Are You Alive or Not?

Gerrit Rietveld Academie
"Are You Alive Or Not?"
March 18–22, 2015

Vlaams Cultuurhuis
De Brakke Grond
Nes 45
The Netherlands

This project takes its inspiration from Claire Bishop's Artificial Hells, Participatory Art and the Politics of Spectatorship: "It is hoped that these chapters might give momentum to rethinking the history of twentieth-century art through the lens of theatre rather than painting or the ready-made," offering students to familiarize themselves with Artaud, Brecht, Badiou, Bakhtin, Boal, Rancière a.o. through theoretical infusions and artistic research. Around 35 works will be displayed in a theatre, intersecting with a symposium convened and moderated by guest curators.

March 18
Vernissage featuring costumes, props, installations, stage designs, scripts & performances.

March 19
Claire Tancons: Carnivals of Griefs and Shrines to Democracy
A dialogic interaction about the theatre of the streets when humor is displaced by the terrain of terror and the popular imagination finds grief in carnivalesque laughter while erecting shrines to democracy. Claire Tancons, Jack Santino and Florian Göttke will displace the dichotomic debate between freedom of speech and multicultural sensibility in an analysis of unbridled, uncensored and uncouth behaviors and representations at the edge of tolerability.

Inspired by Santino's notions of carnivals of grief in relationship to the shrines to Charlie Hebdo in the aftermath of the terror attacks, today's program will also address carnivalesque humor in carnival itself, as recently paraded in the streets of Cologne and Düsseldorf.

March 20
David Weber-Krebs: On Enclosed Spaces and Great Outdoors
Usually people stepping into a theatre are of two kinds: the spectators and the actors. Spectators watch actors. Usually both are humans and things happen in the enclosed space of the theatre, where human bodies and words are predominant. Can we focus on the non-human, and abandon anthropocentrism? What kind of spectatorship can be challenged by an encounter with a thing, a creature, a flow, fiction, darkness?

Today spectators will be activated by performances, lectures and a cosmic event—in and outside the theatre.

With Andrea Bozic, Andre Eiermann, Nikolaus Gansterer, Mettte Ingvartsen, André Lepecki, Maximilian Haas and Jeroen Peeters.

March 21
Joanna Warsza: Dear Friends, or Enemies Perhaps
With those words Marinetti would address the spectators during the famous serate futuriste. Dividing the audience into "free" and "slave" or "intelligent" and "dumb," the Futurists blurred the conventional modes of spectatorship. Starting with a conversation with Claire Bishop on attitudes anticipating participatory art and the discourse on the audience, this day will unfold towards the contemporary take on political theatre. From Milo Rau's Moscow Trials (against the curators of various censored exhibitions in Russia, including Pussy Riot) discussed by Ekaterina Degot; Brechtian strategies of St. Petersburg's Chto Delat collective; notes on political performativity by Florian Malzacher to The Holy Mass by Artur Żmijewski.

March 22
Claire Bishop: Is Everyone a Performer?
Artificial Hells proposes that participatory art aspires to a utopian collapse of artist and audience, turning everyone into co-producer of the work of art. But hasn't Web 2.0 already made this argument obsolete? The non-stop creation and consumption of self-image in social media means that today we are all photographers, models, curators, filmmakers, poets and DJs. Such amateur performances arguably turn our entire lives into theatre, with no need for a mediating artist, stage or gallery.

This day will focus on the intersection between such amateur performances and de-skilling. If amateurism is undertaken for love, and without any disciplinary training, then de-skilling denotes the conscious rejection of your education in favor of a simpler, rougher way of doing things. The invited speakers will all respond to the central question of whether de-skilling opens up to inclusive new aesthetic possibilities or just heralds the end of any competence and virtuosity whatsoever.

With Gavin Butt, Annie Dorsen, Alexandra Pirici, Jesse Darling and student-interventions empowered by Mårten Spångberg.

Rietveld Uncut, an annual presentation revealing the process of making within the academy to the outside world.
Organizers: Tomas Adolfs & Tarja Szaraniec

Studium Generale Rietveld Academie, an exploratory theory program aimed at all departments, open to the public.
Chief curator: Gabriëlle Schleijpen & team

Kunstakademiet i Trondheim
Norwegian University of Technology and Science (NTNU)
N-7491 Trondheim

Visiting address:
Innherredsveien 7 (Industribygget)

Contact form
adm [at]
Tel. +47 73 59 79 00
Fax. +47 73 59 79 20