Confirmed keynote speakers: Mylène Benoit; Maaike Bleeker; Matthew Causey; Peter Eckersall; André Lepecki; Jean Paul Van Bendegem; Kris Verdonck

Biographical info:

Mylene Benoit is a French visual artist and choreographer, trained at the University of Westminster in London (BA in Contemporary media practice), and at the University of Paris 8 (Master in Hyperdocuments multimedia), then at Fresnoy, National Studio of Contemporary Arts of Tourcoing. She founded the dance company Contour Progressif in 2004. Her choreographic works explore the way technology and media affect the reality of the human body. Her works are currently on tour in France, Germany, Belgium and Brazil. She is associated to the theater Vivat (Armentières) from september 2011.

Maaike Bleeker is a Professor and the Chair of Theatre Studies at Utrecht University. She studied Art History, Theatre Studies and Philosophy at the University of Amsterdam where she also completed her PhD on Visuality in the Theatre (2002). Previously, she lectured at the Department of Theatre Studies of the University of Amsterdam, The Piet Zwart Post-Graduate program in Fine Arts (Rotterdam), Media Gn: Centre for Emergent Media (Groningen), The School for New Dance Development (Amsterdam), the post graduate program Arts Performance Theatricality (Antwerp), and in the IPP Performance and Media Studies Summer School of the Johannes Gutenberg Universität, Mainz. Since 1991, she also worked as a dramaturge for various theatre directors, choreographers and visual artists. She performed in several lecture performances, ran her own theatre company (Het Oranjehotel) and translated five plays that were performed by major Dutch theatre companies. She was an Artist in Residence at the Amsterdam School for the Arts (2006-2007) and member of the jury of the Dutch National Theatre Festival TF (2007-2008). Prof. Bleeker is President of Performance Studies international and member of the advisory board of ASAP (the Association for the Study of the Arts of the Present). 

Matthew Causey is Director of the Arts Technology Research Laboratory at Trinity College Dublin, Ireland, where he is Associate Professor of Drama. He is the author of Theatre and Performance of Digital Culture: from simulation to embeddedness (Routledge 2009) and co-editor of Performance, Identity and neo-Political Subject (Routledge 2013) and the forthcoming The Subject in the Space of Technology: from the virtual toward the real (Palgrave 2014).

Peter Eckersall is Professor of Theatre Studies at The Graduate Centre, City University of New York.  His research concentrates on Japanese theatre, dramaturgy and trends in contemporary performance.  Recent publications include We’re People Who Do Shows, Back to Back Theatre: Performance, Politics, Visibility (co-edited with Helena Grehan, Performance Research Books, 2013), Theatre and Performance in the Asia-Pacific: Regional Modernities in the Global Era (co-authored with Denise Varney, Barbara Hatley and Chris Hudson, Palgrave 2013) and Performativity and Event in 1960s Japan: City, Body, Memory (Palgrave 2013). He has also written articles on New Media Dramaturgy and the work of Kris Verdonck.  He was the cofounder of Dramaturgies and is the resident dramaturg for the performance group Not Yet It’s Difficult ( Peter is a long time member of Performance Studies international and currently serves on the board of PSi as Vice-President.

André Lepecki is Associate Professor at the Department of Performance Studies, New York University and Artistic Professor at Stockholm University of the Arts/ UNIARTS. He was chief curator of the festival IN TRANSIT (2008 and 2009), Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin; co-curator of the archive Dance and Visual Arts since 1960s for MOVE, Hayward Gallery (2010). AICA Award for Best Performance for co-curating and directing the authorized re-doing of Allan Kaprow’s 18 Happenings in 6 Parts (commissioned by Haus der Künst and presented also at Performa 07). Editor of Dance (Whitechapel / MIT Press 2012), Planes of Composition: dance, theory and the global (Seagull Books 2009, with Jenn Joy), The Senses in Performance (Routledge 2007, with Sally Banes), Of the Presence of the Body (Wesleyan University Press 2004). His single authored book Exhausting Dance: performance and the politics of movement (2006) is currently translated in 9 languages. 

Jean Paul Van Bendegem is professor at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Free University of Brussels) where he teaches courses in logic and philosophy of science and guest professor at Ghent University. He is director of the Center for Logic and Philosophy of Science and the editor of the journal Logique et Analyse. His research interests are in the philosophy of mathematics, the relations between science and religion and between science and the arts.

Kris Verdonck studied visual arts, architecture and theatre and this training is evident in his work. His creations are positioned in the transit zone between visual arts and theatre, between installation and performance, between dance and architecture. As a theatre maker and visual artist, he can look back over a wide variety of projects.

He directed theatre productions and produced various installations, a.o. 5 (2003), Catching Whales Is Easy (2004), II (2005). The first STILLS, consisting of gigantic projections, were commissioned by La Notte Bianca in Rome. In 2007 he created the theatrical installation I/II/III/IIII, while in 2008 END premièred at the Kunstenfestivaldesarts in Brussels. Verdonck often presents combinations of different installations/performances as VARIATIONS.

VARIATION IV was shown during the Festival d’Avignon in 2008. In 2010 Kris Verdonck finished the ‘circuit performance’ ACTOR #1 which shows three variations on the theme from chaos to order. K, a Society, a circuit of installations inspired by the work of Franz Kafka premiered at Theater der Welt 2010 Germany.

In 2011 Verdonck presented two research projects: TALK sets out to explore language, while EXIT, created with Alix Eynaudi, aims to tackle theatre as a medium. In the same year, his first solo exhibition was held at House for contemporary art Z33 together with a new work: EXOTE. In 2012 Verdonck created M, a reflection: a theatre production with texts by Heiner Müller and actor Johan Leysen and his digital double on stage. H, an incident, a musical theatre performance for big stage, based on the life and work of Daniil Harms, premiered in May 2013 during the Kunstenfestivaldesarts.

In October 2014 UNTITLED, a new solo creation for the Spanish dancer and performer, Marc Iglesias, went into premiere at the Kaaitheater and at the end of the year ISOS, a 3D video-installation, that is based on the world and characters from the apocalyptic science-fiction novels of J.G. Ballard, will be completed. On the occasion of the 20th birthday of the Kunstenfestivaldesarts Kris Verdonck has been invited to create an intervention for the public space during the festival in May 2015.