Category Archives: Presentations

“Rethinking Theater and Technology” [11.11.]- Presentation at the conference Diffractive World-Making (Bloomington)

Diffractive World-Making: Theatre & Science Beyond the Capitalocene

Indiana University Bloomington, Cook Center

November 10-12, 2022

Conference Organizers: Teresa Kovacs & Kevin Rittberger

Diffractive World-Making: Theatre & Science Beyond the Capitalocene starts from the smallest possible constellation: one playwright, one philosopher. Berlin-based playwright Kevin Rittberger meets feminist and philosopher of science Karen Barad. On the basis of Barad’s book Meeting the Universe Halfway: Quantum Physics and the Entanglement of Matter and Meaning and subsequent works, Rittberger explores the potential of a ‘diffractive theatre’ for our technoscientific age. At the same time, Barad explores our ‘troubled time/s’ and offers a queer, postcolonial critique that gives the impulse for our discussions on aesthetics and ethics. The initial encounter provides an opening through which to engage with concepts like response-ability and multi-species aesthetics, as well as with issues like colonialism, shrinking population, reproductive justice, and a critical theory for a damaged planet.

The conference itself takes up Barad’s method of diffraction and expands to an exceptional international cast of leading critics, artists, and theorists that think-with and nearby Barad and Rittberger, including McKenzie Wark, Rebecca Schneider, Tavia Nyong’o, Karin Harrasser, Ulf Otto, Bini Adamczak, Alison Calhoun, Penda Diouf, Luiza Prado, and Tzveta Kassabova.

Aim is not just to shed light on the entanglement of the sciences and aesthetics, but to demonstrate how productive it can be to read them through each other. In so doing, we can investigate their potential to radically rework established Western concepts and categories of causality, time, and space, and contribute to rethinking the troubled times in which we live.

Conference Program


Cook Center, IU Bloomington


Introduction by the conference organizers Teresa Kovacs and Kevin Rittberger

Entangled Lecture

Karen Barad:

Troubling Time/s. Undoing the Future.

Kevin Rittberger:

breaking through the fourth, fifth, sixth wall…? on diffractive theatre



Cook Center, IU Bloomington



Rebecca Schneider:

Gesture, Redaction, Diffraction, and Flight: Arts of the Interstice


Alison Calhoun and Ulf Otto:

Rethinking Theater and Technology: Early, Late and Never Have Been Moderns


Talk (via zoom)

Bini Adamczak:

Fractional Relationality


Tavia Nyong’o:

Relationality? No Thanks! On Black Performance and its Critical Refusal



Penda Diouf:

colonial stories: from France to Namibia. Read by Eboni Edwards


McKenzie Wark:

Dysphoric Planet


FAR Arts Center


Tzveta Kassabova:

Prometheus. Beginnings. Based on plays by Kevin Rittberger


Cook Center, IU Bloomington



Karin Harrasser:

Violence and the Care for Images: Doing History with Strangers


Art and Agency: On Mind, Matter, and Media

with Karen Barad, Karin Harrasser, Tavia Nyong’o, McKenzie Wark moderated by Rebekah Sheldon


Reading and Workshop:

Penda Diouf, Kevin Rittberger:

„Blackout White Noise.“ On ‘ethico-onto-epistem-ological’ writing


Luiza Prado:




Luiza Prado:

The Sermon of the Weeds

This conference is supported by the following Indiana University’s departments and programs: Germanic Studies, Presidential Arts and Humanities Program, The Office of the Vice President for International Affairs, the Cultural Studies Program, Art History, French and Italian, Theatre & Dance, Comparative Literature, Cinema and Media Studies

This conference is held in person. However, we are happy to share a zoom link with those who cannot travel to Bloomington but would still like to attend the conference. To receive a link and for any other information regarding the conference, please contact Teresa Kovacs (

“Aesthetic dimensions of (post-)digital interaction spaces” [30.8.] – panel at the conference Conspiracy, Fake and Certainties at ZHdK

Conspiracy, Fake, and Certainties. Questions about the contribution of the arts and their theories in times of social change.

Annual Conference of the PhD Program “Epistemologies of Aesthetic Practices,” Fri, Oct 28 – Sun, Oct 30, 2022

Panel 5: Aesthetic Dimensions of (Post-)Digital Spaces of Interaction

Media Studies Perspectives, Sun. Oct. 30, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. 

Social networks and smartphone applications manage to capture the attention of users through their interactive design and the constant availability of new content. The digital content presented to users depends heavily on the sometimes opaque algorithms of the digital platforms and also on the personal data stored by the applications. In addition to the algorithmic components, the aesthetic dimension also seems to play a decisive role in the area of communication and interaction in digital spaces. How is aesthetic sensibility controlled by digital content and what interdependencies open up in the power structure between data-driven algorithmicity and (post-)digital interaction?

Ulf Otto, Sabine Himmelsbach, Anna Lisa Martin-Niedecken

“Art and/as Intervention” [29.9.] – Lecture and Discussion at the Annual Conference of the Society for Theater Studies

Matters of Urgency

15th Congress of the Society for Theatre Studies

Art and/or Intervention

Forum, September 30, 2022 Seminar Center Room L113 Moderation: Doris Kolesch & Matthias Warstat

Questions about the role and relevance of theater and the performative arts are often formulated as claims for social effectiveness: Performances should – in the self-image of many theater creators and performers as well as in the judgment of numerous researchers – change social processes, position themselves in political conflict situations or intervene in them and address publics or (co-)produce them in the first place. The term intervention is often used to describe this relationship between (theatrical or performative) art and society. The panel wants to explore the potential and the range of the concept of intervention for theater/performance and theater studies. In doing so, the following current research projects and publications will be presented and enter into conversation with each other:

  • Silke Felber: “Intervening (with) Smells” (research project).
  • Doris Kolesch: “Akustische Störungen. Postkoloniale und queere Potentiale sonischer Interventionen” (Acoustic Disruptions. Postcolonial and queer potentials of sonic interventions) (research project in the Sfb “Intervenierende Künste”)
  • Ulf Otto / Johanna Zorn: “Ästhetiken der Intervention: Ein- und Übergriffe im Regime des Theaters” (Aesthetics of Intervention: Interventions and Encroachments in the Regime of Theater) (book publication Berlin: Theater der Zeit 2022)
  • Matthias Warstat: “Teilhabe und Dissoziation: Spannungen politischen Theaters im 20. Jahrhundert und in der Gegenwart” (Participation and Dissociation: Tensions of Political Theater in the 20th Century and in the Present) (research project in the Sfb “Intervenierende Künste”)

“Evidence of Repetition. Reenactments as a Scientific Method” [20.9.] – Lecture at the Research Institute for Music Theater in Thurnau.

Symposium “Wagnertheater! Historically informed?

20. bis 22. September 2022

Zeichnung zum Bühnenbild von Wagners Oper SiegfriedWhile historically informed performance practice is now widely accepted in early music and beyond, the idea of scientifically informed interpretation hardly plays a role in theater. The medium is too ephemeral by design, too time-specific, and too difficult to reconstruct. The audience of today would receive a (in practice impossible) historically accurate performance differently than the audience of the first performance. The parameters of the bodily co-presence of performers and spectators and the continuous feedback loop associated with it would thus be constituted fundamentally differently.
Nevertheless, the inclusion of historical speech, facial expressions and gestures in the concert performance of Rheingold by Concerto Köln under the musical direction of Kent Nagano in November 2021 was judged very positively by performers, visitors and the specialist press. In the next step, the Research Institute for Music Theater (fimt) of the University of Bayreuth, in cooperation with Concerto Köln and Kent Nagano, will ask itself within the framework of the DFG knowledge transfer project “Wagnergesang im 21. Jahrhundert – histo-risch informiert?” whether the questions of historically informed performance practice could also be applied to a fully staged production. This question will be explored at the conference Wagnerthea-ter! Historically Informed? conference will explore this question. In three sections (re-enactments as a method of theater and theater studies, historical performance, decla-mation and singing practice, historical equipment) experts from science and practice will discuss the potentials and limits of such an experiment.
Interested parties are welcome to attend the conference. Admission is free of charge.

The program and further information can be found in the

Translated with (free version)

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