Keynote speakers – University of Copenhagen

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Keynote speakers and performances

Site-specific Keynote Lectures:

Thursday June 18, 9:30-10:45:
at Sneglen, Kastrup Søbad, Amager Strandvej 301

Holger Schulze:

Idiosyncrasy as Method: Reflections on the epistemic continuum
There is a vast multitude of epistemic practices. As researchers we listen while reading, we taste while counting, we are gesturing and dancing around monitors and loudspeakers. The epistemic continuum of research historically never revolved exclusively around the alphanumeric system and its related practices of reading and counting, measuring, computing and writing. Yet, this rather idiosyncratic bias towards letters and numbers, rather obsessively reiterated in the field of academia, still today is actively operating in funding institutions, in research environments and in publishing houses. This lecture (operating, alas – as a quite uncomfortable proof of concept – to a larger extent in the alphanumeric system) will investigate this broader epistemic continuum. Could we identify our respective, individual and sensory idiosyncrasies as the actual core elements in any historical as well as future research methodologies?

Thursday June 18, 12:15-13:00
at Urbanplanen

Brandon LaBelle:

On the productions of a poor acoustics
Expelled, expelling, exiting and then entering: to come up again, against the odds, the ruins the disintegrating myth and the voices of the expelled, expelling, exiting and then entering, again: to speak the unspeakable, to resound to disperse. Shall we follow the idea? Shall we search for a new country? Shall we rewrite the script the future the project: with the potentials and the tragedies and the knowledges of what he and she have called the new hobo nation. The powers of the weak, the fragile, the displaced. And which we might begin to hear as the emergence of a new narrative – the figures that move, itinerant, occupy, and that construct a poor acoustics.

Brandon LaBelle is an artist, writer and theorist working with sound culture, voice, and questions of agency. He develops and presents artistic projects and performances within a range of international contexts, often working collaboratively and in public. Recent projects include “Civic Center”, La Casa Encendida, Madrid, “Sixth Housing Estate”, South London Gallery, London, and “Hobo College”, Marrakech Biennial parallel project. He is the author of Lexicon of the Mouth: Poetics and Politics of Voice and the Oral Imaginary (2014), Diary of an Imaginary Egyptian (2012), Acoustic Territories: Sound Culture and Everyday Life (2010), and Background Noise: Perspectives on Sound Art (2006). He is the editor of Errant Bodies Press and Professor at the Bergen Academy of Art and Design, Norway.

Site-specific Installation and Performance

Thursday June 18, 13:00-13:30:
at Urbanplanen

Jeremy Woodruff:

Green Interactive Biofeedback Environments (GIBE)
By recycling organic household waste, the people in the urban garden project Urbanplanten, one of Miljøpunkt-Amager's community sustainability projects, have brought communal fun and healthy food to their neighbourhood through one small example of self-sufficiency and sustainability. In GIBE they make recordings in the garden but also recycle sonic materials - unwanted music files, throwaway CDs, erasure from smartphones - into a "sound compost" which will be edited and processed together with the soundscape recordings, to produce a local audio event. The installation will allow an intimate hearing of the garden and celebrate its work, while beautifying an additional local place, like a school, library or common square. At the installation, gardeners will be able to fine tune the sonic environments they helped create, and interact with them wearing biofeedback devices.

GIBE is music research into how aspects of urban space can change when societal sound borders are crossed and redefined as local, rather than municipal or private, property. The piece sounds out questions that face this community in their challenging social milieu, between sonic impressions of the new urban garden ecosystem they've grown, and waste at the fringes of their digital lives. The experiment is further to discover to what extent it is tenable for such work to benefit a garden community as a supplement to it's social ecology. Downloadable tracks will be made available on the internet in return for a donation to Urbanplanten.

Urbanplanten, Peder Lykkesvej 71-73, 2300 Copenhagen S 

Telematic Encounters: Keynote Session

Thursday June 18, at 14:00-17:00
at Multi Hall, University of Copenhagen Amager

Sarah Bay-Cheng:

Unseen: Performance Criticism in the Age of Digital Recordings
What does it mean to watch a performance on screen? This paper considers a new mode of critical spectatorship as distanced, either telematically by distance or viewed in asynchronously in time, from the performance itself. In particular, I question the model of co-presence within performances that use various forms of technology to prevent direct viewing by their audiences, as well as consider the value of critical spectatorship conducted exclusively through recordings but without ever seeing the performance itself. In an age of mediated viewing what does it mean to "be there"?

Sarah Bay-Cheng is Professor of Theatre and Director of Graduate Studies and Undergraduate Theatre Studies at the University at Buffalo. From 2012-2015, she served as the Founding Director for the Technē Institute for Art and Emerging Technologies and continues to serve on its board. Her latest book, Performance and Media: Taxonomies for a Changing Field, co-authored with Jennifer Parker-Starbuck and David Saltz, is forthcoming from the University of Michigan Press (2015). Other publications include the co-edited Mapping Intermediality in Performance (2010), Mama Dada: Gertrude Stein's Avant-Garde Theater (2004), and essays on technology, surveillance, and media-based performance in leading journals and anthologies. Sarah serves on several editorial boards and on the Board of Directors for Performance Studies International (PSi). In 2013 she created the "Avant-Gardes in Performance" book series with Palgrave and continues as series editor with Martin Harries. She received her PhD in Theatre from the University of Michigan and her AB in Theatre and Film Studies from Wellesley College. Read more here.

Elizabeth Jochum:

Uncanny Acts: Radical Awareness in Telerobotic Art
The concept of the Uncanny is significant to the for visual artists and performers working with robots and other teleoperated devices. While the Freudian Uncanny considers objects and phenomena that call attention to repressed fears and desires, the Uncanny Valley—a related but distinct concept—concerns hyper-realistic design for robots and prosthetics. In telerobotic art and performance, two categories of the uncanny emerge: the representational Uncanny is triggered by objects that look lifelike, and the experiential Uncanny is triggered by non-anthropomorphic phenomena that behave in ways that signal awareness. Three recent works—The Telegarden (1995), Six Robots Named Paul (2012) and The Blind Robot (2013)—create a heightened atmosphere of awareness and challenge assumptions about authenticity and agency in telematic performance.

Peter Eckersall:

Telematic objects: towards a dramaturgy of performing screens and machines
Projection screens and robotic machines have become increasingly important in live performance, functioning as something more than objects, props, or décor. There is need to think about these objects/forms in terms of being dramaturgical agents or, following Latour, “actors.” With reference to recent performances by Kris Verdonck and Hirata Oriza, this paper will discuss how they utilize telematic objects in their work to create "nearness" while also offering contrasting perspectives on the experience of this for audiences.

Peter Eckersall is Professor of Asian Theatre at the Graduate Centre, City University of New York. Peter works on contemporary performance practices in Australasia and Europe, with particular interests in Japanese performance and on dramaturgy. Recent publications include We’re People Who Do Shows, Back to Back Theatre: Performance, Politics, Visibility (co-edited with Helena Grehan, Performance Research Books, 2013), Theatre and Performance in the Asia-Pacific: Regional Modernities in the Global Era (co-authored with Denise Varney, Barbara Hatley and Chris Hudson, Palgrave 2013) and Performativity and Event in 1960s Japan: City, Body, Memory (Palgrave 2013). He is currently writing a book on new media dramaturgy with Helena Grehan and Edward Scheer.

Bree Hadley:

Theatre, Networked Performance, and Notions of ‘Democratised’ Spectatorship
The potential to cultivate new relationships with spectators has long been cited as a primary motivator for those using digital technologies to construct networked or telematics performances or para-performance encounters in which performers and spectators come together in virtual – or at least virtually augmented – spaces and places. Today, with Web 2.0 technologies such as social media platforms becoming increasingly ubiquitous, and increasingly easy to use, more and more theatre makers are developing digitally mediated relationships with spectators. Sometimes for the purpose of an aesthetic encounter, sometimes for critical encounter, or sometimes as part of an audience politicisation, development or engagement agenda. Sometimes because this is genuinely an interest, and sometimes because spectators or funding bodies expect at least some engagement via Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. In this paper, I examine peculiarities and paradoxes emerging in some of these efforts to engage spectators via networked performance or para-performance encounters. I use examples ranging from theatre, to performance art, to political activism – from ‘cyberformaces’ on Helen Varley Jamieson’s Upstage Avatar Performance Platform, to Wafaa Bilal’s Domestic Tension installation where spectators around the world could use a webcam in a chat room to target him with paintballs while he was in residence in a living room set up in a gallery for a week, as a comment on use of drone technology in war, to Liz Crow’s Bedding Out where she invited people to physically and virtually join her in her bedroom to discuss the impact of an anti-disabled austerity politics emerging in her country, to Dislife’s use of holograms of disabled people popping up in disabled parking spaces when able bodied drivers attempted to pull into them, amongst others. I note the frequency with which these performance practices deploy discourses of democratisation, participation, power and agency to argue that these technologies assist in positioning spectators as co-creators actively engaged in the evolution of a performance (and, in politicised pieces that point to racism, sexism, or ableism, pushing spectators to reflect on their agency in that dramatic or daily-cum-dramatic performance of prejudice). I investigate how a range of issues – from the scenographic challenges in deploying networked technologies for both participant and bystander audiences others have already noted, to the siloisation of aesthetic, critical and audience activation activities on networked technologies, to conventionalised dramaturgies of response informed by power, politics and impression management that play out in online as much as offline performances, to the high personal, social and professional stakes involved in participating in a form where spectators responses are almost always documented, recorded and re-represented to secondary and tertiary sets of spectators via the circulation into new networks social media platforms so readily facilitate – complicate discourses of democratic co-creativity associated with networked performance and para-performance activities.

Bree Hadley is Head of Postgraduate Coursework Studies in the Creative Industries Faculty at Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia. Her research investigates the construction of identity in contemporary, pop cultural and public sphere performance practices, and concentrates in particular on the way spectators act as co-creators in such performance practices. Hadley's research has appeared in many scholarly journals, including Performance Research, About Performance, Liminalities, Australasian Drama Studies, Brolga: An Australian Journal About Dance, Journal of Arts & Communities, M/C Media and Culture Journal, Scope: An Online Journal of Film and Television Studies, Asia Pacific Journal of Arts and Cultural Management, Journal of Further and Higher Education, in books, newspapers and online publication platforms such as The Australian, ArtsHub and Australian Theatre Online, and most recently in her book on 'Disability, Public Space Performance and Spectatorship - Unconscious Performers' (Palgrave MacMillan 2014). Hadley is currently working on a book on Theatre, Social Media and the Democratisation of Spectatorship, which examines aesthetic, critical and audience development uses of social media platforms in theatre in tandem. Hadley is also currently President of the Australasian Association for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies (ADSA), and a Director of Performance Studies international (PSi).

Site-specific Installation and Performance

Thursday June 18, 18:00-22:00
at Teaterøen


Music4Giants Prelude
The possibility that man can be released from its obsession with man, is examined through an immersive musical in three parts. Music4Giants prelude is the first part. Music4Giants prelude occurs at the intersection of audio composition, choreography, art-based research, performance, new age, musical and spatial installation. A series of unfinished musical sketches tested on humans, and a tribute to the non-human is initiated.

Evening reception on Teaterøen / The Theatre Island, Amager.

Fluid States - Solid Tastes keynote speaker

Friday June 19, 10:00-12:00

Joshua Abrams:

Nordic (Bête) Noire: Culinary Performance and the Delimitation of the Nouvelle

In the past ten years, Nordic cuisine has gone from being relatively unknown and undervalued globally to becoming one of the most iconic cuisines throughout the world. I discuss the development and definitions of “New Nordic cuisine”, exploring the solidity of its boundaries and the role of performance both as identity and through the ideas of the cult of personality in the development of this phenomenon. Focusing on the performance of identities and borders, I question the permeability of notions of “new Nordic” and the utility of such a term for contemporary food practices, especially in a scene of culinary exploration marked out as global by both the participants and the locations.

JOSHUA ABRAMS is Principal Lecturer in the Department of drama, theatre, and performance at the University of Roehampton in London and co-director of Roehampton’s interdisciplinary Food Studies Research Group. He is currently completing a book about the restaurant as a performance space and has published essays on the intersections of food and performance, on questions of ethics in performance, and the philosophy of performance, as well as around notions of identity politics. Josh received a 2013 Arts and Humanities Research Council Grant through CreativeWorks London on a performance-led research project exploring changing notions of the popular in British cuisine. He was one of the Keynote presenters at the Culinary Institute of America’s 2015 Worlds of Flavor Conference on “Asia and the Theater of World Menus” Twitter @JoshAbrams