WORKSHOP COM STEFAN KAEGI / “Conference of the Absent“

By Stefan Kaegi

Lissabon, BoCA Summer School 2020
17. – 20.09.2020

Imagine a conference to which nobody flies. A performance to which the invited leading scientists do not appear physically, but are represented by one local person each. At the beginning of the performance, the local performers step into a classical conference setting on a theatre stage, they open their script and the show begins. “Conference of the Absent” is a project, Rimini Protokoll is currently researching for. In Lisbon it will be a workshop about global cooperation in a global crisis. But it happens locally – in the name of the world. And it happens offline – with the help of theatre.

This will be a workshop about documentary co-authorship, ghost- and speechwriting. But also about devised performing, instructions and representation.
Telepresence can lead to a kind of political and social process in which the rules of representation are changed. Tele-performance uses the sensory and haptic means of theater instead of the flat-screen aesthetics of PowerPoint presentations.

The advantage of not being there – in general: not having to be everywhere – becomes a theatre game. At the center of this game are people who become carriers of ideas. Their “I” may be comparable to the “I” of a simultaneous translator. Only that they don’t translate from language to language but from body to body. And their text is not just for them but for everybody in the room. It describes this very situation.