A Conversation with Luke George and Daniel Kok
Luke George is a dancer and choreographer from Tasmania, Australia and Daniel Kok is a performing artist and artistic director, born in Malaysia but raised in Singapore. At SPRING Festival in Utrecht 2019 they performed their work Bunny. This conversation with Luke George and Daniel Kok and students of Utrecht University took place within the context of this festival and discusses the performance Bunny, its creative process, and consequent matters as queering and consent.
Interview Luke George and Daniel Kok Dramaturgy Database
A CONVERSATION WITH LUKE GEORGE AND DANIEL KOK
On the performance Bunny, dramaturgy, queering and consent
Luke George is a dancer and choreographer from Tasmania, Australia. He has worked and lived the majority of his live in Melbourne where he has studied at The Victorian College of the Arts. After his studies, George started working as a dancer in socially engaged pieces, a theme that continues in his own work. For ten years, all of his choreographed work has a social aspect. He always works and performs in collaboration with other artists. In his work, he likes to play with boundaries: both thematic as within the audience and performer, of which Bunny is a great example.
Daniel Kok is a performing artist and artistic director, born in Malaysia but raised in Singapore. Kok studied Fine Art & Critical Theory at the Goldsmiths College in London through a government scholarship from Singapore. Due to this scholarship, it was mandatory for him to work as an art teacher in Singapore for eight years, a job he did not aspire. In the UK, he realised he wanted to work as an artist in the dance world by introducing dance to the visual art context. In Singapore, Kok started teaching and making his own choreographic work. In addition, he immersed himself in the world of pole dancing, which has since become the foundation for his work. The relationship between performer and audience within pole dancing inspired him in other works, as well as cheerleading. After a masters degree at the Solo-Dance-Authorship programme at the Inter-University Centre for Dance in Berlin and a post-master Advanced Performance and Scenography Studies in Brussels, Kok started working internationally as an independent artist.
A On Bunny
How would you describe BUNNY yourself? What would you say is the essence of the performance/show/experience?
Luke: We have been performing this work for about three years now. This morning, we were reflecting on how we’re performing it now and how the key words being used around it, by us and also the people who watch it and experience it, if they’re the same that we set out to make or to do. And I think there were themes set from the start, but its key themes have kind of risen, come more to the foreground in that time. So, what I would have said three years ago is very different to what I would say now, because it has changed for us as well, it has changed us too as people.
What are these key words?
Luke: The key words are about consent, communication and trust. Someone said ‘respect’ the other night, this is a huge word for me at the moment. How can we create an environment or a temporary situation through trust, communication, respect and through responsibility? And taking responsibility for ourselves or for each other. We can create a type of container for safety that we can take quite a big risk together. This is currently a key part of where the artist isn’t enforcing something onto a group of people or demanding how it is to be watched. It is about how we listen to each other and go somewhere together. This is key. This is huge for me at the moment in this work, but also in other works that I’m working on as well.
Daniel: I just want to add that it was a learning curve for us, we didn’t set out to make the work about trust or consent and so on. It was something that we learned along the way. For me, it still is about thinking about the audience as not a uniformed body. To me that is really important. Because through the performance, individual spectators do not only have their own experience but also appreciate other people’s experiences as well, and that it is not necessarily the same. Eventually maybe, we come away from the performance not necessarily being so concerned about it as ‘good’ or ‘bad’. But also that it was perhaps good for me and bad for you. The differences between our experiences is something worth thinking about. I feel that that is a political exercise for today where it is really hard to get each other, to see points of view beyond our own. For me as an artist, it is really important to try and get at those experiences where, by being together, to think about other points of view as well. That involves a little bit of risk on our side as well, because we hope that we can cope with the possibility that some people absolutely hated our performance, but can still come away thinking that it was still a valuable experience.
Is this also why you explicitly invite people to stay after the performance, to reflect together?
Daniel: Yes. Actually, the idea also comes partly from S&M culture too. We realised that actually there is a strong underlying element of care in S&M, and that if somebody wants to be hit or wants to be humiliated of whatever it is, it stays at the realm of role play. At the end of it, one doesn’t simply turn things off and say: “now everybody go home”. There is that moment where you would be given a blanket, you share tea, you take care of each other afterwards because of the experience that you’ve had together. I’m trying to take a page from that book thinking it might be necessary to do that in our own performance.
Obviously, every audience is different, so that would probably make every experience different. But are there moments where you had an audience that was very reluctant or audiences that were very into it?
Luke: Yes. We have been travelling the work to different places and we notice this a lot. A good example, in terms of holding back… not quite in the sense of resistance, it’s something more subtle than resistance… not an active resistance but what feels cultural… not necessarily of the place that we’re in but of the culture of this room right now. What the temperature, the feeling in the room is, how people inhabit their bodies and also how people share a space through their bodies. People respond to the same cues differently in different places. A good example would be our opening night here two nights ago compared to the performance that we did in Bruges in Belgium last December. We perceived a sense of forwardness of two nights ago. As soon as an invitation was made to do something: to give Daniel a spin, to press play for the music or to touch something or hold something or tie something or be tied, there wasn’t a lot of hesitation. You could feel it in the room. If it wasn’t this person, it would be this person. There is a lot of initiative and activity. In Bruges, I wouldn’t say it was resistance, but it was a more introspective space, there was a lot of thinking before anything would happen. I think this is not resistance, but a different behaviour or ‘temperature’.
Daniel: …Circumspection, which I think is very valuable because straight up participation, like “Okay, let’s interact!”, doesn’t quite work. There should remain some kind of distance. In those moments, you can feel that when somebody participates, it is after some internal thought process and with some consideration. That is usually wonderful for the performance.
Luke: There is this really wonderful moment two nights ago where the person that Daniel handed the whip to, first sat there like checking herself: “do I want to do this? No… yes… no…”, and having this little moment of processing, which was possibly visible to a lot of people in the room. And these incredible moments make a kind of tensions visible, either internal tensions or relational tensions.
Yes, I think she even said: “I don’t know if I’d like to.”
Daniel: And I’m glad she didn’t because if she did then it would feel like, oh everything here is about being coerced, that we are all having to reluctantly agree. But she handed the flogger (multi-ended whip) to her partner, who later told me that he was like “Yeah I can do this”, and then the moment he stood up, he realised that he was being watched by everybody. Then he looked kind of scared and insecure.
Daniel: It was really interesting. He also was dealing with a lot of things, like thinking, “am I okay with this and do I want people to see me being okay with this?” I felt that those moments are really precious.
How do you define dramaturgy personally?
Luke: He (Daniel) is my dramaturg on my recent work as well. We worked with a dramaturg on this as well.
Daniel: I’m starting to have a different relationship with dramaturgy now. I am interested in not so much the dramaturgy of the work, but the dramaturgy of the audience’s experience, which I find harder to get to. How do you choreograph the audience’s experience on the outset? I am really interested in that. Because when we are making work, we are usually speculating about how what we are doing and might give rise to meaning. Usually the dramaturgical eye is the person who sits outside and goes like “this is giving me this and this”. And then you try to make meaning over time. But when it’s with a work like Public Actions, a work that Luke’s just finished, or another, a five-hour durational performance that I made last year, or Bunny, there is a certain kind of attention needed for where the audience is, individually and collectively. But there is no science to it, and I find that really fascinating. A way of thinking of dramaturgy that is beyond what is representational but what is relational, is something I am really interested in right now.
Luke: I think that in all the pieces that I make, the function of dramaturgy or always engaging with dramaturgy throughout the process is essential. But it’s also about being particular. I find it really hard to find a dramaturg to work with, that I feel “this is the right person to work with on this project” because it has to be so particular to the type of work that is being made. The dramaturg we worked with for Bunny already had a close relationship with Daniel and his work, so there was a lot of context there. And then in the recent work that I made, Daniel was the dramaturg and it just felt very natural, and very much like a clear way to work, because we have this contextual framework for how we’re both in the doing. We share backgrounds and experiences both as spectators or audience, and as a performer or a maker. But if you work with someone who deals more with dance as a thing to watch on stage, I don’t know if and how we would have the same framework to be talking from. For me this term, ‘contextual framework’ keeps coming up again and again. What is the contextual framework for how people meet the artist in this piece? In the moment of conceiving a piece, and all the way to seeing the word Bunny on this promotional material here (points to the SPRING Festival poster on the wall), there is dramaturgy in these as well. To all the way through to the show is finished, then what happens? Do people just walk out and leave the theatre? What is this moment of applause and why are we applauding? Or what happens after the applause? What is the dramaturgy of something that we can’t control, which is how people interact? Beyond the representation of: this movement references this or has this lineage of this… that’s just one part of a multi-faceted situation.
So what would you say was the role of the dramaturg of Bunny?
Daniel: Actually in this case, given of what we just said, that the dramaturg wasn’t involved in the way I’ve just described it. At that time we were working with a dramaturg in a more conventional sense, but I think that in this case what eventually I would say really supported the dramaturgy was us, our conversation. Right from the start when we decided to work together, there was a question of: why do we need two people? I’ve done a few solo works and if I can do this alone as a pole dancer or cheerleader I don’t need you (reference to George). And vice versa. So what do we do when there are two people? And that is part of the reason we decided to work with rope; because in bondage, there is always a person tying, and another being tied. How the rope creates, makes visible, materialises a relationship. I think it’s from this basis that everything is built up in this work. Like: How do I tie you? How do you feel? What happens when somebody else sees it? And now, you tie somebody up and I watch. Then from two to become three, we have more and more people in the room…that’s how we gradually get to the making of a performance, being aware all the time that the performance makes no sense until there are other people around. The rehearsals between us can only go so far. The dramaturgical process constantly relies on the participation of people. We have had to host people in the studio and say “we just want to practice with you”. And then after a practice, we have a chat. So actually, right till the end the performance, the work was always made with that conversational aspect.
Luke: In some ways we have been very fortunate in that we are both individual makers, we have our individual practices. We’ve both been in this kind of dramaturgical role for other makers as well too. We talked for quite a while about two intersecting solos or two solos that weave around each other. And perhaps this happened because how we were switching from being maker to audience to observer to performer to even maybe something more dramaturgical.
Daniel: Can I add to that? Because it’s great to be reminded of this: I remember, often times when you work with somebody and you go into a process, you go “Let’s do this together”, but it might well be me saying “let’s do this together” but actually he is not as into the idea. We were only doing something because it‘s more me who wanted to do it. So when we accepted it is actually fine that in a collaboration, we facilitate each other’s desires and interests, and then gradually parcel out the roles. I think that’s how we ended up with these two intersecting pathways. I’ve never worked like that before and I really enjoyed that. I think this way of working has to do with dramaturgy too, in the sense that as a solo artist, I feel like my line of inquiry is sustained by my collaborator. But not everything has to be fused into one right from the very beginning. In this way, there is always somebody attending to my questions. We do that for each other and that allows the materials to freeform.
There’s also questions that we had about the choices that were made about the use of space. What where the considerations you made in choosing to use this set up of the other way around?
Luke: We took it through a few different stages of seating and viewpoints when people were in seats, on the carpet or on cushions or further away. Some people were close, some were far away. We tried different things for a while. The key thing is that we felt that it needed to be comfortable, it needed to feel playful. Almost like a little kids’ play space, for example in the colours. To talk a little bit more about the scenography and where it comes from: we were first looking at bondage performances in a traditional sense and noticed how it was always like in a dungeon with dark lighting, and very moody with heavy music playing. Or it was a strong and heavy atmosphere with a lot of black, and a lot of leather, and a lot of red; which is very sexy, but this already exists as a type of performance that happens in a certain context and has certain expectations that come along with it. We were very clear that we were not setting out to making another bondage performance, not to reduce that and all. We wanted to work in a theatre context. It became about flipping these aesthetics and we began to look at bright colours. We collected lots of brightly coloured rope everywhere we went. Whenever we had a residency, we would go rope shopping to see what rope we could find in Norway, New York, Japan and Singapore… all these different textures and types of ropes. It was very fun and we felt it became like handicraft. We were very aware of this and were playing with this. It had this playfulness, which we took as an aesthetic experience as well. And going with a turquoise carpet… the carpet was very soft. We like soft things and we started to work with cushions and tying cushions and tying some things. The tying of the objects was there from the beginning as well. We were tying bodies but tying an object came because we never know when we would have a body available to us or not. We had to practice and were like “okay, there is a vacuum cleaner. We are just going to tie that”. Then Daniel spent some time on a residency and kept sending me these photos of him tying up all these objects and things. We realised that this is a thing. An object can be given subjectivity and imbued its beauty, brought forth through the rope, or given life, or given energy through the rope. And we thought “Oh, this is interesting”. Then at the same time, we were also looking at how the body could become an object through the rope as well, so this kind of back and forth identities between these things.
Do you think that it was maybe also the shift in the aesthetic from the very dark and leathery to more bright to take out some of that sexual connotation to make the piece a bit more accessible?
Daniel: Possibly, but like I said to a couple of you last night when we were chatting. We were also definitely thinking that we’re two gay guys doing this show. If we make it very camp like that it actually feels very natural to us. But it should be clear that it’s not just about our own desire in a way – because we have to feel like we want to do it too – but how do we take it to a place where it’s equally comfortable when there is a woman, an older person, a younger person. Because of all the questions about difference that I mentioned earlier, it must be clear that different people can come together in such a space, and that there is a sense of play and openness to it. I want to add that after we tied up some objects, I wanted to find out what it might mean to spend time looking at something like you would in a gallery. When you’re looking at an object, it takes time. Usually in a performance, looking at an object in that way doesn’t happen.
No its just there.
Daniel: Yeah, so I was curious about how, especially in the beginning, when the audience sits down, we must give time for people to settle down, but also for things to appear to them. So that when one is looking at the objects, when there’s nothing else to look at, one looks at the plant and realises that there is a certain knot there and so forth… there’s time for looking at the objects performing as themselves.
Luke: It was clear from very early on that this needed to be seen from 360 degrees. We toyed with the idea that people could be positioned anywhere, but it became clear that we needed a dualization of the play space; if you’re on the carpet you’re in. There’s this clear stepping on the carpet like a signal. It’s became really important, as we discovered, that people were not far away, but brought quite close together and close to the carpet. There remain options for different seating; you could sit on a cushion, quiet close to the carpet or you could sit on the edge of a chair or you could sit on a chair even further away… when you come in the space, you have a choice. Even in making that choice within a short moment, you’re signalling something to the room already, or to us, or to each other how you have chosen to place yourself in relation to the performance.
How would you call your own dramaturgical practice? For example, would you call it dance, open space or movement dramaturgy? We also read in the Knot Notes about the concept of queering. Is this also part of your dramaturgical practice?
How would you say you could ‘queer’ dramaturgical practice?
Daniel: That’s something I would need some time to think about. I think it’s a great question. But you started asking about dance?
We started by asking: how would you call your dramaturgical practice? Like, dance, open space, movement. How would you define it?
Daniel: I don’t know if there is a need for a definition, to be honest. I just know that – because we started by talking about our respective histories – I’m now grateful that I didn’t study dance. Because when I think about performance, it’s easier to just accept that there are a lot of different potentialities, and that you can make a cup perform, or you could do a big dance. These are all available materialities and performativities that stand ready for you to assemble. I would think that a glass is as interesting to look at as somebody doing a wonderful pirouette. They are to me, at the same level of potential. Maybe this perspective approaches something related to ‘queering’ because of certain levelling. Through this open way of thinking about what a material is, one could potentially find different ways of looking at something. I think that when we talked about queering of rope in our practice… maybe this is what we were thinking about from in the beginning… where there is a switching, where we now can look at an object and think of it as subject. Also a person is an object. Then, a person who is participating is also watching himself… the performer does something, but actually it’s the audience we’re all looking at… All this flipping in and out might be part of this queering. That’s the best I can think of right now. Thank you for that question. Luke, do you want to add something?
Luke: No, it’s a really good question. It’s something to take away from this actually. But I don’t have much to say because I don’t think I would be able to say anything very interesting on it. When we were talking about queering of something, what does that mean? It’s a very strange term and it’s not about making something visually camp. It’s actually what is happening in the relational space. We talked about queering of space, but also about queering of time – queer time – very early on in the process. So much so that I almost can’t remember the conversation now. But I feel, listening to what Daniel was saying, it’s not just that this takes a long time, or that we need to take two hours. It’s about: how much time or how much space does something need in order for its potentiality to appear, and for the potential of relationships to appear? Beyond the immediate assumptions of what we already know through dancing, or what we already know through theatre, how much time do we need to spend for new possibilities to appear, and to go with those possibilities.
The one concept that always comes up, when we were discussing the performance, but also performance in general, and other performances that we have seen throughout the festival, has been the concept of consent and what consent means. We thought that this was also very central to your show, but also maybe to your practice. How do you think that this concept of consent fits into what a dramaturgy can be? How it can fit into theatrical practices?
Luke: It has come up a lot right now, right? This is a big conversation to be having. It’s interesting that for the first time we are in a programme that the Boris Charmatz piece is also in. A little while ago, there was this very ‘hot’ article that went around. It was very widely distributed, about that piece and about audience consent in terms of interaction with performance. Of course, we were sent this piece, people were saying “you should read this!”
Have you seen the performance?
Luke: Yeah, we saw it. Actually, it only occurred to me just then that we are in the same programme for the first time. I think the ways that the pieces are dealing with the consent are very, very different.
Daniel: Are you going to start criticizing Boris Charmatz?
Luke: No, no, not at all! Yeah, there is a different paradigm, there are different questions being asked, or space being shaped to consider consent, I think. Actually, it’s funny; when this happened with this piece (performers going into audience) I was just like “Yes!”. I spent that moment thinking about that article. I really enjoyed reading that article, it made me think about so many things, particularly the piece Public Actions that we just worked on. We are in and with the audience a lot, in the seating area a lot… and bodies are everywhere… and consent came up a lot as well. So that article, I’m so grateful for it.
What was the article?
Daniel: It was in the New York Times. It was the New York Times review of 10000 gestures. I find it a tricky one, because of the current moment. Because a few years ago, I was very interested in the word acquiescence. I don’t know if you know the word. I think it means; for someone to acquiesce, it means that they reluctantly agree to something. I find that quality, when we think about negotiation, or in a performance with tension, that quality is always necessary. So I actively look for those moments. I even think how potentially a work that I’m interested in would have a moment where, as an individual spectator, you’re made to confront something and you just go “all right then” (with some resignation). You know? But then that come up as a problem over the last few years, especially with the discourse about the abuse of women in particular. As a man, I don’t identify with that problem, or I don’t understand it as well as perhaps women who have said “so many times we have been made to reluctantly agree, to say ‘yes’ to something that we actually want to say ‘no’ to. But we say ‘yes’ because of all kinds of reasons”. That becomes something that we all have to be quite watchful for together, right now. I don’t know what to do with that right now, to be absolutely honest. I feel like a sudden level of risk is still needed, because we also don’t want to end up as a generation of ‘super softies’… like you can’t deal with risk and tensions… where everything is like: “No, I call that out! You don’t have my consent!”… and we become super sensitive about everything. How do we negotiate that, is a really big issue right now.
Luke: I think it’s about bringing the conversation of consent into the foreground. And the practice of “what does it mean to practice consent”.
I think your performance is a great practice for that question. In a really comfortable and artistic space, a creative space with an audience form a very mixed background. So, it’s a great space to pose that question.
Luke: Something that really came up with this piece, about a year into performing it. We encountered a moment when… I think it was a few months after the moment of #metoo… Maybe two or three months after that… Particularly in the media and on social media, the conversation was in real height.. and it was also in the foreground of a lot of people’s minds too… We did our performance in Melbourne. There was a number of things that happened in this particular season where it felt like we had to lean into that conversation, be part of it and listen to it, contribute to it and understand things a lot more. Particularly, what I hadn’t quite brought it into this performance yet was: If you say ‘yes’ to something, and then something changes, and you change your mind, or you want to stop, or something is changed for you.. and I have experienced this actually, if we’re are talking about sex in particular, where something has changed… It’s hard to say what that is, but you are not enjoying yourself any more, or something about the dynamic is not good anymore, or you feel like you’re not being listened to and you want to say ‘stop’. But you don’t and you keep on going… Oh god, I’m speaking from such a personal experience… And… why don’t you? Because of all these reasons we are talking about. This was a big thing to remember and to hear other people talk about. Not necessarily about this performance directly but in the bigger conversation and then to come back to this performance and go “aha, the same problem could be happening in this performance”. So how do we engage in the conversation around that?
I noticed you would go back to the people lying on the floor being tied up and you would ask them “Are you okay? Do you want to stop?” Is that something you do because of this issue?
Luke: Yes. The checking in is really important. Particularly because, when I’m working with someone… like I would tie someone… I would leave them and go and work with someone else. Because of that, my attention isn’t on them all the time, it’s really important that I check in with them.
Daniel: And to be seen by everybody doing that.
Luke: Yes. Because another thing that we really learned from this moment in Melbourne that I was talking about, was: we were so focused on the people we were tying, caring for them, building that relationship and having communication directly with them. This is a semi-private conversation. It’s not a performed out loud in public “Are you okay?!”, “Is this okay?!” There is an intimacy to that. But if someone from across the room didn’t witness that or feel that consent being given, or if they couldn’t feel the person genuinely saying “yes I want this”… a whole bunch of other things started happening for the people observing who couldn’t feel that connection. That was something we really had to address. The consent from the room.
It’s funny that you mention 10.000 Gestures, because in the aftertalk there was a question being posed to Boris Charmatz: Must the audience respect the performer or the other way around? And one of the performers was there as well and he said: “There is no time to think about respect. We are just doing it in the moment. So, when in the moment we feel like going up to the audience, the movement, the gesture already happened once we start thinking about it so there is no time to think about is this okay for the person in the audience. It’s not a “they (reference to the audience) should give us the space” but more a “there is just no time to think about it”” so it’s really not a notion for them. With you obviously it’s different. How do you reflect on that? Having seen this performance, do you think that it’s also a good approach to the concept of respect?
Luke: I don’t have a judgment on it. I think they are really different pieces and they are different conversations. I personally am quite thrilled about that performance. But I fully recognize that my experience is only that: my experience. In Bunny, we get asked this a lot, whether we adapt to the piece or if it can change. Or if it changes night to night because of the people, or what happens if someone says ’no’. And these are all really important questions to recognize. We have developed a map for how this will go for a number of reasons, practically, dramaturgically, choreographically. But everything, all the interactions, every single interaction, everything that is happening in the room, is about listening to what is happening in the room and leaning into that.
Daniel: I also feel, when watching 10.000 Gestures, I didn’t personally have a problem with it, but I guess what confounds me, and I find what makes performance still very fascinating for me, is this tendency for us to conflict the real with the space of play. For me, when I come into the theatre, I have signed a contract. I’m open to stuff happening. And if somebody plays Adolf Hitler on stage, and he plays a really good Adolf Hitler, he is not evil. Because it’s not real. But in that moment (the moment in 10.000 Gestures when the dancers walk into the audience), when the fourth wall is ruptured and the performers spill out, why do we feel offended by the choreographer? It’s as though that he is practicing bad ethics. To me this is a very interesting question and it is worthwhile to try and remember that this is not necessarily real. This is a situation that comes up and it is juicy. And that is fine for me. But I have to accept both as a fellow spectator and art maker that not everybody sees things that way. So personally, I don’t have a problem with it. And I realize, first reading the review and then seeing the piece, I didn’t agree with the review, personally. I actually like this phrase that Luke uses a lot, which is about cultivating a community of risk. It’s not about making the performance space really safe and respectful, but it’s actually a space where we come together with an understanding that now we are going to go somewhere and take some risk together. It’s a way to practice politics in the real world. I would go so far in saying that. If we don’t allow ourselves to do that and go somewhere, then we will only be performing ‘watching’. So, what do we want? I feel like we need to allow ourselves to, when it comes to theatre, to be able to take some risk together.
We have one final aspect that we wanted to ask you about which is about education and education about theatre and performance, we are all in university, at least we’re all learning. What do you think is something important that you should be discuss in theatrical or performance education? We phrased it as what should a theatre or dance expert really know or be aware of? It’s a very large question.
Daniel: I do happen to have an opinion about this. What is open education is really important and more importantly how to facilitate that open education in a sense that if we can take away the need for a shared foundation and then get away from this divergent model where everyone starts from the same place and then say, now that you have mastered it, go and find your own paths. But by then, the route is the same. What if we think more in a much more natural, open, rhizomatic even, kind of way. What kind of education would that be? And how would that reflect back on the institution, which is by nature a stable thing – a building. It is fixed, it has history, it has tradition, it has a curriculum, it has learning outcomes. When you’re designing an institution, I think there is always is going to be a conflict from the outset, with the fact that you’re trying to create a creative space. So resolving this conundrum may not be possible, because how do you start a performance program where you are told that you could come in to do whatever you want – if you want to collect seashells, it’s okay, you want to dance ballet, that’s cool too? How you facilitate that open learning process is really really difficult. And I think in the art school that I went to, they tried that. It was successful to a large extent, but it also has its weakness, because it end, many of us end up talking in a café, not knowing how to work. It’s like I could do whatever I want but what do I do? After three months, somebody will walk into their presentations, the crit sessions, then when hold up a thick book and talk about it for half an hour. It can be incredibly boring as well, because… where’s the work? I find that in performance school, I don’t know about you, but I suspect that that part is not resolved and that is the big challenge.
Maybe about some de-institutionalization of the institution?
Daniel: Yeah but that’s easier said than done right? It’s almost like a utopic fantasy. But how do you do that? Because when you actually run a program and you have to write a curriculum, and you have to do accreditation as well. If somebody bakes a cake and somebody fly across the space, how do you access them in the same way? I don’t think anybody has an answer to that, but it does mean that everybody in the program, including the students, all have to understand that there is that tension that has to be talked about and not get upset with, because it’s not easy to resolve.
Luke George and Daniel Kok in conversation with students in the BA course Dramaturgy & Scenography at Utrecht University. Utrecht, May 24, 2019.
Irene van den Bosch
Loes van der Pas
Lisanne de Zee