During this Causerie, visual artist and writer Alexandre Singh highlights the importance of satire and the prominent ways in which this literary genre informs the realization of his theatrical play, The Humans. The artist invites different scholars to explore several literary moments of satire and criticism throughout the history of the written word. Ranging from Lucian of Samosata to Alexander Pope and P.G. Wodehouse, Singh traces the various styles and approaches in which these satirists voiced social criticism by means of wit, sarcasm and irony. With amongst others:

Philip Smallwood (Emeritus Professor of English, Birmingham University) on Alexander Pope

Kathleen Burk (Emerita Professor Modern and Contemporary History at University College London) on P.G. Wodehouse

Alexandre Singh will also be joined in his conversations by artist Gareth Long.

Upcoming Causeries:
19 January 2013 – The Voice and The Chorus;
16 February 2013 – Woody Allen;
16 March 2013 – Scatology;
13 April 2013 – The Sculptor.

About the Causeries

Taking its title from the French verb causer – to converse or chat – the Causeries are set up as a series of discussions in which Alexandre Singh expands on his ambitious play The Humans’ key themes, ranging from cosmology and cosmogony to pictorial satire, dance, drama, and religion. Rather than discursive events in the well-known format of a conference or a symposium, the Causeries are conceived as informal conversations between the artist and an expert in a given field. It is not only the edification of the artist himself that is pivotal in this alternative kind of exchange, also the audience is offered an insight in the underlying themes of The Humans. The monthly Causeries are conceived by Defne Ayas and Alexandre Singh, and are organized in consultation with critic and writer Donatien Grau.

About The Humans

The Humans – with “creation” as its central theme – is an ambitious play that will evolve and change over a six-month period. Set before the creation of the Earth in a proto-world populated by spirits, gods, artisans and men of clay and plaster, The Humans is modeled after the ancient Greek plays of Aristophanes. Whilst the theatrical references are ancient, the satire is utterly modern: religion, morality and human hubris are all mocked with an irreverent and biting tone.

Leading up to the final live presentation of his play, Singh will transform Witte de With’s second floor into a space; part artist’s studio, part script-room and display area; where visitors will be able to follow the development of the play. This on-site realization of the artwork allows the audience to gain a unique insight into the inner dynamics of artistic creation.

—Supported by

Institut Francais