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° n/a Engels

ARIA research seminar


In recent decades, there has been an increasing interest in embedding elements from reality into performance. The testimonial plays of Lola Arias, the lecture performances of Rabih Mroué and Hito Steyerl, or the hybrid installations of Walid Raad propose complex dispositives and dramaturgies that question our modes of engagement with factual information.

While the field of contemporary dance is known for its critical experimentations, the inclusion of factual information in its practice remains largely uncharted. Choreographers often use documentary elements such as texts, photographs, or videos as sources of inspiration in their artistic process, but few of these items remain visible in the final stage work. The intersection between embodied and documentary practices, however, opens up possibilities for new choreographic articulations of sociopolitical issues of various sorts and alternative ways of engaging with such matters. It results in what art philosopher Frédéric Pouillaude calls “factual representations” that consequently lead to a “poetics of factuality” (Pouillaude 2020).

For this symposium, which follows from his practice-based PhD research, choreographer Arkadi Zaides invites various practitioners and scholars to reflect collectively on the notion of “documentary choreography”. By looking at concrete case studies and by proposing various theoretical lenses, the participants will explore the strategies used by artists when combining embodied and documentary practices. Through different formats, they will consider the potentiality of such blending not only to challenge the boundaries of contemporary dance and documentary theater, but also to engage critically with social and political issues.


Thursday, 7 December 2023

  • 17:00 - 17:30 Gathering
  • 17:30 - 17:45 Opening notes, Annouk Van Moorsel (Head of Dance and Educational Programmes in Dance, Drama, and Music at the Royal Conservatoire Antwerp; co-chair of the research group CORPoREAL), Arkadi Zaides (choreographer, PhD researcher)
  • 17:45 - 18:30 A Choreographic Move towards Visceral Realism, Frédéric Pouillaude (professor of Aesthetics at Aix-Marseille University)
  • 18:30 - 19:15 Between Conflict and Community: The Politics of Witnessing in Documentary Dance, Timmy De Laet (associate professor of Theatre and Dance Studies at the University of Antwerp and coordinator of CoDa│Cultures of Dance – Research Network for Dance Studies)
  • 19:15 - 20:00 Samah Hijawi (artist, writer, astrologer) in conversation with Frédéric Pouillaude and Timmy De Laet

Friday, 8 December 2023

  • 10:00 - 10:30 Gathering
  • 10:30 - 11:30 Human Rights in Art and Law: An Encounter and a Conversation, a conversation between Sandra Noeth (curator, body theorist, professor at the HZT-Inter-University Centre for Dance Berlin) and Eva Brems (professor at the Faculty of Law & Criminology at Ghent University, head of the Human Rights Centre)
  • 11:30 - 12:15 The Documentary Choreography as a Heterotopian Affirmation of Reality: Unlearning Citizenship and Visibility in Necropolis, Christel Stalpaert (professor at the Department of Art History, Musicology and Theatre Studies at Ghent University, co-director of the research center S:PAM)
  • 12:15 - 13:00 Round table discussion between Christel Stalpaert, Sandra Noeth, Eva Brems, and Arkadi Zaides
  • 13:00 - 14:15 Break
  • 14:15 - 15:00 Screening of Aphasia (Act Three) – “A Kid from the Neighbourhood” by Jelena Jureša (visual artist and filmmaker, post-doc researcher at KASK/School of Arts (HoGent))
  • 15:00 - 16:00 Clubbin’ in Complicity, An van. Dienderen (filmmaker, teacher & senior researcher at KASK/School of Arts (HoGent)) and Thomas Bellinck (theater and exhibition maker, doctoral researcher at KASK/School of Arts (HoGent)) in conversation with Jelena Jureša
  • 16:15 - 18:00 Screening of Barail, a movie by and in the presence of Denis Cointe (author-director) followed by an aftertalk

Saturday, 9 December 2023

  • 10:00 - 10:30 Gathering
  • 10:30 - 12:00 Muscular Rumination, Carolina Mendonça (choreographer, dramaturg)
  • 12:00 - 12:15 Break
  • 12:15 - 13:15 BAD FACTS, BAD FAITH, BAD FATE, Ligia Lewis (choreographer)
  • 13:15 - 14:00 Kopano Maroga (performance artist, writer, and cultural worker) in conversation with Carolina Mendonça and Ligia Lewis
  • 14:00 - 15:00 Break
  • 15:00 - 18:00 Towards Documentary Choreography, inner outer circle discussion
  • 18:00 - 18:30 Ending notes


The symposium is free but reservations are required.

Type opleiding:
Lezingen en studiedagen
Kunst en cultuur

Beursschouwburg, Auguste Ortsstraat 20/28, 1000 Brussels, Belgium

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