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Dramaturgy for a Conference

Curatorial project | Performance

In this project Matías Umpierrez, as curator and artist, questions if there is a possible narrative that precedes the creation of any political speech and if we could create an instruction manual to give a speech or conference. Then invites to the contemporary thinker to design a manual, in which its instructions draw up a sort of dramaturgy to approach any subject. The conferences, performed by local speakers-specialists that come from different backgrounds, carry out their talk by following the rules of this singular manual.

Dramaturgy for a conference is a curatorial project, and a conceptual framework, which moves by changing locations and fostering collaboration between creators of different realities and geographies, as well as other projects by artist and curator Matías Umpierrez.

I Edition (Argentina)

For the first edition of Dramaturgy for a Conference, philosopher and activist Paul B. Preciado was invited to create the first manual that reflects on the cultural codes of gender production.

The artists invited to give the performance conferences were: Roberto Jacoby (Visual Artist), Mariana Obersztern (Theater maker), Juan Onofri Barbato (Choreographer and performer) , Tomás Espina (Visual Artist), Paloma del Cerro (Musician). This project was presented in its first edition during the III International Dramaturgy Festival, and in the 12 Festival Internacional de Buenos Aires, in coproduction with Plataforma Fluorescente and with the support of the Centro Cultural Recoleta, Instituto Nacional del Teatro and Mecenazgo Cultural (Argentina).

About the manual commissioned to Paul B. Preciado

Who speaks? What do they say? Is it mandatory to know the speaker’s gender to be able to understand what they say? Is it possible to listen to someone whose gender we don’t know? What is the relation between what is said and the gender of the enunciator? Who listens? Is it possible for us to listen resigning our own gender position? These are questions made by Paul B. Preciado at the time of configuring the instructions.

Intentionally increasing or decreasing the linguistic markers and cultural codes of gender production, the manual constructed by Preciado proposes to produce a cognitive emancipation of the viewer. The question then becomes about who is looking and who is listening.: Why repeat the gender that has supposedly been assigned to me? Would it be possible to introduce change variables? Does the world change if I change gender?

Credits (I Edition)

Idea & Artistic Direction: Matías Umpierrez

Invited author to create the instruction manual: Paul B. Preciado

Guest performers: Roberto Jacoby, Mariana Obersztern, Juan Onofri Barbato, Tomás Espina, Paloma del Cerro

Plataforma Fluorescente Team: General producer: Malena Schnitzer | Production coordinator: Melisa Santoro, Eleonora Di Bello | Graphic Design: Sergio Calvo | Photography: Ramiro González

Management & International Distribution: Art Republic, Iva Horvat & Elise Garriga

II Edition (Germany)

Together with artists from different geographies, the Asphalt Festival, the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen and the Theater der Welt Festival, it was developed the second edition of the project during the pandemic restrictions with augmented reality technology and premiered in the city of Düseldorf (Germany) in 2022 in the K21 Museum.

The second instruction manual was commissioned from architect and activist creator of Forensic Architecture Eyal Weizman (Israel/UK) and playwright and activist Einat Weizman (Israel). The manual is a guide to redefining the documents articulated during a lecture, performance, or documentary theater, and asks how do you find the truth when there is no evidence?

The four artists invited to create their performance lectures based on the manual are Inuk performer Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory from Canada, Xhosa choreographer Mamela Nyamza from South Africa, Indian performer Mallika Taneja and Icelandic choreographer Erna Ómarsdóttir. Each of them will follow the instructions of this forensic manual by unmasking the colonialist structures of their countries of origin. The transfer of the onsite performances into augmented reality makes answering this question even more exciting. Due to the physical absence of the performers, the discourse on negative evidence and the perception of colonial power structures takes on a particular urgency in terms of content, form, and aesthetics.

Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory (Canada), Mamela Nyamza (South Africa), Mallika Taneja (India) and Erna Ómarsdóttir (Iceland), four artists from different continents, followed the instructions of this forensic manual by unmasking the colonialist structures of their countries of origin.

About the manual commissioned to Eyal Weizman & Einat Weizman

How much documents can tell? What are its limits? Can evidence lie? How to understand and differentiate fake from truth, documentary from fiction? With the manual Negative Evidence, Eyal Weizman and Einat Weizman provide a ‘grammar of action’ seeking to invigorate the practice of documentary theatre today.

The stage, based on these instructions, is asked to become the arena of truth, both for the production and verifying evidence, while questioning the authority of evidence.

Through a Forensic Theatre, the manual proposes the absence of the evidence as evidence in its own right, the absence is the testimony itself. How could performers occupy this gap?

Credits (II Edition)

Idea & Artistic Direction: Matías Umpierrez 

Invited authors to create the instruction manual: Eyal Weizman, Einat Weizman

Guest performers: Mamela Nyamza, Erna Ómarsdóttir, Mallika Taneja, Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory

Plataforma Fluorescente Team:  General producer: Malena Schnitzer | Production coordinator: Joaquín Sesma |Graphic design: Sergio Calvo | Photography: Ramiro González

Management & International Distribution: Art Republic, Iva Horvat & Elise Garriga

This project was ideated and curated by Matías Umpierrez, produced by Asphalt Festival in coproduction with Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, and in collaboration with the Theater der Welt Festival 2021 and Plataforma Fluorescente, funded by German Federal Cultural. It was premiered with Augmented Reality technology in K21 Museum in the city of Düsseldorf (Germany) in 2022.

III Edition (Spain)

For the third edition of Dramaturgy for a Conference, artist and curator Pedro G. Romero was invited to creates a new manual that reflects on tradition and identity.

The artists invited to give the lectures are the interdisciplinary artist and ex-flamenco Niño de Elche, the choreographer and iconoclastic dancer Rocío Molina and the composer of cultural self-esteem Mercedes Peón.

This project is presented and produced by the Festival Meetyou Valladolid and Teatro Calderón de Valladolid in collaboration with Plataforma Fluorescente.

About the manual commissioned to Pedro G. Romero

A manual explaining the rules to be followed when giving a conference, lecture, master class, oratory exercise or academic paper on what may be vernacular, popular, identity, folkloric, subaltern, or if you will, what may be “Spanish”, be it Andalusian or Valladolid, Catalan or Asturian, Basque-French or Galician-Portuguese, Moorish, Jewish, gypsy or African-American; then, we will try to explain, first, why a method without method is, in a way, also a methodology (or how language conditions us even when we fight against language); and propose, of course, some theatrical frameworks with which to start talking: prescriptive, which have to do with a gender theater (that is, the evident use of class, race and gender markers) and with an archive theater (that is, the need to talk about something from the outskirts of the archive, even if it ends up, finally, in our own archive) and, also, lective, where the theatrical scenography runs through anachronistic terrains (that is, the need for two or more times to be present on stage at the same time), performers (the importance of developing songs, humming, guttural voices, dances, gestures, underlining of action and events that accompany the speech) and dialectal (the use of jargon, the need for the language expressed to have a territorializing and deterritorializing effect at the same time, depending on who is listening, who is “spectating”); In short, it is a matter of “putting oneself in situation” as Ignatius of Loyola recommended in his famous Spiritual Exercises (of which we are more interested in the subterranean idea of exercise, of technique, of assemblage, of function rather than the aerial dimension of the spiritual), noting that the situation not only helps but absolutely conditions the discourse. Whatever you talk about, the situation also speaks.

Créditos: (III Edition)

Idea and curatorship: Matías Umpierrez

Guest author for the creation of the manual: Pedro G. Romero

Guest performers: Niño de Elche, Rocío Molina, Mercedes Peón

Plataforma Fluorescente Team: General Production: Malena Schnitzer | Executive Production: Jorge Tejedor Girón | Production Coordination: Joaquín Sesma | Graphic Design: Sergio Calvo | Photography: Ramiro González

International Management & Distribution: Art Republic, Iva Horvat & Elise Garriga

Dramaturgy for a Conference is a project conceived by Matías Umpierrez through Plataforma Fluorescente, in a co-production of Meetyou Valladolid/Teatro Calderón de Valladolid.

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