The Art of Assembly

19. September 2023
23.00 CET / 17.00 EDT
Von der Heyden Theatre at the Rubenstein Arts Center, Duke University 
& online live stream

The Art of Assembly XXIV
With Michael Hardt, Michael Kliën, Pedro Lasch & Corina Stan
Hosted by Florian Malzacher
How do we deliberate before and beyond language, how do we create relations without words, how are our bodies determined by the spaces we are in? The 25th edition of The Art of Assembly takes place in the context of Michael Kliën’s “Parliament”, a social choreography in which citizen-performers work in silence to hold council amidst the elemental phenomena and fundamental concerns of collectively lived experience. Political philosopher and literature theorist Michael Hardt together with Antonio Negri coined the term Multitude, describing a „multiplicity of singularities acting together“: a network that is neither homogeneous nor self-identical. Visual artist Pedro Lasch, director of the Social Practice Lab at Duke University, works with choreographies of festive gatherings, multiplatform social communication, and other artworks created through interaction. Literature scholar Corina Stan shows that relations are not only constructed by proximity but also by interpersonal distances that have shaped ethical thinking throughout modernity.
With Ahmed Al-Nawas, andcompany&Co., Athena Athanasiou, Marco Baravalle, Anna Clara Basilicò / Rise Up For Climate Justice, Merve Bedir, Kent Bye, Z. Blace, Claire Bishop, Claudia Bosse, Tania Bruguera, Judith Butler, Teodor Celakoski, Phil Collins, Jodi Dean, Die Vielen, Radha D’Souza, Didier Eribon, Marcelo Expósito, Caitlin Fisher, Benjamin Foerster-Baldenius / raumlaborberlin, Michael Gabriel, Nuría Güell, Anne Hahn, Max Haiven, Michael Hardt, Satu Herrala, Miriam Ibrahim, Lisa Ito-Tapang/Concerned Artists of the Philippines, Edit Kaldor, Wolfgang Kaleck, jaamil olawale kosoko, Pedro Lasch, Oliver Marchart, Renzo Martens, Markus Miessen, Alia Mossallam, Chantal Mouffe, David Mulder van der Vegt, Antonio Negri, Ingo Niermann / Army of Love, Ahmet Öğüt,  Marina Otero Verzier, Sibylle Peters, Julia Ramírez-Blanco, Milo Rau, Oliver Ressler, Sarah Rothberg, Reyhan Şahin aka Lady Bitch Ray, Madlyn Sauer, School of Resistance, Jonas Staal, Corina Stan, Nora Sternfeld, The Church of Stop Shopping, The Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination (Labofii), Lotte van den Berg, Eva von Redecker, Sarah Waterfeld/Staub zu Glitzer, Dana Yahalomi / Public Movement, Ann Liv Young et al.

Hosted by Florian Malzacher

Whether in Tunis, Cairo, Madrid, or Lisbon, in Athens, New York, London, or Istanbul, in post-Fukushima Tokyo, in the midst of Niemeyer’s iconic parliamentary architecture in Brasilia, under the umbrellas of Hong Kong, or on the streets of Minneapolis: social and political movements of recent years have often been characterised by their search for alternative forms of gathering, of arguing and making decisions, of negotiating community and society. The potential of these assemblies lies in more than just the demands they put forward; many of them change reality merely by practicing radical models of democracy.

The arts have also shown a renewed interest in concepts of gathering and creating public spheres in which society is not only mirrored but constantly tried out, performed, tested, reimagined, or even reinvented: Court hearings on artistic freedom, religion, and censorship; tribunals on exploitation and violence; summits on climate change or cultural policy; parliaments allowing those who are usually silenced to speak… Theatre in particular has become a stage for assemblies on the fine line between art and reality, a democratic arena of radical imagination.

But what is the future this concept of gathering has ahead of it after months in a state of emergency that has thrown pretty much all areas of social life out of step? Gesellschaftsspiele: The Art of Assembly brings together protagonists from various fields of art, politics and theory to speculate on the potential of assembly in a time of experiencing that nothing is certain – a time in which every form of physical togetherness has become precarious.

“The Art of Assembly” is based on:
Florian Malzacher. The Art of Assembly. Polical Theatre Today.
Berlin: Alexander Verlag, 2020/23.