Time and Space to Create (and to Be Human)

October 18-19.2018

Initiator: ARIA

Triggered by the performance ATELIER—a coproduction of theatre companies Stan, Maatschappij Discordia, and Co. de KOE—ARIA is organising a research seminar with lectures and debates about institutional logics in the arts. Are existing models of presentation and organisation still in sync with current artistic practices and creative modes? Every cultural policy, whether based on the logic of the state/welfare state or the market, generates its own formats and systems of funding. This makes certain cultural realisations possible, but also smothers others.

From the start, ATELIER was a coproduction because it refused to conform to traditional theatre company structures and distribution logics. This creation needed a different timespan and a different use of both rehearsal and presentation space. But it is not only in the world of theatre that certain artistic realisations are favoured above others; the same goes for the visual arts, music and dance. Cultural production and distribution logics—often established in a top-down fashion (through regulation)—impose formats on art that make artistic autonomy, freedom and certainly ‘out of the box’ thinking very relative concepts. The artist’s studio supposedly represents absolute freedom, a space where artists can still do whatever they want. But is this really the case? Isn’t this ‘time-space’ also being increasingly reigned in? Can a painter still stare at an empty canvas for who knows how long? Can actors still try things out unapologetically? Do artists still find the time to arrive at a well thought-out artistic gesture in ‘slo-mo’? And also: do artists still have time to wrestle with themselves and the world, in their studios? Do they still have space to laugh at and make fools of themselves?

ATELIER—both the performance and the ‘real’ artist studio—unites these extremes: fun, tinkering, ‘embarrassing yourself in your inner circle’, ‘slo-mo’, drive, reflection, hyper concentration, reflection and love are alternated with ego, the urge to manifest oneself and grotesque self-overrating. It’s all allowed there, in the studio. There, artists can still muck about. However, the question is whether we are still allowed this space. What about the artist and, indeed, the human who is less and less allowed to tinker with work, thought, love and life? Can they still be truly creative? Can people still be themselves, can a human still be a human? ATELIER opens a window to a world that may be on the verge of being lost forever. In doing so, this production also draws attention to the studio as an ‘institute’. What values and norms does this free space represent and defend in a time of co-creation, creative hubs, regulated breading grounds and formatted workplaces?

ATELIER is being performed in the context of 'Antwerpen Barok 2018'

(© Jorn Heijdenrijk)

During this ARIA seminar both the qualities and mystification of the artist studio are weighed against those of the prefabricated creative hubs of hipsters, the creative industry and creative cities.

On the first day, we will reflect on the time and space to create from the perspective of cultural theory and cultural policy. Philosophers, sociologists and psychologists will give lectures and debate with policymakers, curators, programme directors, critics, mediators and artists (including the actors/makers of ATELIER).

The second day will focus on ATELIER, its creative process and the institutional conditions needed for it, with reflections from dramaturges and performance researchers and a debate with the actors/makers of ATELIER.


Hanka Otte – hanka.otte@uantwerpen.be
Pascal Gielen – pascal.gielen@uantwerpen

Contributions by

  • Damiaan De Schrijver
  • Matthias de Koning
  • Peter Van den Eede
  • Bojana Kunst
  • Patricia Jozef
  • Jozef Wouters
  • Nienke Jansen
  • David Dramm
  • Jaïr Stranders
  • Bo Tarenskeen
  • Markus Bader 
  • Giuliana Ciancio
  • Josine De Roover
  • Hanka Otte
  • Pascal Gielen


Thursday 18 October

  • 12:30   Welcome and introduction 
  • 13:00   Keynote lecture 'Labour of the Artist, Feminist Practices and Troubles with the Infrastructure' by Bojana Kunst 
  • 14:30   Break
  • 15:00   Debate on alternative ways of organizing time and space in the cultural sector and how to stimulate and support these. With David Dramm, Markus Bader, Giuliana Ciancio, Josine De Roover and Nienke Jansen. Introduced and moderated by Pascal Gielen and Hanka Otte
  • 17:00   Closing of the first day 
  • 17:30   Dinner (not included)
  • 20:00   Performance ‘Atelier' by Stan, De Koe and Maatschappij Discordia
  • 21:40   End of the performance ‘Atelier'

Friday 19 October

  • 11:00   Summary of the first day and introduction to the second day
  • 11:30   'The Use of the Studio’ - lecture by Jozef Wouters
  • 12:45   Break
  • 13:30   Debate* on the value of free space in a time of (numerable) performance drive. With the actors of ‘Atelier': Damiaan De Schrijver, Matthias de Koning, Peter Van den Eede. Moderated by Jaïr Stranders and Bo Tarenskeen. 
  • 15:30   Artistic statement by Patricia Jozef
  • 16:00   Closing of the seminar 

* This debate will be in Dutch (in summary translated to English)

Venue: Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Antwerp

Entrance: free