Al- Conductor 

The speech appears on the wall, it is a slowed down version. The chants of the party he heads begin to play, we cannot hear the voice of the man speaking. Instead, as the chants transform into a repetitive beat, an audience member X begins to read out loud from a distributed text.

Her: One can only perform certain things in specific spaces.

The performer standing in front of the projections rolls up her top. 

Her: Through live recording, I can, just like Hassan Nasrallah, be performing in two places at the same time.

Her hips and belly movements react to the gestures of the man projected on the wall.

Her: I can have an audience to communicate with immediately but at a distance.

She takes two deep breaths.

Her: I can pretend to share an intimate space while being separated from and unaware of the viewer. X takes two deep breaths.

Her: I can seem to fit well within an image that is in fact hostile to my very existence.

She takes two deep breaths.

Her: I use my body as a tool to appropriate images and transport them.

Her movement becomes faster as his gesture is repeated.

Her: By layering these images with myself, I modify their spectatorship. Through this dramaturgical work of appropriation, I try to question how our bodies and spaces are disciplined. There are things one can only perform in specific spaces.

Artist Residing 

Find yourself an abandoned space. Imagine an uncanny activity to be done there. Pretend to be doing this activity and document yourself in the process. Pay attention to the composition of the images, to the contrast, dynamism, balance, focus. Select the most beautiful ones. Write a poem to match the photos. Exhibit the whole as a work of Art.

On Placemaking: The Body as a place. 

All of it read from a paper, which you hold in your hands as instructions. The room contains a table with a mirror, a little ‘trousse’ containing raisor and mousse, a little towel. Strips of text semi-rolled hang high behind the table facing the audience. On the strips you can read ‘SPACE’, ‘FUNCTIONALITY’, ‘FORM’, ‘PRACTICES’, ‘FORM FOLLOWS

PRACTICE’. Shedding light in front or behind them makes different parts of the text visible. Seated at the table.

Welcome, everyone, and thank you for coming.
As you might already know, today I will be talking about the notion of Placemaking, a concept that has been central to my work until now.
In the coming half hour we will be looking at it particularly from the perspective of the body; The body as a place that is shaped by performance.
I will begin by specifying the context from which the term ‘Placemaking’ emerged, to later explain how it relates to scenography, and the body.

Turn on the table light, carry it with you and stand under the hanging strips. Stand in front of SPACE.

In Architecture and Urban Theory, a distinction is made between Place and Space whereby Space is the abstract understanding of an environment and Place is the more specific understanding of an environment. In other words, when a space becomes significant and relevant, it can be recognized as a place.

Stand behind PLACE. Walk back to the front of FUNCTIONALITY, FORM, PRACTICES.

While the modernists looked at our environments through functionality, and the post-modernists through form, contemporary architecture and urban theory today is more interested in the activities that takes place in our surroundings: how our daily practices shape the spaces we occupy. From this we can then suggest a slogan opposing the modernists Form follows Function, and rather say Form follows Practice.


What is practiced in a space defines its representation, it defines the image we have of it. How does this relate to performance? I suggest replacing the term ‘Practices’ with that of ‘Performance’.


In fact, practices are nothing more than daily performances that become habitual. We then have a new slogan: Form follows Performance.

Light it from all sides, turning around it. Then sit behind your desk. Flip the paper.

How does this relate to the Body?
The form which my body takes is often performed.

Take off your top, begin the foaming and spreading on the armpit. Gently take out the razor and remove the hair under your armpit. First under the arm that is done, wipe it with a towel. Do the same for the second arm, always looking at yourself in the mirror.

Removing the armpit hair is not a functional way of shaping my armpit. It is a political social performance of my body, of my identity. This place has been performed, so regularly and so consistently that it has become unquestionable for some. This is why I bring it back to myself and to others as a performance.

Wear your top again, leave the table, turn on the lights, join them on a bench.

The armpit is one example of the many places of my body that are performed. Can you also think of parts, aspects or functions of your bodies that are performed?
One way Judith Butler helps us in thinking about this is by considering the external gaze. Is there something you perform with or on your body because of the expectations of the other’s gaze? Can you write it down on this strip of photo-paper which we will pass around?


A discussion follows once the writings are gathered and read aloud. More performances of other parts of our bodies are discussed and reconsidered as choreographies.

The Mask as a Gesture 

Before you throw your old bedsheets: cut a line the length of your face. Hang your bedsheets with a single fold. Place your head inside the opening. Move forward and back so as to slowly pull down the sheets.

Make a plaster mold of your face. Make a cast of the mold. Hang them both in an empty room, at average eye-level.


The aim of epic theatre is alienation, distancing, de-familiarization. The audience is not asked to suspend their disbelief. On the contrary, they must recognize being in the theatre to develop opinions and reactions on what they see, hear, experience. Epic theatre, in that sense, does not pretend to be reality on stage, or the platform to reproduce the world. It refuses realism and recognizes the distance between reality and its representation. To quote Walter Benjamin in his writings on Epic Theatre in Understanding Brecht: “Epic theatre does not reproduce situations, but rather reveals them.” “Epic theatre, which depends on interruption, is quotable in a very specific sense. The gestures used in the process of acting [must become] quotable.” “The actor must show the event by showing herself; and she shows herself by showing the event. She must be free, at the right moment, to act herself thinking (about her part).”


I chose then, to quote my face, to interrupt its action by making a cast of it. The outcome is the extraction of a specific facial gesture. The mask, silicone and detailed replica of my face presents myself to myself at a distance. Here, above me, hangs a frozen moment in time of my physical features. This replica of my face I can look at as a three-dimensional object, from a distance, and from close. I get to, for the first time look at it from the side, from the top, from below, from inside.


My nose is to me the most obvious feature, the one that holds my insecurities, my pride, my kindness and my anger. I was twelve years old when my mother first suggested I went for plastic surgery to improve my physical appearance. ‘You can remove the lower hanging bit between the nostrils’… ‘or maybe just hatch the bumpy bone at the top to make it more straight’. Of course my mother only meant well, she was letting me know there was the option for me to change my physical appearance if I felt uncomfortable or ashamed. She was letting me know that she would be willing to pay for such an operation out of care for my self-esteem. Funnily enough, this did not make me love my face any bit more. But I felt so insulted and surprised by this suggestion that I became angry against it. From that moment on, I had to fight for my nose. The nose of my father, of my Arabness, of my ambiguity. 37

Phedre under the bridge 


Think of one thing you know by heart, a song a poem a quote, a story… Print it / Write it large enough to be seen from a 4 meter distance. Find a pedestrian path under a bridge. Stand across from it, between the pillars of the bridge. Hold the paper slides in your hands. Recite your text and flip accordingly so that the text can act as subtitles to your speech. Repeat until you reach satisfying realizations on what you have spent time memorizing.