Witte de With Contemporary Art
Our Program—The Humans
M
The Humans
1 April 2012 – 6 January 2013

From 26 April 2012 to 6 January 2013, Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art hosted the on-site realization of The Humans, a theatrical performance by visual artist and writer Alexandre Singh. Leading up to the final presentation of his play in the Fall of 2013, Singh transformed parts of Witte de With’s second floor into an artist’s studio, a script room and a workshop. This on-site realization of the artwork provided the audience with an insider’s look into the inner dynamics of artistic creation.

Set before the Earth’s beginning in a proto-world populated by spirits, gods, artisans and men of clay and plaster, The Humans — a play with ‘creation’ as its central theme — 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. The Humans evolves and changes over an eight-month period and includes a variety of formats, from presentations and rehearsals to discursive events that are informed by the props produced on site. With the intention of inviting the public to actively engage with the artist’s work and the play in specific, collaborations with experts and scholars from different disciplines are forged in order to inform and be informed, inspire and be inspired by the project. As such, the monthly discursive events Causeries – which started in June 2012 and continues until March 2013– are moments and opportunities for different disciplines to collide and engage with theater groups, youth choirs, set designers, prop-makers and costume-designers. They explore an array of subjects from Cosmogony, satire, theatrical costumes, to Aristophanes and scatology.

This project came into being after seven years of correspondence between the artist and Defne Ayas, Witte de With’s director. The Humans Blog Over the course of 2012, on a regular basis, Alexandre Singh posted on a dedicated tumblr page, visual material and other sources that serve as an inspiration in the development of his project The Humans: http://the-humans.tumblr.com/.

The Reader is a selection of texts that provide an insight into different themes the artist explores over the course of his play. It functions as an in-depth source of information and inspiration to The Humans. This booklet, available in limited printed copies for consultation at Witte de With only (and for viewing on Witte de With’s website), is updated on a regular basis parallel to the monthly public events Causeries.

—Participants

Alexandre Singh

—Curators

Defne Ayas