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In 2011 the Performance Studies international conference #17 will take place in Utrecht from 25-29 May. A preview was given during Festival aan de Werf. Title of the upcoming conference will be Camillo 2.0: Technology, Memory, Experience.

Instead of Camillo’s theatre of memory as a wooden construction that makes all existing knowledge accessible, architect Laurent Liefooghe presented his Woonmachine (living machine) installation, glass boxes that made visible miniature households. He explained how after his architecture study, he came into contact with post-structuralism, which lead to an eagerness to play with architecture’s rigid tendency to structure the actions of people inside and outside buildings.

Here are two publications from his hand dealing with Deleuze’s nomad, and with the architectural grid.

Woonmachine will be shown in Huis aan de Werf in Utrecht in October 2010

Other presentations at this preview were:

  • “PSi #15 ‘Shifts’: From Stage to DVD Page.” Presentation by Marin Blazevic (Academy of Drama Arts, University of Zagreb)
  • “Performative Time Travel: The Present Past of Historical Re-enactment.” Lecture performance by Frederik LeRoy (Ghent University)

Logo of Camillo 2.0 - Performance Studies international conference #17.

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“On a beach, 8000 kilometres away from here, there is an Internet café…” Sounds like the beginning of a fairy tale, but is much more than that. Besides a story from someone living far away, Life Streaming by Dries Verhoeven lets you experience the distance or closeness between you and the person you are chatting with.

Strange how near and far constantly push and pull and mix with each other:

  • Showing your house from above – protecting your privacy online
  • Talking about your favourite dish – discussing local food customs
  • Text chatting with a stranger far away – talking about personal subjects

  • Seeing your contact in a room – experiencing elements of the interior
  • Pre-recorded footage – live chat

  • Private chat between two people – shared experience with other chatters
  • Secluded internet café seating – sharing your experience with audience

As if they cannot exist without the other.

Impression of Life Streaming. Photo by Zhang Huan.

During the Cultural Sunday on Whit Monday, one of the things I visited was the Dance Centre Utrecht. Modern ballet dancers performed an improvisation of which the rules were something as follows (accumulating as time passes):

  • walk forward and backward and lie down on the floor
  • crouch
  • turn around
  • change lanes by shifting sideways
  • introduce another movement
  • turn 90 degrees, allowing movement along the other axis (left, right)
  • move freely, allowing bends and curves

Each new rule would be added when one of the dancers would execute its action (crouching meant that everyone could crouch). The performers were stimulated to copy movements of their neighbours.

The rules lead to a very entertaining whole of movement in ascending complexity. A 3D Mondriaan painting that came to life. The copycat behaviour and later the changing of lanes brought about encounters between the performers, adding a clear game-character to the improvisation exercise. Also, personalities became apparent (or seemed to do so) when dominant dancers forced others to humbly step aside.

A good example of how simple rules, a number of “players” and an outlined space (ball room) lead to interesting game play.

Two modern dancers meet

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