Theory & Media Centre

Season 2016/17
lecture series with artists / theoreticians / critics

What makes the skin of critique today crawl when art gets into touch with it? And what makes it get thin when art contacts society, nudges it? How much contact and contamination do art and critique bear, while remaining autonomous and political at the same time? In what way is critique itself an art of politics, and how is art critical without merely practising subversion rhetoric? What does get under the critical skin of contemporary art? Can critique evade normativity, and do we have to weaken it immediately, as soon as it empowers itself? How to criticise critique – weaken in order to strengthen? And concretely: which critique today strengthens contemporary dance and performance, and first of all – which critique is strengthened by these? (continue reading)

next dates:

17.30 h in TQW / Studios — Admission free


Season 2015/16
A Discursive Ménage-à-trois
lecture series with artists and theoreticians

“The pleasure of the text is that moment when my body follows its own ideas – for my body does not have the same ideas I do.” (Roland Barthes)  The placeless pleasure of the text, which once again differentiates the body from the ego, also moves the tongue of contemporary dance, which also takes pleasure in minimalistic stories, scores, scenarios, statements etc. But how does the pleasure of the text also become, according to Barthes, a “critical principle” of a performative aesthetics of contemporary dance?


Season 2014/15
Double lecture series with artists and theoreticians

What is currently on the tip of the tongue of artistic research and who has put it there? In whose name are artistic research positions ascribed, assigned?  What is not signed, what is not said in the polemical debates around recherches artistiques, and do the specifics of this research lie among other things in an artistic analysis of the unsayable, in the irresolvable tension process/product, in its multilingualism or its more than linguisticality? How does precisely this surplus become a problem, how does it become the constitutive research problem?

Season 2013/14
A lazy concept of a lecture series

Idleness. Not beyond, this side of time. Laziness: an unstable nothing that is not in demand in our completely economised present. Refusing. As an act this side of passivity which leads itself back to its own potentiality. Far niente. Prefering not to. Bartleby’s disarming resistance without reference. Kafka’s hunger artist explains »with his lips pursed as if for kiss« that he is starving »because I could not find the food I liked.« Not an efficient flexibility, and not a nihilistic game, rather a sensual, affirmative abstinence as a stance. Waste of time. As a political stance. As a post-conceptual stance of contemporary dance, which is able to draft its performative ethics as a more-than-optionality. A constantly re-drawn draft in order to open up to the discarded. Intensively exposed to the nothing. In order not to be consumed, not appropriated, not allowing itself to be defined as an active subject alone. Humans can renounce. Persistent in the undecidable. A time-critical apostrophe. But how is one to move along an affirmative resistance? And how to rehearse this unstable passivity? How to perform one’s own questionability?

Season 2012/13
Lecture Series

»Nothing can overcome the resistance to theory since theory is itself this resistance.«
Paul de Man

What is so dangerous about theory that it has long provoked such strong resistance – and still today particularly in a cultural and university-political context? Is this resistance inherent in theory itself? And does it even constitute theory’s very weaknesses for practice?
It is about a theory that waters down what would be hard academia because it is not literally able to keep to what it promises figuratively (since linguistically). Performatively it thus never turns into actuality what it promises and – committed to the potential – turns against any stabilisation as an ideological position, against any representation as a manifestation of power. If such resistance to the logic of productivity and accomplishment is also inherent in dance and performance today, then its theory becomes an isotope* of its practice. In line with this gripping isotopianism, artists and theoreticians appear as a twin-pack in the same place in the framework of the series.

* The isotopes of one and the same element have different mass numbers but chemically behave largely identically and appear in the same place in the periodic table.


Season 2011/12
The lists and Tricks of laughing.
On the interference between the comical and the performative.

What still makes us laugh in the theatre – and do we know why and whether? And to what extent does this uncertainty shape the conditions of possibility of the comical? And also of the performative? And what has the repeated questioning “and” between the listing and repetition and difference got to do with the conjunctive, splicing and simultaneously splitting contrariness only marking possibility, which laughing articulates – laughing as “a chaos of articulation” (Walter Benjamin)?

To what extent does laughing as embodied disarticulation, as a tension between language and body, influence dance and performance today? To what extent does it form its critical potential? The comical as well as the performative certainly mark the aporias of conventions, the missing of place and time, the chances of possible failure, the body’s doubting of the language and vice versa, the lapse as an indicator of the repressed, the power of the diffuse, the racy standstill of the punch lines. And all the crisis symptomatics of the performative, in which body and language upend each other, talk at cross purposes, pass each other by, collide with one another.

As a reaction to a rhythm collision laughter marks the vibrating aesthetic interval between the parallel worlds to which we funny people simultaneously belong. As funny as the list or impossible taxonomy in Jorge Luis Borges’ text that lists the animals as follows: “a)  belonging to the Emperor, b) embalmed, c) tame, d) sucking pigs, e) sirens, f) fabulous, g) stray dogs, h) included in present classification, i) frenzied, j) innumerable, k) drawn with a very fine camelhair brush, l) et cetera, m) having just broken the water pitcher, n) that from a long way off look like flies”.

In the tricky rhythm of disagreement full of lists, laughing short-circuits paradoxically the parallel levels of articulation and problematises the unquestioned machinery of community and representation slowing it down by sticking it – as if  in its throat. “Split the audience. . . . Give them a taste of laughing alone,” instructs Tim Etchells. Laughing as the lonely trick of abolished belongings and conjunctions, as the trick of lists, which splits and frustrates the control and relief functions of collective laughing. And nevertheless laughs.


Philosophy On Stage#3
THUR 24 NOV. - SUN 27 NOV.
Haus Wittgenstein

Philosophy on Stage#3 is being held in the framework of the FWF research project »Generating Bodies«.



MON – FRI 13.00  – 18.00
Closed on public holidays

theorie [dot] info [at] tqw [dot] at



theskinofcritque_Kurzfassung.pdf76.84 KB