Conference – Matters of Engagement

Foto: Marion Borriss
ByJudith Brückmann

Conference – Matters of Engagement

For Biennale participants and guests

Friday, 2. March 2018 from 11h – 9h

Acting & pre-enacting as artistic practice | A conference excursion | In English | registration is required 

With Ballhaus Naunynstrasse (tbc.), Choreographie & Widerstand, *foundationClass, HAUPTAKTION, Kotti & Co, Oliver Marchart, Neue Nachbarschaft Moabit, Mobile Dance, Savvy Contemporary, The Peng! Collective, Theater Thikwa, Dana Yahalomi / Public Movement, and Zentrum für Politische Schönheit.

As a result of the grave political and social upheavals of recent years in many parts of the world, the question of the relationship between art and politics is back in focus with renewed urgency. Engaged art and art activism have taken on central roles in the international art scene and are being presented and discussed in theatres and Biennials. But more influential than spectacular actions is the growing awareness for social responsibility among artists and artistic institutions.

The day long performative conference “Matters of Engagement” in the frame of the Dance Education Biennial 2018 takes less another look at specific political-artistic works, it rather focuses on what attitudes and actions are developed at the moment. How does the past continue to effect us if, for example, postcolonial criticism doesn’t stop at calling into question Western art, but also our everyday culture? How are social spheres of possible action currently being created with artistic strategies? And how can art as a as an experimental setup create links to the future? For this, three forms of action are considered: the repetition of actions (re-enacting), actions in the present (acting) and pre-emptive, anticipatory actions (pre-enacting).

“Matters of Engagement” sets the audience themselves into motion and doesn’t differentiate between theoretical and artistic, between verbal and physical discourses. In an opening lecture in form of a performance, the young theatre makers of HAUPTAKTION present ina re-enactment of European and African dances how choreography and everyday choreographies are colonially shaped and contaminated – and this acknowledgement opens a door to new things. After this the conference turns into an excursion: The visit of ten organisations, groups and spaces initiated by artists simultaneously serves as an incomplete mapping of social-artistic engagements and as possible stimulation for our own actions. The spectrum of sites visited ranges from “Neue Nachbarschaft Moabit” (initiated by Marina Naprushkina) and the *foundationClass of the Kunstakademie Weißensee on the art activists of Peng Collective and Zentrum für Politische Schönheit to discursive art spaces such as Savvy Contemporary or different groups fighting against gentrification around Kottbusser Tor. Finally, following a short collective action with the choreographer Dana Yahalomi/Public Movement, political scientist Oliver Marchart formulates his take on the concept of pre-enactments as the artistic anticipation of a political event, or even as an opportunity to actively develop everyday social utopias in dance and theatre. Plenty of material for dinner discussion  when the conference fades out in different constellations.


Curated by: Florian Malzacher | Kuratorische Mitarbeit: Britta Wirthmüller

Guides: Juan Felipe Amaya Gonzalez, Katerina Delakoura, Margarida Sofia Delmiro Alfeirão, Lydia Dresser, Enrique García Gil, Mijung Kwon, Kiana Rezvani, Zhenya Salinski, Sunayana Shetty, Shade Theret, Garazi Valmaseda


A registration is required. Please fill in the registration form on this site. 


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xxx Judith Brückmann editor

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