Wednesday 12 November 2014

Performing Objects, a dialogue of bodies

– overview of collective activities and related material:

>>> 5/6/7 December 2014: Performing Objects workshop at PAF, France
Paulo Guerreiro will give a workhop with our group relating to Performing Objects at PAF. We will learn through a two day workshop with experimental performance exercises and techniques how to 'become / perform' an object.

Paulo Guerreiro is a portuguese artist living and working in Belgium. He studied dance choreography in the Superior School of Dance in Lisbon and worked with several choreographers around Europe. His personal work takes very heterogeneous forms (performance, video, art installations...) with the body as a main core and as been presented in different theaters, museums and galleries throughout Europe. Lately he is also working as coach for different organizations such as De Veerman, l'O and Cacao Bleu, in workshops around body awareness, creativity and movement.

PAF is based in St Erme, 150km north-east of Paris, France, between Reims and Laon.
PAF (=PerformingArtsForum) is a place for the professional and not-yet professional practitioners and activists in the field of performing arts, visual art, literature, music, new media and internet, theory and cultural production, and scientists who seek to research and determine their own conditions of work. PAF is for people who can motorize their own artistic production and knowledge production not only responding to the opportunities given by the institutional market.
Initiated and run by artists, theoreticians and practitioners themselves, PAF is a user-created, user-innovative informal institution. Neither a production-house and venue, nor a research-center, it is a platform for everyone who wants to expand possibilities and interests in his/her own working practice.
PAF is
- a forum for producing knowledge in critical exchange and ongoing discursive practice
- a place for temporary autonomy and full concentration on work
- a tool-machine where one can work on developing methods, tools and procedures, not necessarily driven toward a product
- a place for experimenting with other than known modes of production and organization of work, e.g. open source production

Domestic Appliances advertisement



>>> Blog: Neomaterialism is a blog run by Joshua Simon, curator and writer.

The aim of this blog is to examine the order of things today. How come symbols behave like materials (“fake” and “real” brands)? Why have commodities become the historical subject (do we furnish our world with IKEA or rather we dwell in its world)? Are humans reduced to simply absorbing surpluses (with baby diapers being a form of child labor)? How labor has shifted from production to consumption? Why is everything we do is work (even when we are not employed) and how can a generation overqualified for the labor market can change everything? This blog hosts source materials and documents, together with commentary and analysis.

Re-introducing different notions of dialectical materialism into the already established conversation on the subjectivity of things, Neomaterialism challenges the investigation which the new-materialists have begun, relating it to labor, debt, credit, animism and alienation, life-taxes and social organization.

>>> 14 / 15 november 2014: Hotel Charleroi, Charleroi, BE
On the 15 of November we'll be joining in the events of Hotel Charleroi, an initiative co-initiated by Adrien Tirtiaux together with Karin Kihlberg and Reuben Henry from London who are developing a new project with Vision Forum.


will take place November 14 – 16 in Ville Basse, the lower part of Charleroi’s city centre. This area experiences heavy transformations since a couple of years through the planned execution of the city’s latter renewal projects, Phénix and Rive Gauche. While Phénix, mostly financed through EU-fundings, focused on creating public and cultural infrastructure, approximately a fifth of the area was acquired by a private investor and is currently demolished to give way to a shopping mall. Between deception and hope, the present state of Ville Basse is a field of rubble. Seen with a bit of distance, the Phenix and Rive Gauche projects fall within the capitalist dynamic of destruction / reconstruction that Charleroi followed throughout the 20th century. The shopping mall responds to an immediate and pragmatic need: there seem to be no other way to bring back commercial activity in the city centre. As aggressive as this project is, we want to focus on what we believe is the most important for the people: the promise of a change, and the gaze towards the future rather than the past. In this perspective, we will take the physical location of the construction site as a trigger to think about longer-term futures for Charleroi instead of reacting directly on it.
We see the city changing since we started HOTEL CHARLEROI in 2010, but the people stay the same. Big plans for culture are made with little account of the population, its own idea of culture and its own needs. With neither university nor creative high schools, Charleroi has to find new ways to transmit knowledge, and define exciting cultural politics that can also match the actual concerns of the people. It is obvious that changes are indispensable in the city; we wonder about the “how” more than the “what”.

>>> To Watch: Artistry and Agency in a World of Vibrant Matter,  lecture by Jane Bennet, author of Vibrant Matter  (

download the publication Vibrant Matter (pdf)

A lecture part of the two year research project on Thingness at the Vera List Center for Art and Politics in New York:
Thingsness: In the face of virtual realities, social media, and disembodied existences, the Vera List Center for Art and Politics embarked on a two-year exploration of the material world, turning a focus back to the material conditions of our lives and examine "thingness," the nature of matter.

Russian Constructivist artist Alexander Rodchenko once declared that "our things and our hands must be equal." More recently, political scientist Jane Bennett has spoken of "vibrant matter" and called for a comprehensive understanding of the relationship between objects and people that may provoke more responsible, ethical and ecologically sound politics.

Jane Bennett - Powers of the Hoard: Artistry and Agency in a World of Vibrant Matter

How can objects sometimes be vibrant things with an effective presence independent of the words, images, and feelings they may provoke in humans? This question is posed by Political theorist Jane Bennett delivers the inaugural lecture as the Vera List Center for Art and Politics embarks on a two-year exploration of "Thingness," the nature of matter. In the face of virtual realities, social media and disembodied existences, the center's programs will focus on the material conditions of our lives.

Jane Bennet is a professor of Political Science at the Johns Hopkins University. In her latest book Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things (Duke, 2010), she asks how our politics might approach public concerns were we to seriously consider not just our human experience of things but the things themselves. How is it that things can elide their status as possessions, tools, or aesthetic objects and manifest traces of independence and vitality? Following the tangled threads that link vibrant materialities, human selves, and the "agentic assemblages" they form, Bennett examines what hoarders, people who are preternaturally attuned to "things," can teach us about the agency, causality, and artistry in a world overflowing with stuff. Professor Bennet is a founding member of the journal Theory & Event, and is currently working on a project on over-consumption, new ecologies, and Walt Whitman's materialism.

>>> 20 September 2014: Artists talks of Dunja Herzog and Anouchka Oler and discussion of texts by Donna Haraway and Graham Harman

Gathering of objects from Anouchka, Dunja and Herman


Dunja herzog: installation shots of 'Laughter is usually at the End of the Conversation
Dunja herzog: installation shots of 'Laughter is usually at the End of the Conversation:

Dunja Herzog’s sculptures and installations are concerned with what surrounds us and shapes our everyday existence. She uses common objects and materials as if to prolong their lives, affording them a new lease of life once the first has gradually died away in the indifference of its situation and use. Her analytic approach to the object world also involves shifts in scale and montage, fragmentation, an aesthetic of ruptures which serves to make the familiar visible and readable in a completely new way. Furthermore this cacophonous array of objects abandon notions of order and power, allowing the viewer to relate to the works’ inherently human qualities of fragility and vulnerability.

Anouchka Oler

Screenshot of Anouchka's online studio residency at

It Is Forbidden To Feed The Sculptures, Solo Show at OG2, Cologne (DE), 2013





Donna Harraway,
As the IHR’s 2013 Distinguished Lecturer, Donna Haraway, Distinguished Professor Emerita of the History of Consciousness Program at the University of California, Santa Cruz and author of "Simians, Cyborgs, and Women: the Reinvention of Nature," calls upon her audience to work, play and think in terms of multispecies cosmopolitics, a new approach to recuperating the Terrapolis on which we live.

After centuries of genocides, environmental destruction and its unevenly distributed suffering, and rampant killing of species, as well as individuals, Haraway suggests that humans turn to SF - string figures, science fiction, speculative fabulation, speculative feminism - as mechanisms for envisioning the future.

Working homing pigeons provide guidance for SF thinking, especially as seen through the methodologies and theories of practicing zoo-ethno-graphers. Their investigations of multispecies attachment, detachment, inter- and intra- patience, and inter- and intra- action bring together the social sciences, humanities, arts, and biological and physical sciences and offer crucial tools and knowledge(s). However, these investigations also reveal stunning human ignorance(s) about how to inhabit the world with other animals, rather than to observe and control them.
Donna Haraway


>>> Arrival new package:
Not being able to participate in person, Herman Van Ingelgem send us a package.


>>> Exhibition disobedient Objects @ V&A London, UK
26 July 2014 – 1 February 2015: From Suffragette teapots to protest robots, this exhibition is the first to examine the powerful role of objects in movements for social change. It demonstrates how political activism drives a wealth of design ingenuity and collective creativity that defy standard definitions of art and design. 

Disobedient Objects: How-To Guides
Disobedient objects are often everyday items that have been turned to a new purpose. But social change is about making as much as breaking. Sometimes designing a new object creates a new way to disobey.

Below is a link to some downloadable PDF how-to guides for making your own version of some of the disobedient objects found in the exhibition. 

>>> 5 September 2014: presentation and response to notion of Performing Objects by Sarah Vanhee

Sarah Vanhee's artistic practice is linked to performance, visual art and literature. It uses different formats and is often (re)created in situ. Her work has been presented in various contexts such as Kunstenfestivaldesarts (Brussels), De Appel arts centre (Amsterdam), iDans (Istanbul), Centre Pompidou (Metz), Impulstanzfestival (Vienna), Artefact festival/Stuk (Leuven), Van Abbe Museum (Eindhoven), Printemps de Septembre (Toulouse), Arnolfini Gallery (Bristol), Mousonturm (Frankfurt) etc. She published two art books with Onomatopee (Eindhoven) and De Appel (Amsterdam), and she published one short novel, "TT", with Campo (Ghent). Her book 'The Miraculous Life of Claire C' is part of the artist novel collection “The Book Lovers”. In 2008 she was a resident at Cittadellarte/Fondazione Pistolleto, Biella (I). Her work was nominated for the Ton Lutz prijs 2007 (honourable mention), Prix Jardin d’Europe (2010) and for the VSCD Mimeprijs 2012.

Sarah Vanhee's artistic practice is linked to performance, visual art and literature. It uses different formats and is often (re)created in situ. Her work has been presented in various contexts such as Kunstenfestivaldesarts (Brussels), De Appel arts centre (Amsterdam), iDans (Istanbul), Centre Pompidou (Metz), Impulstanzfestival (Vienna), Artefact festival/Stuk (Leuven), Van Abbe Museum (Eindhoven), Printemps de Septembre (Toulouse), Arnolfini Gallery (Bristol), Mousonturm (Frankfurt) etc. She published two art books with Onomatopee (Eindhoven) and De Appel (Amsterdam), and she published one short novel, "TT", with Campo (Ghent). Her book 'The Miraculous Life of Claire C' is part of the artist novel collection “The Book Lovers”. In 2008 she was a resident at Cittadellarte/Fondazione Pistolleto, Biella (I). Her work was nominated for the Ton Lutz prijs 2007 (honourable mention), Prix Jardin d’Europe (2010) and for the VSCD Mimeprijs 2012.

>>> 2 July 2014: next meeting 

discuss amongst others: Graham Harman' lecture for ICA

>>> 25 May 2014:
Arrival of first package to everybody (object without instructions)

>>> 18 May 2014: 14:00 - 21:00
Meeting discussion first instructions and presentation + BBQ!

>>> 2 May 2014: 14:00 - 21:00
Second collective session of mapping with Map-It tool to build up the future / structure of the project.

>>> 9 April 2014: 14:00 – 21:00
Lecture / Talk by Hilde Bouchier about Making Things Public amongst others. Mapping of future project with Map-It.MAP-it is a hands-on tool used to plan, analyse and reconstruct past and future projects and spaces. It is a method to visualise a process in space and time, in a low-tech, open and flexible manner. It can be used in various situations, such as brainstormings, debriefings, interviews...”
Mapping Report ‘Performing objects Thing(k)tank’ by Liesbeth Huybrechts 

Used kit: Understanding/creating things

Project: Lecture and mapping with a thinktank, "performing objects"
: Liesbeth Huybrechts

On a sunny day, the 9th of April, I organised a mapping with a thinktank, working around the concept of “performating objects”. The group is formed by eight artists who use the thinktank as a reflection environment around their personal work as ‘performing objects’. The group has had four meetings in the past wherein they introduced their work to each other. Sometimes this exchange takes place in practice, for instance via presenting a work in space. The exchange could also take place via talking about objects in images and words.

The group regularly invites external people to feed their exchanges. I was invited to talk about the concept of ‘thing’ as developed by Latour and how I apply it in my own practice: in my theory development in the book Participation is Risky, in our Social Spaces projects and in the MAP-it tool. Kristof Van Gestel was the host of the session: his home was the inspiring location of our exchange (filled with performative objects), where he cooked food and provided drinks. Two other artists of the thinktank were present, being Bas Schevers and Herman Van Ingelgem.  To make the concept of ‘thing’ as socio-material assembly or ‘a matter of concern around which people gather’ tangible, we used the Map-it tool to map the workings and future of the thinktank around performative objects (see map).

We started with mapping the values that were central to the thinktank. These values were experimentation (with or without producing new work as an outcome), exchange and learning. Experimentation was defined as the core value of the thinktank: through practice the artists wanted to intervene in each others work and come to new insights or even new ‘things’. This experimentation now takes place via exchanging ideas while meeting, eating and drinking. Through this experimentation also mutual learning takes place. The core people involved in this process of experimentation are the eight artists that all take the role of artists, but also of thinkers giving form to the working sessions and of ‘documenters’, documenting their experimental exchange sessions. There was a little debate around the fact if people form more diverse disciplines should be involved in the thinktank, but this idea was ‘bombed’, since the artists preferred to keep on working as a quite homogenous artistic group. The participants preferred to invite other disciplines as external guests to the sessions.
The mapping showed that some aspects of the thinktank were unclear, namely
1. how to interact with the art institutions and the public/participants and
2. how the experimentation sessions would concretely take form.
The participants were thus searching for playful methods to give form to their working sessions and to interact with the outside world. The idea was visualised on the map that the exchange could possibly always take place in one of the homes of the artists. In a first ‘tour of the homes’ one of the artists could invite the other artists at her/his home and introduce the visitors to her/his art works as performing objects.  In a second tour the visiting artists could do interventions in these homes, shifting the ways objects perform in these spaces.  The homes could then also function as spaces or ‘salons’ that outside participants can visit. This last idea places the homes as exhibition spaces in a situation of tension with the art institution as exhibition venue.
The map that resulted from this first mapping session on the future of the thinktank will be introduced to the other 5 artists to develop this idea further during the next thinktank session. 

>>> 8 April 2014: 13:00 - 21:00:
Introduction presentations of Laura / Hedwig / Celine / Herman
Discuss text written by Laura Herman

>>> 30 March 2014:
visit Z33 in Hasselt, BE/ Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, NL


> Exhibition @ Z33:
Atelier à Habiter is a studio / experiment where artists, architects and designers rethink and redefine the concept of ‘dwelling’. All over the world we are confronted by new demographic, social, environmental, and economic challenges and the re-invention of systems. Likewise, architecture and ‘dwelling’ are also being reinvented. Will the modernistic “machine à habiter” or dwelling machine, built from standard elements for standard needs, shift into the “atelier à habiter” or dwelling workshop where the creative resident stands out as a planner, organiser and designer?


> Exhibition @ Van Abbemuseum:
Arte Útil roughly translates into English as 'useful art' but it goes further suggesting art as a tool or device. For the past ten years the artist Tania Bruguera has been teaching and researching Arte Útil through an academy in Havana; the Arte Útil lab at Queens Museum, residencies at Immigrant Movement International, New York and
most recently the Museum of Arte Útil, in the Old Building of the Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven.

Whether through self-organised groups, individual initiatives or the rise of user generated content people are developing new methods and social formations to deal with issues that were once the domain of the state. Arte Útil case studies show how these initiatives are not isolated incidents, but part of a global movement shaping our contemporary world.
The notion of what constitutes Arte Útil has been arrived at via a set of criteria that was formulated by Tania Bruguera and curators at the Queens Museum, New York, Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven and Grizedale Arts, Coniston.

The criteria of Arte Util state that initiatives should:
1- Propose new uses for art within society
2- Challenge the field within which it operates (civic, legislative, pedagogical, scientific, economic, etc)
3- Be ‘timing specific’, responding to current urgencies
4- Be implemented and function in real situations
5- Replace authors with initiators and spectators with users
6- Have practical, beneficial outcomes for its users
7- Pursue sustainability whilst adapting to changing conditions
8- Re-establish aesthetics as a system of transformation

>>> 7 March: 13:00 – 21:00, Antwerp, BE
> Visit exhibition of Herman Van Ingelgem in Antwerp
“Some Moments Never Sleep is the second solo exhibition of Herman Van Ingelgem at Annie Gentils Gallery. It was a presentation of some 15 recent works that have to do with autobiographical memories. Herman Van Ingelgem explores how his private experience and perception, his relationship and interaction with the immediate surrounding world,is subject to outside influences.
How do objects, values and events from the political, social and economic realm sneak into our lives and how do they determine our thinking?How and by whom is value determined, and why? And more importantly, how can we resist this? The research is also a reflection on the artist’s own artistic activity, production and position. Through open images, Herman Van Ingelgem aims to create new senses of meaning, in this way facilitating the adoption of alternative viewpoints regarding the things and objects that surround us.”

> Visit Marthe van Dessel, artists talk about the activities with Bolwerk and how to work collectively
Bolwerk: “non-exclusive, temporary constellation that initiates, mediates and facilitates projects, abducing thought and reflection on relevant issues. Gatherings, walks, workshops, exhibitions, cinema and performative happenings, zines, radio shows, websites, ... Social environments are created, not for streamlining ideas, but in order to formulate shared/common questions and hence feed a sense of communality. The idea is to each time again create a toolkit in collaboration in order to externalize these questions and by doing so to reinforce the group and the individual. 'Open source' is a philosophy not a pragmatic methodology to externalize these questions.”


>>> February 2014: Watched documentary: Married to the Eiffel Tower
Objectum Sexuals - they call themselves OS people - believe their love with the objects are reciprocal and that they can telepathically communicate with them. Naisho is married to the Eiffel Tower. She has a passion for inanimate objects, and her mission is to fight the stigma surrounding the disorder and create a global network of sufferers - like Amy, in love with a church organ, and Eija Riita, who married the Berlin Wall. In this compelling documentary about objectum sexual disorder the characters describe just what it's like to be in love with a highly public structure.

>>> 9 February 2014: 13:00 – 21:00
Meeting artists with Per, introduction presentations of Bas / Adrien / Kristof

>>> 8 November 2013: 17:00 – 23:00
First invitation meeting / dinner with artists

Friday 20 December 2013

Performing Objects

Zetobject, Kristof Van Gestel


Research project by:
Vision Forum / Enough Room for Space  

Participants: Céline  Butaye, Marjolijn Dijkman, Laura Herman, Hedwig Houben, Bas Schevers, Adrien Tirtiaux, Kristof Van Gestel, Herman Van Ingelgem

The research project Performing Objects will explore objects and their possibilities to act as an interactive performer towards its users or audience. Performing Objects will research different ways artists can anticipate this process during the conceptualisation and the conception of their work. The artworks made for this project will possibly manifest themselves in different locations outside the regular arts contexts.

The project is process oriented and will create moments of (critical) reflection concerning our embodiment and relation to the objects surrounding us, moments of creation, collective exploration during site visits and meetings with invited guests. We aim to create a playful and experimental situation where our relation to objects will be tested and reflected upon. We would like to work within an intimate group situation where people can experiment freely with new works and ideas with constructive feed-back from their peers. Besides this internal group process the project aims to develop a direct relationship with specific audiences that will become part of the project.

The home base for the meetings and talks is the ERforS HQ
, a space that can function as a temporary studio, meeting- / events-room and presentation space. Besides this location we will create temporary set ups and incorporate work in various sites that will act as a sort of test cases. These experiments will stimulate and create a base for further discussions and developments within the process of the project.