Thesis Performance, The Hague, 2019
Royal Academy of Art, The Hague
Dimitri van den Wittenboer questions the dominance of the written word in our culture. Instead of producing a regular written thesis, he decided to do his graduation thesis in the form of a two-hour theatrical performance. It took place on 8 April 2019 in the Auditorium of the KABK in the attendance of around 25 people. Midway between a modernist theatre play, a workshop and an art performance, the performance was divided into three parts, in which the theories of three avant-garde theatre makers (Antonin Artaud, Jerzy Grotowsky and Augusto Boal) were presented , discussed and demonstrated. Together with two hired actors, Dimitri managed to raise questions on multiple issues, like the body of the performer, public participation and the political effectiveness of performances. All senses were activated in a total experience, to evoke these questions - seeing, hearing, tasting, touching, smelling. To this end, the auditorium was carefully adjusted. In line with the objective to challenge the dominance of the written word, no audio-visual recordings were made of the performance, nor has the script been made available in a written form. Instead, Dimitri has submitted a list of witnesses and participants in the performance. They can be approached for further information. Their memories document the event. As an example of this mnemonic documentation, Dimitri gave a lesson on 25 April 2019 to the propaedeutic students of the FA department of the KABK, in which he staged the memorising of his performance with his thesis supervisor - the start of an oral narrative.