Workspace open for participants:
9- 23 December 2020


McLuhan's observations about technology becoming an extension of ourselves spring to mind when looking at the way we relate to our mobile devices today. These devices, our phones and laptops, have become constant companions and to a great extent also part of our identities. According to a recent study, European adults spend on average about 3 hours on their mobile phones, and pick up the device 58 times a day. Since the beginning of the pandemic this has even increased, and quite substantially. As with other aspects of our lives, the pandemic has magnified what was already there: in this case the fact that we spend a large part of our waking hours on screens. For some of this time we are in communication with others, but for much of it we're just alone with the device, without the involvement of another human 'at the other end of the line'. As our entanglement with our mobile devices continues to increase, it feels like there is never a moment to stop and observe, reflect and evaluate the impact of this intensive and consuming relationship. What is it actually producing? What emotions are involved?  How is it changing us? How are our thinking, our skills and habits influenced by the formats, processes, and algorithms that we are constantly encountering while engaging with the device? What is the nature of this intimacy? How strong is the attachment? And where do we want to take it from here? 

In this  virtual workspace we will explore the blurry territory between us humans and the machines we are so closely entwined with in our daily lives. We will delve into, mess around with and bend the intimate relationship we have with our mobile devices. We'll work practically, experimenting with the performative potential in engaging with these machines, and through them with ourselves. In playful and serious ways we'll warp their existing features and use basic schemes to elicit new ones. We'll try to develop artificial dialogues together using a toolkit and unearth internal thought processes. During the workshop participants will develop small, spontaneous performative responses based on shared procedures, but rooted in their own urges, desires and fears towards the encounter with their mobile device. It is a laboratory mode of working where also the seemingly vague, far-out or 'stupid' ideas can be tried out, where inexplicable impulses and obsessions can be pursued, materials swapped or combined, and various forms of collaborations tried out. During the work a playful and shameless approach is encouraged, which allows for welcoming risk and pushing materials through failure into unexpected territories.

"In the history of human culture there is no example of a conscious adjustment of the various factors of personal and social life to new extensions except in the puny and peripheral efforts of artists." 

Marshall McLuhan:
The Medium is the Message



Edit Kaldor is a theatre-maker and writer, recognized internationally as a unique voice in the contemporary theatre landscape. She works mostly with nonprofessional performers over extended periods of time and across various projects, merging documentary and fictional materials, and addressing seemingly unspeakable experiences, such as statelessness, abuse, or the dying process. She lives in Amsterdam and works internationally.  Her performances, which stretch considerably the boundaries of theatrical conventions, have been presented in over 30 countries in Europe, the Americas, Asia and North Africa. She often integrates in her work digital media and interfaces, focusing on the metaphorical and theatrical possibilities in the daily use of technology. She is at this moment developing a new piece where she works with the augmentation of reality through the use of the mobile phone and covert performance elements in public space. 

Edit Kaldor was born in Budapest, and immigrated as a child to the United States, where she lived for ten years before moving back to Europe. She studied English Literature and Drama at Columbia  University in New York and  University College London, and performance practice at DasArts in Amsterdam.  In the past years she has taught and lectured at performing art academies and universities across Europe and has led workshops in contexts like the International Forum at the Berliner Festspiele and the Shanghai Biennale. Since 2017 she is artistic research fellow at the Norwegian Theatre Academy where she has been developing the long-term artistic research project The Many and the Form on new aesthetic and social practices for contemporary performance.  She is currently also co-editing the book Theatres of Powerlessness together with Joe Kelleher from Roehampton University, which will be published by Bloomsbury / Methuen in 2022.