Birger Vanwesenbeeck

Word and Image in Tomasula’s The Book of Portraiture

Near the end of Steve Tomasula’s 2006 novel The Book of Portraiture, a chance encounter takes place in a local pharmacy story between an advertising model and the digital retoucher responsible for photo-shopping so many of her globally circulating images. While standing in front of a rack with condoms that all bear the model’s “doctored picture” as “the female half of a romantically perfect couple in a passionate embrace”, the photo retoucher asks the real-life model to autograph one of the condom boxes. It is a defining, or better still, high-definition, image for the paragone, the agonizing conflict between word and image, whose centuries-long tradition Tomasula’s novel meticulously traces and unpacks in 6 loosely connected chapters. Time and again in these historical face-offs, the desire of words and images to, respectively, carry out each other’s work (and thus outdo the other on its own terrain), or to wipe themselves clean of the other’s influence altogether, are exposed as illusory and doomed attempts to undo a dialectic of intermediality that, as my paper will show, is as deeply rooted historically as it is tenacious in the present.

Ástbjörg Rut Jónsdóttir, Lilja Kristín Magnúsdóttir and Margrét Auður Jóhannesdóttir

An Extension to the Performer: On Dimensions, Roles and Support in a Sign Language Shadow-Interpreted Theatre Performance

We propose a talk/introduction about Sign Language Interpreting for Theatre, focusing on Shadow Interpreting. Using theoretical articles and essays, supported with our own experience of Sign language interpretation for theatre, we look at the issues involved in performing in two different languages at the same time and the building bridges between two cultures.

Bjarki Bragason, Claudia Hausfeld and Hildigunnur Birgisdóttir – Keynote Speakers

Eins og eins / Selfsame

A mound of rust, mimicking a stone sitting on a beach, surrounded by piles of stones at the place of a former garbage tip, it has been over the past decades shaped by waves. It has affectionately incorporated any object that drifts by, resulting in half garbage, half stone. Where this object belongs and what constitutes its belonging is the placeholder for the conversation between our practices. The talk will shed light on this process and our upcoming exhibition.

Alexandra Litaker

Your Blue Mountain, September 2014

My artistic research practice is one of reading as writing and writing as reading. I examine the structure of a novel and translate the structure into another medium in order to experience the dialogue in this space between the two works. Reading is both meaning-making and mapping, and it implicitly involves an investigation into the interrelationship of identity and ecology. I am especially interested in the ways in which autobiography is a practice of reading, remembering, reconstructing. I move out from the space of the place of a novel…involving the body in relation to the witnessed /read work. I enact translating the novel into my own autobiographical work as a means of understanding what motivates me and others to create. The individual identity is in flux in relation to a social and natural ecology. One is in a space encountered and denied­ a self existing in this space between the read novel and the written. What are these places­ the self in this place and the self not in this place. My work investigates nomadic shifting self and the forms it inhabits.

Borgar Magnason

This Is My Name:  Music theatre for voice, double bass and multiple sound sources

Like this. A word on the struggle between our conservative and innovative tendencies, between creativity and conformity.
The piece blends traditional music notation with graphic and written instructions that ultimately force the performer into a certain liminality, foregrounding the hesitant making of meaning rather than an obedient transmitting of the score.  It utilises the fragment as a base unit of thought, of breath and rhythm.

Amanda Newall and Ola Johansson

The Interdisciplinary, Diachronic and Prefigurative Translations of Blodlopp

The video work Blodlopp cut across three disciplinary demarcations and thus required spectatorial translations of

(i) applied performance | moving image

(ii) immunology | costume work

(iii) artistic research | activism

The artwork emerged as artistic research (immunological studies, workshops with actors and non-actors, experimental laboratory work with the artists’ own blood) in a double residency at the bio-artistic institute SymbioticA and Fremantle Arts Centre. The project drew on the hypothesis that the immune system can be viewed and applied as a blueprint for culture-historical changes through encounters with alien cultural agents.

The upshot became an artwork in its own right, but given the politicized conditions in metropolitan Perth at the time it also served as a paratactical instantiation to the indigenous crisis in the city. Unlike traditional modes of oppositional art, Blodlopp was more in line with contemporary forms of ‘prefigurative’ actions which are not necessarily contingent on something it protests or refuses to become, but rather establishes a radical and affirmative alternative to it.

Given the chiastic structure of the artwork, its exhibitory framework and its timely context, it is through the critical minds of audiences that the translations must emerge between the artistic, scientific and political strands.

Zofia Smolarska

The Gift of Nothingness. Reflections on Theatre Ecology

The main aim of the paper is to present the results of a Polish-Icelandic theatre project and to describe the production process of the performance by applying the idea of theatre ecology in the performance’s analysis.

A Polish-Icelandic project ‘Blue Planet’ – partly financed from EEA funds – was held by the Miniatura City Theatre in Gdańsk, Poland in cooperation with the Association of Independent Theatres in Iceland. During the project Polish actors and a stage designer worked with Icelandic director and actor Erling Jóhannesson and with the musicians from the well-known Icelandic band, múm, to stage children’s play The Story of the Blue Planet by Andri Snær Magnason. The Polish premiere of the performance took place on 17th of May 2014. In September 2014 the performance will be shown in Reykjavík and Akureyri.

The play by Andri Snaer Magnason tackles the issue of environmental responsibility. It also raises the question of global inequalities and the very problematic role of the democracy in dealing with this inequality. In my paper I am going to analyze the production process of the performance ‘Blue Planet’ from an ecological point of view by translating environmental values, strategies and terms such as sustainability, recycling, balance, diversity, ecosystem to the field of the performance. I am going to look closely at a recycling process of ideas that occurred during the rehearsals. Secondly, I will examine the sustainability of energy of the actors. Thirdly, I will present the theatre institution in which we were working and its organizational culture as an unbalanced ecosystem. The director’s attempt to translate the story from the Icelandic context to the Polish one (with respect to the environmental, political and historical differences between the two countries) will appear in the presentation as a background to all the above mentioned issues. While describing the transition between rehearsal and execution, I will try to find answers to the following questions: What does an ‘ecologically aware theatre’ mean? How can a theatre production be ecologically friendly? And what are the artistic implications and risks of ecological thinking?

Katharina Alsen

The Art of the Intimate. Enacting Small-Scale Art Encounters

The notion of ‘intimacy’ has various facets. Deriving from the Latin superlative ‘intimus’, it is literally to be translated as ‘the inmost’ – indicating spatial concepts of closeness and small-scale arrangement. While it functions in a rather pre-paradigmatic way in today’s semantics, there has been a distinct artistic discourse at the beginning of the 20th of ‘intimacy’ as its programmatic key term. With the concept of an ‘intimate theatre’, first proclaimed by August Strindberg in his manifesto-like preface for the play Miss Julie, a newly arranged form of (theatre or interior) display and spectatorship was composed by means of miniaturisation and internalisation.

Against this theoretical background, my paper aims to focus on the exhibition One on One (2012) at KW Institute for Contemporary Art and its conceptual approach towards forming an array of ‘intimate art display’. The curatorial concept allows for an almost ‘inter-personal’ encounter of one spectator and one artwork in a separated, enclosed room for a self- chosen period of time. The majority of works indicate a certain degree of sensitive-ness for the act of ‘gazing’ as a potentially intruding, yet intimidating operation of entering the zone of privacy. The torturing intimate gaze is implicated as well as the general paradox of ‘arranged intimacy’.

Viðar Halldórsson

On the Social Construction of Everyday Life: The case of Saga Noren from the TV-series Broen

Sociologists can make use of art to highlight social phenomena and social interaction in various social settings. The aim of this paper is to highlight how deviants can expose the taken-for-granted reality of “the theatre” of everyday life. This paper focuses on social interaction as it is portrayed in the Danish/ Swedish crime drama television series Broen with special attention to the main character, the Swedish female homicide detective Saga Noren.

This paper is based on the symbolic interactionist view. I especially make use of the work of Mead, Goffman and Garfinkel to analyze social interaction and in particular deviance from normal everyday interaction. I illustrate how Saga breaks the common unwritten rules of social interaction, how others perceive her and how she generates a mood of strangeness in her social encounters in different social settings. The script even suggests that Saga suffers from the Asperger ́s syndrome.

It is interesting to note that while Saga is being “true” to herself and her own feelings she is considered to suffer from a disease while those who are not “true” to themselves – in the same sense – and take part in the make-believe acting of everyday life, are considered to be normal.

Tanja Thorjussen

Translating Liminal States Into Art

In my artwork, the theme and starting point is a liminal feeling that is both temporal and spatial. This feeling of the in-between is known to me through having had epilepsy as a child. Right before a seizure I usually had visions, which led to a new way of seeing things, and got me interested in shamanism and meditation where I could let other, more controlled visions, unfold.

In this talk I will show how visions and epilepsy are translated into inspiration, and how both are expressed thematically in my art works. Presenting images from my art, I will convey how the work is developed through research and share my experiences of visions and dreams conjured while in a state of in-between.