THE HUMANS – Alexandre Singh

date datum 26 April 2012 -
6 January 2013

location locatie Witte de With

Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art presents the on-site realization of The Humans, a theatrical performance by visual artist and writer Alexandre Singh. This project, on view from 26 April – until 6 January 2013, came into being after seven years of correspondence between the artist and Defne Ayas, Witte de With’s director.

Set before the Earth’s beginning in a proto-world populated by spirits, gods, artisans and men of clay and plaster, The Humans – with ‘creation’ 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. Leading up to the final presentation of his play in the Fall of 2013, Singh transforms Witte de With’s second floor into an artist’s studio. This on-site realization of the artwork provides the audience with an insider’s look into the inner dynamics of artistic creation.

To actively engage with the artist’s work, collaborations between experts and scholars from different disciplines are forged in order to inform and be informed, inspire and be inspired by the artworks on view, creating moments and opportunities for different disciplines to collide and engage with theater groups, youth choirs, set designers, prop-makers and costume-designers.

Alexandre Singh will be living in Rotterdam in residence for a year until the completion of The Humans.

The Humans Blog
On a regular basis, visual artist and writer Alexandre Singh posts on a dedicated tumblr page, visual material and other sources that serve as an inspiration in the development of his project The Humans held at Witte de With from 26 April to 6 January 2013.

The Humans Reader
The Reader is a selection of texts that provide an insight into different themes the artist explores over the course of the project. It functions as an in-depth source of information and inspiration to The Humans. This booklet is available in limited printed copies for consultation at Witte de With only, and for viewing below on this web-page.

Supported by:

About the participants
Ayas, Defne Defne Ayas (b. Istanbul) is Director of Witte de With | Center for Contemporary Art since January 1st, 2012. She heads to Rotterdam from New York, where she has served as a curator of Performa – the visual art performance biennial of New York City – since 2004, and from Shanghai, where she has acted as a co-founding director of Arthub Asia – a contemporary art initiative devoted to art creation and exchange across Asia – since 2007. Ayas was also a faculty member of contemporary art and new media at the New York University in Shanghai for the past five years. Prior to joining Arthub Asia and Performa, she coordinated the New York-based New Museum of Contemporary Art’s public and new media programming. Ayas has recently served as a curatorial advisor to the 8th Shanghai Biennale (China), and as a publication advisor to the 8th Gwangju Biennale (South Korea) in 2010. Defne Ayas completed De Appel Curatorial Programme in Amsterdam and received her Masters degree from ITP – Tisch School of the Arts at New York University.
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Singh, Alexandre Alexandre Singh (b. 1980) is a visual artist and writer based in New York. Singh, who was born in Bordeaux, France to Indian and French parents was brought up in Manchester, UK before studying Fine Art at the University of Oxford, UK. Singh’s work derives at once from traditions in literature, performance, photo-conceptualism and object-based installation art. His work has been exhibited in venues throughout Europe and the United States including The Serpentine Gallery, London; New Museum, New York; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; and Palais de Tokyo, Paris. Singh’s work is held by a number of private and public collections including MoMA, New York; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Centre national des arts plastiques, Paris.
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About the collaborators
Codarts Codarts is a Rotterdam-based international college providing high quality arts education in the fields of music, dance and circus. The university has about 1,000 students, with 50 nationalities, and approximately 340 employees.
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Performa Founded by RoseLee Goldberg in 2004, Performa is the leading organization dedicated to exploring the critical role of live performance in the history of twentieth-century art and to encouraging new directions in performance for the twenty-first century. Performa launched New York’s first performance biennial, Performa 05, in 2005, followed by Performa 07 (2007), Performa 09 (2009), Performa 11 (2011), and Performa 13 (2013).
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Schouwburg Rotterdam More than twenty years ago, the Schouwburg Rotterdam opened at the Theatre Square. In October 2010 architect Wim Quist started to rebuilt the whole areal. After this renovation the theater turned into an popular urban meeting point. The activities of Schouwburg Rotterdam cover dance, theater and music programming for a broad audience - from the youngest to the most seasoned opera lover.
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