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Sunday March 17 | Session 13:15 - 14:45 (20 min)
De Brakke Grond | Steegzaal


Dr Nik Wakefield is Senior Lecturer in Theatre at University of Portsmouth. He is a researcher, artist and writer working mostly in performance but also across dance, theatre and visual art. His research is concerned with theoretical issues of time and ecology in contemporary performance and art practices. Wakefield’s solo and collaborative performances have been shown in UK, USA and Europe. His writing has been published in journals such as Performance Research, Maska, Contemporary Theatre Review and Choreographic Practices. 
This lecture re-enacts moments of Henri Bergson’s philosophy, featuring a mix of often-cited ideas and more obscure passages. Bergson’s explanation of duration as waiting for sugar to dissolve with water in Creative Evolution is included alongside sections from Bergson’s final major work Two Sources of Morality and Religion.

This lecture re-enactment investigates Bergson’s explorations of affect as they relate to duration as qualitative change, proposing that affective experience rendered as such illuminates the relationship between philosophy and Bergson’s activist work in the 20th century. To do so there are multiple forms of remembering: some texts come from memory while others are read or repeated from a recording heard through headphones, as is the case in Robert Cantarella’s Faire le Gilles. Working between different forms of memory media structure this lecture re-enactment, which is also accompanied by images of Bergson that contextualise and differentiates the philosopher from the live speaker. These juxtapositions query the historicity of Bergson by visualising what has and hasn’t changed in 100 years.

This re-enactment revels in the metaphor and poetics of Bergson’s prose even when translated into English. Although Bergson wrote in French, he spoke English from a young age and brought a writerly approach to his philosophical works, wringing from language a vividly accessible enactment of thinking. Finally, this re-enactment lecture will culminate in the image, with Bergson’s resistance to being recorded in moving image, while photographs of the philosopher blur into live tableaux that formally explores the historicity of the apparent presentness of duration.

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