Where Should We Begin
No one knows how to do this. Everything is a rehearsal. Life is one big improvisation. With Building Conversation, we celebrate experiment and embrace the exercise. We invite you to join us. Let’s immerse ourselves in the uncertainty, in the as-yet-unknown. A collective freefall, into the future.
For years, with Building Conversation we’ve been exploring how we talk, and how we can talk, with one another. This research has never been more urgent. How do we talk to each other now? And how do social distancing and the lack of physical contact affect the way we interact with each other? Does it push us further apart, or does it encourage a new kind of closeness, another way of being connected? And how does this virtual space act upon our words and being together?
We switch between the hyper local and the mega global: between our living rooms and the global lockdown. Does this unite us or expose our differences? For some, quarantine is a welcome moment of quietude and reflection, while for others, it is a physical impossibility. There is (health)care available for some, but not for all. How can the current crisis become a true exercise in solidarity?
Under the slogan, ‘‘We are in this together, but not one and the same” by Rosi Braidotti, we are developing the program Where Should We Begin. With both new and existing work, we contemplate the current reality in which we find ourselves and we think together about the steps we are taking now. We are developing performative conversations for the online environment and are already preparing for the time when we can meet in person, even if that means maintaining a 1.5 metre distance. How do we meet now, and then? How do we make sure that we don’t fall back into the old normal? And how do we reflect on what happened to us?
During Digital Silence the participants play with their own presence and absence, in their rooms and on the web. Looking for a third space, a hybrith space, that is both physical and virtual. ‘Where am I if I’m both in my room and on the screen? And where are you?’ Digital Silence connects rooms and people in one big multidimensional apartment block, floating between bricks and pixels, neither present nor absent.
How do you talk about the future? How do you summon up images of things that don’t yet exist? For Impossible Conversation on the Future we sought advice from the Jesuits, who developed a conversational method for discussing abstract concepts. It involves slowing down with each other and linking together personal views by writing, reading and talking together.
In Distant Thoughts you are invited to take a close look at the contact you enter into with people you don’t know. It is a telephone conversation for two people who do not know each other. You follow a script in which some of the text is predetermined but which mainly leaves a lot of room for your own words and thoughts. The script gives you something to hold onto, but also challenges you. This is an unusual encounter between strangers.