Femi Osofisan, July 8, 2015
In this interview, the dramatist, researcher, and theatre director Femi Osofisan, a fellow at the center since 2012, explains how colonialism shaped his conception of ‘theatre’ during his childhood and how he became aware of the political, ethical, and moral dimensions of performance and theatre while studying in France in the 1970s. Osofisan also shares his rich experience as a political dramatist and theatre director who has been working around the globe for more than 30 years, practicing ‘interweaving’ as an aesthetic strategy for addressing current social and political problems in Nigeria and many other places where he has staged his fascinating work—including the U.S., the U.K., China, and Germany.
Stephen Barber, June 2, 2015
Stephen Barber has published many books on urban cultures in relation to performance, film, photography and digital art; his most recent book (2012) is on the personal archive of the moving-image pioneer Eadweard Muybridge. The London Times called Barber’s books ‘brilliant, profound and provocative,’ and The Independent described him as a ‘writer of real distinction.’ The short video by Thomas Martius documents the work of Stephen Barber as a Fellow at the International Research Center “Interweaving Performance Cultures.” It provides insight into his extensive primary research into Muybridge’s personal archive. With the work of Eadweard Muybridge, Barber raises questions that reconceptualize the dynamics of corporeal and urban forms. His focus is on the conjunction of performance and film within exterior spaces, the origins of cinema, and its early prefiguring of the digital world. Thomas Martius’s short video is a dense insight into this researcher’s practice as well as an artistic reflection on the contemporary visual culture itself.
Nanako Nakajima, April 23, 2015
In this interview, the dramaturge and dance scholar Nanako Nakajima, a fellow at the center since 2013, discusses her research project on the aging body in dance. The project developed out of her experiences of training and teaching traditional dance in Japan for more the 20 years as well as out of her work as a dramaturge for independent dance productions in the U.S. Describing the ways in which age is performed and perceived differently in dance communities in Japan, in the U.S., and in Europe, Nakajima emphasizes that during the creative production process of dance pieces, interweaving practices can open up various perspectives and thus prevent offending stereotypical representations of ‘other’ cultures in performance.
In this interview, the theatre scholar Azadeh Sharifi, a fellow at the center since 2014, speaks about her research project on ‘post-migrant theatre’ in Western European countries. Explaining that her research is influenced by her personal experiences as a refugee in Germany, Sharifi describes how her interest in the effects of migration on contemporary European theatre developed—effects that must be considered as formative but are, in fact, very often ignored, marginalized, or misrepresented. Strongly emphasizing the need to investigate and highlight this formative role of migration for the aesthetics of contemporary Western European theatre, Sharifi strives to critically rethink the potentials of the term ‘post-migrant theatre’.
The socio-political changes in Northern Africa and the Middle East since 2011 have resonated with an ongoing and wide-spread perception of crisis in Europe, begging the questions: What kind of society do we want to live in? What kind of conditions are necessary for this society to emerge? In 2013, twelve Egyptian and European artists, architects, and cultural workers from the fields of choreography, architecture, and theater addressed these questions in and for Berlin, Vienna, and Cairo. They worked to build spaces that might respond to the needs and questions of the local, cultural, and social contexts in which they were involved.
Ayat Najafi, February 27, 2015
Now, as I walk in the streets of Lahore, I realize that I too am in a supermarket – producing and consuming Pakistan like the “Iran experts” do Iran. The lens of my camera is tinted with the preconceived notions I have packaged and brought to Pakistan. In fact, the supermarket goes both ways: Pakistanis, too, produce and consume me as a certain plastic image of Iran. Ironically, with Reza Kazim’s words of revolution still ringing in my ears, I am engaged in the free-market capitalism of clichés.
On stage, we see a private room: a rug, a chair, a table with personal items … on the floor, a TV set and a stereo. Diyaa Yamout seems to have gone out briefly to fetch cigarettes or to meet friends. He should be coming back any minute … Or someone else should be coming … After all, someone has to come. But no one does.
This paper discusses the idea of new media dramaturgy in connection to dumb type performances and outlines some of the notions that apply to the concept of interweaving performance cultures and new media. In this context, it explores dumb type's pioneering suite of multimedia performances pH, S/N, OR and Memorandum as the basis for an emergent transformation in performance towards the development of new forms.