There is a special relation between theatre and spectrality, as the stage so often becomes a place of conjuring. The presence of actors, of objects and words, or even of the empty stage, is fundamentally permeated with paradox: things are what they are and, to an extent, they are simultaneously other. In this entanglement of reality and fiction, presence and memory, one can say that spectrality is inherent to the theatrical.
Performing Spectralities is a short series of interviews, where we will attempt to manifest some of the ideas, stories and concepts inherent to the use of the stage as a place for haunting, grief, remembrance. We will meet theatre director Diederik Peeters who has attempted to stage the “super-natural” through his artistic research Collected Apparitions; Professor Dr. Esther Peeren, who reflected about how spectres are made to appear in her publications The Spectral Metaphor and The Spectralities Reader; and choreographers Flávia Pinheiro and Paula Chaves, who experimented embodying the memory of loss in works such as Abiku and House of Desaparecidxs.
Curated by Pedro Manuel, Performing Spectralities is generously funded by the ATD Lectorate Research Development Fund and relates to its work under the theme Care, Grief & Loss, Lived Time https://www.atd.ahk.nl/en/das-research/themes/care-grief-loss-lived-time/
All events between 16h-18h (CET time) at DAS Graduate School (Overhoeksplein 2, Amsterdam)
Thursday 13th October: meeting Diederik Peeters, room 2.06
Thursday 24th November: meeting Esther Peeren, room 2.14
Friday 09th December: meeting Flávia Pinheiro/ Paula Chaves, room 2.09
The event is free of charge and based on walk-in, but you can make a reservation at firstname.lastname@example.org
Esther Peeren is Professor of Cultural Analysis, and Academic Director of the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA). Together with Jeroen de Kloet she is series editor of Palgrave Studies in Globalization, Culture and Society . Previous publications have focused on spectrality; the use of the metaphor of the ghost, or the ghostly as a theoretical concept.
Her second monograph - The Spectral Metaphor: Living Ghosts and the Agency of Invisibility (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014) - examines the relationship between spectrality, precarity and agency in cultural representations of marginalized groups perceived as "ghostly" (migrants, servants, mediums and missing persons). She edited the collections Popular Ghosts: The Haunted Spaces of Everyday Culture (Continuum, 2010) and The Spectralities Reader (Bloomsbury, 2013) with Maria del Pilar Blanco of the University of Oxford. She also published articles on spectrality in Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction, and The Ashgate Research Companion to Paranormal Cultures.
Looking for the ultimate proof that ghosts exist, Diederik Peeters spent two years delving into the dark tunnels that connect science with magic, and technology with horror. He regularly resurfaced to share his findings in diverse formats, ranging from dance pieces and installations to radio plays. The performance Apparitions is the last in this series of creations. He adopts the role of an illusionist, but quickly gets lost in his own illusions. With optical tricks from the 19thcentury, he breathes life into his own shadow and conjures the ghosts of the future. In a kind of visual delirium, echoes of Méliès or Houdini clash with the 22nd century. Are the dead alive here, and does the future simply occur in the present?
Despite a visual arts diploma, it is mainly in the stables of the performing arts that Diederik Peeters gets lost. He was spotted in the work of fellow artists, cunningly disguised as an actor, performer or even consultant. But above all, he insists on brewing his own artistic concoctions, sometimes in collaboration with carefully selected cronies. With Hans Bryssinck and Kaaitheater artist-in-residence Kate McIntosh he founded SPIN, an artist-run research and support platform in Brussels.
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