We are the enactors of future social transformations. We inhabit this building together. A performer is someone willing to experiment with the plasticity of the self and to engage with others. It is someone ready to join the collective challenge of making things happen. A performative symposium is a collective play with no stage and no audience. 


We invite you to a new experience where speculative inquiry and performativity come together. In this intense two-day event, we will experiment with performative and experiential ways of researching and sharing, deepening the link between intellectual and creative work. Through a full program of participatory performances, discussions and workshops, this event is an unexpected fusion of science, policy making and art. 


A theatrical atmosphere will be the frame for the whole event, out of the conviction that fiction can have a beneficial role in the process of making new worlds. Participants will engage in active, honest and daring conversation. We aim to create situations and tools to enhance discussions, bypassing usual social constraints that might inhibit voices and overrepresent others. Role-play and performance will be our main resources, since we believe that embodying the experience tackles not only the level of discourse, but also of emotion and unconscious habit, and provides a fruitful ground for experimenting with ways of relating to others through space. Fiction will also play an important role in speculating about different types of encounters and in playing with the plasticity of the self. Small groups of people will allow for more intimate encounters, while bigger crowds will make us feel the power of the collective. 


We will re-think the Leeuwarden European Capital of Culture 2018 motto "Iepen mienskip", open community. To think about a community is to think about encounters. In these encounters the individuals are re-configured: by providing a fictional space and borrowing tools from performance arts, we will play with the plasticity of selfhood. We are embodied 'personas', changing strategically according to the circumstances, creating new tools of communication and action when a new circumstance requires it. In the performance we encounter one another as these 'personas' and cease to be what we were outside the performance. We become something else: a temporary assembly of political labourers. What are the foundations of our public building? What ground does it stand on, what does it consist of, and is there anything beyond the current social architecture? How is it maintained? What resides in our public building, what can stay and what has to go? 

Unknown Grounds is a production by VHDG initiated and curated by Flora Reznik and co-curated by Eef Veldkamp.

Contact: info@unknowngrounds.nl


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A performative symposium is a platform where intellectual and speculative inquiry meets with performance art. There are no lectures to just sit and listen to:  an emergent community is invited to experiment with performative and experiential ways of researching and sharing knowledge.

We are guided by the question: Who will be the enactors of future social transformations and what are the tools needed for these transformations? A performer is someone ready to face the challenge of making things happen. We are convinced that this must be a collective effort.  

Unknown Grounds is a transdisciplinary space where we become performers in a collective play without stage or audience, where we experiment with the plasticity of the self, towards becoming other than what we are as individuals. Learning is meant to be a transformative experience.