Joe Kelleher
17 Apr 2014

Teijin Auditorium, Stedelijk Museum
7:30 - 9:30 pm
Entrance price to the museum + € 2.50 cover charge

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Joe Kelleher
Joe Kelleher

The Stedelijk Museum is delighted to invite performance scholar Joe Kelleher to present a keynote lecture, as part of the ongoing performance and lecture series Stage It! (Part 3): SCRIPTED. Art historian Sophie Berrebi will provide an introduction to the evening and Professor of Theater Studies Kati Röttger will act as respondent to Kelleher.

In anticipation of his forthcoming publication The Illuminated Theatre: Studies on the Suffering of Images (2015), Kelleher will present the first chapter, which opens with a conversation between two friends, Ernst Bloch and Walter Benjamin, in a bar on the Italian island of Capri, as they discuss a story by the 19th century author Ludwig Tieck. The scene, which actually took place in 1924, is recorded in Bloch’s essay on déjà vu. The heroine of Tieck’s tale, in the friends’ reading, is pressured into the lifeless existence of an image, frozen in a moment of indecision, as if by a stranger’s glance at a window. This is what it is like at times following theater performance in the early 21st century, being present at scenes where “actors” negotiated their relation to the performed image.

Kelleher will discuss other accounts of the reciprocal capture of spectator and what remains of image-making gestures, ranging from theorist Marie-José Mondzain’s fantasia on the entry of the human being onto the “stage of history” in ice age cave paintings, to more contemporary examples from theatrical and visual arts practice. In each, the substance of the performance is the seemingly simple presence of a person – an actor, if one will – “illuminated,” as Bloch says, “as if from above”; in which light we each, image-makers all – makers, actors, and consumers – engage in the alchemical translation of solitary vision into the speech that we exchange with others.

Through a set of examples that negotiate a contingency of “talk” or speech in relation to particular images, Kelleher asserts that contingencies of all sorts have long disturbed any sense we might have had of our lives, our worlds, being readily predictable or scripted. Meanwhile, the contingencies opened by these performative examples  – what happen to survive over a long period of time, contingencies of affection and attachment, contingencies of the found object, or the unaccountable decision – pick at such disturbance from close up, pulling at the relations between what is seen or felt for oneself, and what can be shared and validated with others, as a script for speech and action.


7:30 p.m.                            Word of welcome by Hendrik Folkerts (curator)
7:35 p.m.                            Introduction by Sophie Berrebi
7:50 p.m.                            Keynote lecture by Joe Kelleher
8:40 p.m.                            Respondent lecture by Kati Röttger
9:00 p.m.                            Q&A
9:15 p.m.                            End

Biographies of the speakers

Sophie Berrebi is a writer, art historian, and curator born in Paris and based in Amsterdam. She has published widely on contemporary art, notably in journals such as frieze, Afterall, Metropolis M, and Art and Research. She received her PhD from the Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London, in 2003, and since 2003 has been based at the University of Amsterdam, where she teaches art history and theory, mainly in the areas of photography and contemporary art. Her research at the university is based at ASCA, the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis. Her forthcoming publications are The Shape of Evidence, a book on the use of documents in contemporary art, and Jean Dubuffet, un dossier, an edited volume of writings by Hubert Damisch and Jean Dubuffet.

Joe Kelleher is the professor of Theatre and Performance and head of department for Drama, Theatre and Performance at Roehampton University London. He is co-author with Claudia and Romeo Castellucci, Chiara Giudi, and Nicholas Ridout of The Theatre of Societas Raffaello Sanzio (Routledge 2007), co-editor with Ridout of Theatres in Contemporary Europe (Routledge 2006), and author of Theatre & Politics (Palgrave Macmillan 2009). His articles have appeared in journals such as Performance Research, Maska, Frakcija, and Theatre (Yale). His essays have been published in various edited collections including, most recently, International Politics and Performance, ed. Jenny Edkins and Adrian Kear (Routledge 2014), and Intimacy Across Visceral and Digital Performance, ed. Maria Chatzichristodoulou and Rachel Zerihan (Palgrave Macmillan 2012). He is currently completing a book titled The Illuminated Theatre: Studies on the Suffering of Images for Routledge (2015).

Kati Röttger is the professor and chair of the Institute of Theatre Studies at the University of Amsterdam. She completed her doctoral studies at the Freie Universät Berlin, Germany, in 1992, on Collective Creation in the New Colombian Theatre. Since then, she has been engaged in the mediation of cultural and academic exchange between performance artists and academics of Latin America and Europe. Between 1995 and 1998, she was a postdoc at the Graduiertenkolleg “Gender-Difference and Literature” at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (Germany), after which she was appointed at the Johannes Gutenberg Universität Mainz (Germany) as an assistant professor until 2005. There, she completed her work Fremdheit und Spektakel. Theater als Medium des Sehens. Her research activities are currently affiliated with the Amsterdam Center of Globalisation Studies, the Amsterdam School of Cultural Analysis, and the Institute of Culture and History. She is co-founder of the Master of Arts of International Performance Research that has been running in close cooperation with the Universities of Warwick, Helsinki, and Belgrade since 2008.