Building Conversation is a dialogical art platform, based in Amsterdam, initiated by Lotte van den Berg and Daan ’t Sas, led together with Peter Aers. In the performative conversations they guide and perform together with participating audiences all over Europe, the theater itself becomes a public space. In over a 1000 performative conversations they explored the boundaries of what theater is and can be. Relating to the theatrical space as a temporary public space; a place in the midst of people, built with our bodies and words, that makes actions and interactions visible and revalues presence. Everybody present joins and together they evoke the fiction, which in this context does not stand for fantasy, the ‘as if’, but rather stands for a heightened reality, an extra focus on what is, ‘the very present present’. Not in the first place concerned with what takes place on stage, but focussed on the way in which we can create stage together.
Lotte van den Berg studied Law, Theater Studies and Philosophy and graduated at the Theatre Directing Department of the Amsterdam School of the Arts. She is an internationally renowned theater maker who increasingly translates her social commitment into her work. Building Conversation, a platform for dialogical art, which she leeds together with Daan ’t Sas and Peter Aers, is an inevitable result of this. Together with Benjamin Verdonck and Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, she was a member of the artistic team of the Toneelhuis in Antwerp and shortly afterwards led OMSK, an idiosyncratic place in Dordrecht where her work explored the relationship between the community near and far, in the Congolese metropolis. After returning from Kinshasa, her work slowly changed and with it the role she herself took within the creative processes she initiated. The participating audience and its individual and collective creation processes more and more came into focus. Lotte van den Berg uses her artistic talent to create frameworks that make the seemingly insignificant visible. Within the framework of art, she creates temporary public spaces in which our social (in)capacity becomes visible and an interpersonal process is initiated.