Spaces in motion
site-specific performance project with students of the University of Kassel together with Prof. Dr. Verena Freytag
University of Kassel 2016
The starting point of the site-specific performance project was the new lecture hall building of the University of Kassel, where the 2016 congress of the German Society for Educational Science (DGfE) took place under the motto 'Spaces for Education - Spaces of Education'. "Gender, social and cultural identities, self-understandings and self-efficacies, generational and milieu-specific orders are also reflected and generated in spaces of education.": The project referred to this statement of the congress announcement text and explored the architecture, atmosphere and use of the lecture hall building via strategies of site-specific performance art. We asked ourselves a series of questions:
What effect does the new physical space have on bodies and movement? How does this architecture influence behavior? Conversely, how are spaces changeable through actions, movements? How do students perceive their 'everyday space', how can associations be transformed into images and movement? How do different groups of people encounter the building?
In dealing with the specific conditions of the lecture hall building, the students developed their own solo and group performances in addition to guided actions, which were documented and presented during the congress as photo installation, video projection, audio installations and live performances. In the course of the semester, it became increasingly noticeable how hegemonially the topic of space is negotiated - also in educational contexts. Rooms in this building remain closed to students who want to work independently. The architects forbid hanging pictures on the walls. The building supervisors got nervous if students just sat on the stairs and could only be pacified by written official permission. Finally, the management of the Congress was not willing to provide adequate financial and logistical support for the art project it had commissioned and so denied the presentation the 'space' it deserved. We experienced firsthand how exhausting and sometimes futile it is to try to create space for a self-determined, unconventional aesthetically oriented educational situation.