Workshop with students of Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology Bangalore


Nowadays, abundant information is readily available about any and all events. This ticks us into believing that we accumulate knowledge and thereby gain insights. Isn’t that a big illusion? The information overflow creates ‚noise‘, that makes us ‚blind‘ and simultaneously offers the opportunity to create a sense for diversity and multifaceted revelations. How can ‚blindness‘ be used productively as ‚Terra Incognita’? Can blind spots be repurposed as an area of imagination and opportunities?

In the myth of Oedipus two antagonists, King Oedipus and the blind fortuneteller Teiresias, meet: In spite of intact eyesight Oedipus fails to see his own tragedy – the blind Teiresias recognises the imminent catastrophe, however. How does Oedipus manage to change his point of view to gain insight into his identity?

In an essay from 1974 entitled “What is it like to be a bat?” the philosopher Thomas Nagel treats the difficulties in capturing awareness in others. What does the world look like that is only perceived as reflections of sound waves? Leveraging the image of a bat Nagel seeks a radical change in how we experience things, in order to explore “what is it like to be…”. The thesis about changing the vantage point of our sensual and cognitive abilities in the Oedipus myth and Nagel’s essay serve as food for thought and as the literary foundation for this project.

Till Wyler von Ballmoos, musician and director, and Nikolaus Witty, dramaturg, invite the students to develop an open performance concept along with them. In this project we research the phenomenon ‚blindness’ and explore the artistic potential that blank spaces harbour. The goal of this work is the development of multimedia performance essays which capture the current discourse on construction of identity using a free format without restrictions or limitations in means.

We work on transformative processes using physical exercises. Under the notion of empathy and embodiment we improvise staged role play. Possible formats for the performance include motive and role specific reenactments, performing with space and text, interventions in the public space and a collection of materials that will be the foundation for an exhibit. Critique and formative feedback will be used to reflect on the work of the students.

Initial accomplishments will be showcased as an intervention on 1 December during the film festival Experimenta Bangalore. All works will be presented publicly between 15 and 16 December at the Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology Bangalore as part of the conclusion of the term.

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