From Thursday 14 to Sunday 17 March, the fourth biennial of the international Performance Philosophy network will take place in the Brakke Grond and the University Theatre in Amsterdam. During this four-day event, an exceptional international network of performers, scientists, philosophers and people from theory and practice will come into contact with the locally based cultural field of Amsterdam. The Brussels theatre maker and artist Thomas Bellinck will provide a keynote on Saturday evening.
By Lieselotte Rouckhout
Fifty years ago the so-called Tomato Incident took place. Students of the Amsterdam Theatre Academy threw tomatoes on stage during the final applause of a performance of "De Tempest". They did this as an intervention into the old-fashioned institution of the Dutch theatre.
The Performance Philosophy biennial has taken up this incident as a symbolic gesture (beyond the anecdote and the historical moment) and put intervention as one of the central themes on the programme. They zoom in on intervention in general. How does it work and what are its mechanisms? Does intervention operate in a different way than 50 years ago? The Performance Philosophy conference will focus especially on intervention as intoxication: spreading a virus rather than hitting a tomato.
To that end, 4 guest speakers have been invited to Amsterdam and another 120 speakers have signed themselves up to talk about this overlap between art, performance and philosophy in the context of social action. Performance Philosophy is an initiative on the brink of academia, performance art and (public) philosophy.
The biennial brings together artists, researchers, theatre professionals, students, activists and anyone interested in rethinking artistic intervention in its contemporary context. Next to the standard academic paper presentations, there is a range of alternative formats: re-enactment lectures, audio essays, “doing together … watching in the midst of doing” workshops, performance lectures, “no paper” presentations, children and parent dialogues, conference papers and brief interventions.
The 4 iguest speakers Nikita Dhawan (India), Silvia Bottiroli (Italy), Thomas Bellinck (Belgium) and Thijs Lijster (the Netherlands) will all be presenting their own ideas, findings and projects on our relationship with our institutions. How can we alter the institutions of which we are a part and with which we are engaging? Why should we alter them? It will prove itself to be an interesting and varied experience, as Dhawan is Professor of Political Science and Gender Studies, Bottiroli is active in the field of performing arts, Bellinck is a theatre maker and artist, and Lijster is Assistant Professor of Philosophy in art and culture.