Delving into the past, once again, as a way to inform and enhance the present, this Causerie leads an investigation into a device of 5th Century BCE Greek tragedies and comedies, namely the chorus. Typically, these dramas utilized a troupe, or assembly of several actors, who would speak in unison so as to comment on–and often against–the protagonists stage action. Tacking an anachronistic approach, this event will move from a close study of the plays themselves, to Nietzche’s thoughts on the role of the voice in his seminal study, The Birth of Tragedy, and the development of the voice throughout the history of opera.

Graham Ley (University of Exeter) on the Chorus in Greek Drama
Claudio Vellutini (Ph.D. candidate in Music History and Theory at the University of Chicago) on the history of Opera
Peter de Graeve (University of Louvain) on Nietzsche and music.
Alexandre Singh will be joined in his conversation by Adam Kleinman (writer and Online Publications, Witte de With) and philosopher Liesbeth Levy.
1 pm: a prelude by poet Anne James Chaton.

Anne James Chaton is like a human synth who presents his verse in a constant, almost robotic wave. He has developed a multipolar body of work, based on a close study of the textual materials which make up the everyday life of contemporary society. This prelude is presented in collaboration with De Player

Upcoming Causeries

16 February 2013 – Woody Allen;
16 March 2013 – Scatology.

About the Causeries
As part of the realization of Alexandre Singh’s ambitious play The Humans, Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art presents 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 Singh expands on 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 Alexandre Singh and Defne Ayas, 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