announcement workshop

On the 6th of July 14:30-17:00h, in the frame of the conference The Politics of Performance and Play. Feminist Matters at the Leiden University/Institute for Philosophy, Annie Abrahams led the workshop being with ... performance as research as experiment as tool in the LAK dance studio of the university.


Announcement : Can we construct, building only on what we are, a radically horizontal performance? Can we, at the same time, research the agency of objects in our relations? Let's try. Who, what are we? We? Find an object, discover the object, make it exist, don't talk, observe, write, change, rediscover, We, What is we?, don't discuss, utter, do, observe, write, change.

In this workshop we will all be, and the conceptors, and the performers and the audience (involved observers). We will formulate and execute, while continuously changing roles, a changing script written by all.

We will work with my interpretation of the reformulation and transmission method used by Deufert&Plischke : "our work processes are circular processes of continuously passing on and transmitting materials without discussion. We clearly position these practices as an aesthetic and political alternative to processes based on discussion and consensus."

Description taken from my preparations / walkthrough :
We will work on a short performance where couples of persons and objects will bring alive different kinds of being in the world. The objects should be considered partners, not be regarded as tools. No instrumentalization. There are two kind of things: objects and persons. We are things too; feeling things.
Objects influence us, we influence objects and together we make a world.

I borrowed the method we will use from a couple of dancers / choreographers called Deufert and Plischke : "It is a way of working together that is not based on consensus, but on passing on material, spending time with it individually, making the necessary decisions with it, transforming and reformulating it without the need of immediate negotiation or justification. This is when a plurality of voices comes into the work and personal competences for an activity can transform into shared responsibilities for the material: handing over material, taking it seriously, spending time with it, contributing to it."

During the workshop we won't talk - discuss, explain, negotiate.
We will write.
Without talking, without discussing, we will write this performance together in a radical horizontal way. We will change roles, be writer, observer and performer.

15 min. Exploration.
15 min write an instruction for a 5 min long performance.
5 min execution and 5 min observation.
15 min reformulation.
5 min execution and 5 min observation.
Discussion will start 30 min. before the end of the workshop.

Complete Walkthrough .pdf.

workshop besides, LAK Leiden

Participants: four artists (visual) and two philosophers.
Objects chosen:
a chair, a dustpan, a comb, a music stand, a floor mop, a computer cable

The final scores in a .pdf (in Dutch)

CURIOUS CONVERSATIONS - An orchestra of things. Notes on the first part of the workshop by Dr. Cissie Fu:

"Dustbin playing head.
Walls combed.
Curtains woven.
Chair hooked.
Stand dismembered.
Mop beating rails.
Rails ringing.
Holes plugged.

Sitting on stairs, sensing
the vibration of things.
Boundaries shifting.

Perception magnified.
Senses heightened.
Sensibilities tuned.

The music of things." Thanks Cissie.
.mp3 recorded by Cissie Fu in the exploration phase.

We didn't have enough time. Two iterations of the process is not enough to pretend to write a performance together. More time is needed to find ways to exist as a thing with another thing. Moreover the participants didn't have experience with writing scores and performing, but they were courageous and learned quickly. Afterwards they said that it was difficult to see oneself as a thing. It was easier to see the others as things, when they watched and didn't try to interprete. Maybe next time I should ask the participants to rewrite the script based only on what they observe.

The approaches differed a lot:
Imaginatif. The object became something else and was used to tell stories. The computercable became a dog and a fountain.
Personified. Objects were adressed as persons with whom you can have a relation. They were antropomorfied. A chair and the music stand were thanked and the mop had to be treated angrily.
Physical. Discovering and using the object's physical properties and make these influence the performer. The comb leaving white stripes on a body, producing sound when used on a wall. The dustbin influencing sight. But also influencing the objects own physicallity by taking it apart or make it move on its own.



Online experiments by Annie Abrahams and Martina Ruhsam, who, investigate the performative potential of computer-mediated performance. By listening to each other´s gestures (in a visual and acoustic sense) they choreograph each other despite being geographically far away from each other - Annie lives in Montpellier, Martina in Frankfurth.

On Object Agency. As an assemblage of text-fragments and daily objects this live-performance is a series of linkages and open relations between words and banal things. What do words, a pencil and a stone have in common? Does the stone change when being confronted by a hammer? What changes if it is replaced by a pill? Does the image of a spoon change the thought or does the thought change the thing?

In this frame Annie and Martina realized so far 5 performances :

July 7 2016 14h15 besides, subjectivity is no longer a privileged site for emancipation. The Politics of Performance and Play. Feminist Matters. Leiden University Institute for Philosophy.

March 19th 2016 20h. besides, compressed by communication. Loft/Schokofliegerei, Wien. In the frame of Metabolism - Ecologies of collaboration .

Nov. 28th 2015 18h30 besides, smaller than a single pixel, Pixxelpoint festival, Nova Gorica (Slo), Gorizia (I).

July 22nd 2015 : besides, the city is not a tree. In the frame of 6PM YOUR LOCAL TIME, Link Art Center.

June 11th 2015 : besides, the person I am becoming, a Turbulence commission made possible with funds from the National Endowment for the Arts.

More information on the besides, project : performance protocols, text collections, videos, photos, chatlog files and notes.


Martina Ruhsam is working as a choreographer, performer and writer. From October 2008 to March 2009 she was (vicarious) head of the theorycentre in Tanzquartier Wien. In 2011 her book “Kollaborative Praxis: Choreographie” was published by Turia + Kant. Her artistic work and collaborations were presented at various venues and festivals (among others: Wiener Festwochen, Tanzquartier Wien, brut, Kino Siska, Mladi Levi Festival, Museum for Applied Arts Vienna, Museum of Contemporary Art Metelkova) – predominantly in Austria and Slovenia. Martina Ruhsam was teaching in Maska´s Seminar for Performing Arts (Ljubljana) and was lecturing internationally. She is a member of the editorial board of Maska. Performing Arts Journal and is regularly contributing articles to the magazine. She published essays in several publications dedicated to the performing arts (f.i. Martina Ruhsam: „Die Inszenierung des Dokuments“, in: Sigrid Gareis/Georg Schöllhammer/Peter Weibel (ed.), exhibition catalogue, Karlsruhe: ZKM, 2012). Currently she is completing a Phd at the Justus Liebig University in Gießen.

Annie Abrahams has a doctoraal (M2) in biology from the University of Utrecht and a MA2 from the Academy of Fine Arts of Arnhem. In her work, using video and performance as well as the internet, she questions the possibilities and limits of communication in general and more specifically investigates its modes under networked conditions. She is known worldwide for her netart and collective writing experiments and is an internationally regarded pioneer of networked performance art.
From 2002 till 2005 she taught at the University of Montpellier in the Arts Department. She curated and organized the project InstantS from 2006 to 2009 and the Breaking Solitude and Double Bind webperformances series in 2007, 2008 and 2009 for In 2012 she co­organised the first Cyposium – online symposium on cyberformance, and published an article on webcam mediated communication and collaboration in JAR #2. In 2013 she started with Emmanuel Guez the ReadingClub project, an online venue for collaborative reading and writing performances. In 2014 she published two books : from estranger to e­stranger with CONA and Aksioma, Ljubljana; and CyPosium ­ the book, co­edited with Helen Varley Jamieson and published by by LINK Editions. Extensive bio+cv.


We perform experimenting thinking together using words and things and the affects transferred via our voices. We experiment performing thinking together, We think performing experiments together, We experiment thinking performance, We experiment performing thought together using words and things and the affects transferred via our voices...

More information on besides, the project