From the scenic essay to the essay-exhibition


 KASK & Conservatorium - School of Arts Ghent

Louis Pasteurlaan

9000 Ghent


From the 27th of April till the 29th the conference "From the scenic essay to the essay-exhibition" takes place.

More than 400 years after the publication of Michel De Montaigne’s leading Essais, the enduring afterlife of the essay form attests how this ‘heretical form’ (Adorno) not only continues to challenge the literary conventions but also transgresses the borders of the literary field to venture into other artistic disciplines. The genre of the essay film is the most prominent example of this dissemination but the expansion has set out in other fields as well. Art historian W.J.T. Mitchell introduced the notion of the ‘photographic essay’ and theatre scholar Hans Thies-Lehmann coined the ‘scenic essay’ as one of the constitutive elements of postdramatic theatre. In addition, the work of contemporary artists such as Ralph Lemon, Hito Steyerl, Thomas Bellinck, DECORATELIER and Oliver Zahn attest to a commitment to the essay form. More recently, the essay form has entered the curatorial field and the practice of exhibition-making as the ‘essay-exhibition’.

Engaging with this emerging prominence, the conference welcomes scholars and art practitioners to present their academic and/or artistic engagements with the essay form. Unlike the realm of literature and film, the essay form in the field of performing arts, visual arts and curatorial practices has received only modest attention. The goal of this three-day conference is to continue the mapping the essay form in these disciplines. By doing so, the conference aims to enrich the existing vocabulary of theatre and performance studies and aspires to resolve the hiatus between the existing theories on the essay. The conference’s emphasis on the essay form beyond the field of literature and film by no means that scholars or artists operating in these fields are not welcome. On the contrary, by assembling a wide variety of contemporary perspectives on the essay form this conference aspires to create a productive dialogue between more established fields of study on the essay and the new articulations presented during this gathering. 

More info and registration through this link.

Lieven Gevaert Centre
KU Leuven, Faculty of Arts
Blijde Inkomststraat 21 pb 3313
B-3000 Leuven

Lieven Gevaert Centre
UC Louvain, Archéologie et d'histoire d'art
FIAL - Place Blaise Pascal 1 bte L3.03.13
B-1348 Louvain-la-Neuve