movement” — and as anchored in black study, is an anti-colonial and interspecies affair. While Palestinian ecological struggle has been documented in leftist and solidarity struggles, there has been less work exploring how the animal is entangled in occupation and Che will discuss the work of Palestinian filmmakers — Giraffada and The Wanted 18 highlight both Palestinian animal rights activism and ecological activism. Che will consider how abolition undoes the coordinates of the Human — what Sylvia Wynter called the genre of Man and genre of the “animal” as well.  Finally, Che will discuss how blackness radicalizes Palestinian struggle and how we might imagine moving beyond a grammar of “solidarity”.


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