ZHdK Discussion Panel: The Knowledge of the Body, Space, and Sound

Thinking is not the first thing in the human being […]. The human being, the animal, first senses himself obscurely, then senses himself vividly; he subsequently senses pleasure and pain within himself obscurely; after which he senses the pleasure and the pain outside himself; only then does he have cognition (Herder).The panel will focus on knowledge incorporated in the dancing body and its methods, the designed space, and the staged sound; it will also focus on knowledge generated through movement, through design and sound. We will establish the framework for discussing experience as counterpart of scientific knowledge.

SERGE VON ARX, architect and professor of scenography, is theartistic director of the scenography department of the Norwegian Theatre Academy (of the ØstfoldUniversity College). In 1997 Serge von Arx completed his degree in architecture at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. In 1998 he began his long-term collaboration with Robert Wilson on various stage, exhibition and installation design projects all over the world. He has been a regular mentor and architectural consultant at the “Watermill Center” on Long Island, New York since 2003. In 2001 he opened his design studio in Berlin and ha ssince 2006 been based in Oslo. Serge von Arx lectures at various international universities and works internationally as a scenographer, designer and architect, focusing on “performative architecture”; the encounter of architecture and theatre. His research includes various international publications and curatorial engagements.

LIU XIAOYI was born in Guangdong, China. He came to Singapore in 1998. He is an acclaimed playwright and the director of The Theatre Practice’s Practice Lab. Last seen in the sold-out production of Art in this year’s Huayi – Chinese Festival of Arts, he’s currently writing and directing Fluid, a play presented as part of TTP’s M1 Chinese Theatre Festival that essentially questions what theatre is.

DIMITRI DE PERROT, the famous Swiss performing artist, is part ofthe Zimmermann & de Perrot duo. His recent performances include Myousic, which explores the interaction between sound, musicspace and audience: ‘Imagine you go to a concert and there is nothing to see on stage – yet. You can’t hear anything, either, even though the performance has already begun. A performance that, for the time being, consists of a backdrop of sound, that plays with the empty space, with the pause before the onset, the tension before the explosion. And with you. You are the primary ingredient of the evening. You generate the sound, acting as the instrument and soundbox. You are at once performer and the audience. And suddenly your seat begins to vibrate, you sway and pulsate in close dialogue withe verything that surrounds you.

SASITHARAN THIRUNALAN established Theatre Training & Research Programme in 2000 with the late Kuo Pao Kun. Prior to that, he was Artistic Director of The Substation 1996 – 2000. From 1988– 1996 he was The Straits Times’ theatre and visual ciritic. For more than 30 years, Sasi has been actively involved as an actor/performer and producer in the local theatre scene. He has performed in more than 25 plays directed by Singaporeans Chandra Lingam, Max Le Blond,Ong Keng Sen and Kuo Pao Kun, as well as delivered invited lectures at UNESCO’s Forum on Communication and Cultural Expression in the Dominican Republic, the International Association of Theatre Critics in Hong Kong, the Instituto De Estudos Europeus in Macau, University of Hawai’i at Manoa, Columbia University, the University of Buffalo, New York, the Shanghai Theatre Academy, and at the Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne. He has served on the boards of several institutions including: National Arts Council, Singapore Art Museum, Singapore International Foundation, National Book Development Council, and the Asian Arts Network.

HARTMUT WICKERT is the vice-president of the Zurich University of the Arts where he has also been Head of Department of Performing Arts and Film since 2006. Prior to 2006 Harmut
Wickert was a freelance theatre director, staging production at Thalia Theatre Hamburg, Schauspiel Graz, Staatstheater Mainz, Staatstheater Karlsruhe, German National Theatre Weimar, and Theaterhaus Jena. From 1993 – 2000 he was Leading Director at Niedersächsisches Staatsschauspiel, Hannover; from 1989 – 1993 he was Freelance Director at Theatre Basel and Leading Director at Theater Konstanz; and from 1984 – 1988 he was artistic director of Tübinger Zimmertheater.