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    City Symposium – Technoperformance

    Jon McKenzie, Pedro Manuel, Marian van Dijk, SPRING
    SPRING 2018

    Technology plays an increasingly active role in our day-to-day lives, in industry, education and science. Instead of a passive tool, technology is quickly turning into a partner in all kinds of activities. Developments like these are drawing our attention to the role of technology as a performer and to what SPRING Festival Fellow Jon McKenzie calls technoperformance: the performance of technological agents. The SPRING City Symposium discusses the links between the developments today and a history of technological performers in the arts. McKenzie (Dean’s Fellow Media & Design, Cornell University) will be introducing his ideas on technoperformance. He will be followed by Pedro Manuel (Coordinator of the Theatre Practices Master at ArtEZ) who presents his research into the history of theatre without human actors, and a talk by Marian van Dijk (Director of Museum Speelklok) on the project Robots love Music. Each in their own way, our speakers take stock of the relationship between technoperformance historically and today, and of the ways in which contemporary developments are lending historical developments new relevance.



    Festival Fellowship
    In collaboration with the department of Theatre Studies at Utrecht University and the Centre for the Humanities, SPRING is organizing another Festival Fellowship. This year we have invited Jon McKenzie to be the SPRING Festival Fellow. McKenzie is Professor of English and holds a PhD in Performance Studies from NYU. He is currently researching new media, performance theory, globalization and civil disobedience. As part of his Festival Fellowship, McKenzie will be contributing to the City Symposium and giving a seminar for (research) Master students and PhD students. He will also be a guest speaker during a number of meetings of the SPRING Academy.



    Bio Jon McKenzie
    Jon McKenzie is Dean’s Fellow for Media and Design and Visiting Professor of English at Cornell University. He is the author of Perform or Else: From Discipline to Performance and such essays as “Laurie Anderson for Dummies,” “Democracy’s Performance,” and “Global Feeling: (Almost) All You Need Is Love.” His work has been translated into a half-dozen languages. McKenzie’s StudioLab pedagogy combines seminar, studio, and lab activities to bring scholarship to communities and policy-makers. He also creates experimental videos and gives workshops on performative scholarship and transmedia knowledge. In 2013, HOBO Art Foundation and the New Theatre of Warsaw co-produced Disastronauts, an experimental theatre work with dance and Theremins based on Perform or Else and his video The Revelations of Dr. Kx4l3ndj3r. McKenzie is Centre for the Humanities SPRING Festival Fellow 2018, a fellowship generously sponsored by the Centre for the Humanities at Utrecht University.



    Bio Marian van Dijk – Robots Love Music 
    Starting September 21, Museum Speelklok will be all about musical robots. In the international exhibition Robots love Music, robots of all sorts and from all across the world can be viewed in the museum: ancient robots, metal robots, supersonic robots, life-size robots, closets with hidden robots and many invisible musicians. All of these robots will be playing live music. Musical ‘robots’ have evolved in such a way that they do not only mimic human movements, but compose music themselves and even improvise. Next to the interactive exhibition this autumn, there will be a variety of robot events taking place throughout the city of Utrecht in collaboration with universities, venues and musicians.


    Marian van Dijk started as the director of Museum Speelklok in 2015. Van Dijk has a background as amusician, musicologist and museologist and fulfilled diverse executive positions with the cultural sector. Museum Speelklok has been around for over 60 years and is located in the centre of Utrecht city inthe Buurkerk. In 2017 the museum welcomed over 100.000 visitors.



    Bio Pedro Manuel – theatre without actors
    Pedro Manuel is a Portuguese theatre maker, theorist and tutor. In 2017 he acquired his PhD in Theatre and Performance Studies at Utrecht University (funded by FCT). In his PhD dissertation he researched ‘theatre without actors’, such as performances with spectators, non-actors, technology or natural phenomena, focusing on how those performances rehearse new relations of co-presence, perception and knowledge between humans and non-humans. You can find his PhD dissertation on https://narcis.nlby searching for ‘theatre without actors’.


    As a theatre maker, Manuel is moved by how making-appear entails a make-believe, exploring how we can rehearse expanded modes of acting on stage and in the world. He has shown work in Teatro Nacional D. Maria II, Festival Temps D’Images, Festival Escrita na Paisagem, CCB, as well as in Frascati Theater, FLAM, Rozentheater, Roodkapje Rotterdam, and Het Huis Utrecht. In the higher education, Manuel has been lecturing in institutions as IADE and ESTAL (Portugal), ECA-UEM (Mozambique), Utrecht University and ArtEZ (NL). Currently, he is working as Head Coordinator of the ArtEZ Master of Theatre Practices.

    More information on his artistic and academic work, you can find here:



    Jon McKenzie


    Pedro Manuel


    Marian van Dijk



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