Faith, Hope & Thermodynamics

29.04.2020 - 02.05.2020

Tromsø (NO)

- POSTPONED - New dates will follow

A site-specific and ongoing performance project along the seaside, with installation art and activism.
If you surf the web, open a newspaper or turn on the news, you get the impression that the world is in the wild. The media is full of war, death and misery. One may be tempted to long for the past, for an easier, happier time. But this media picture is not right. According to research and statistics, humanity is constantly making great leaps towards a better world. And the second law of thermodynamics says that the future cannot be simpler than the present. Complexity will always increase. Going back is not a possibility - we must move forward. That is our destiny - and the meaning of it all. 
So we act.

​Between February and June 2020 STATEX is planning a series of workshops and interventions around the challenges and questions of the Waterfront Laboratory. This research will culminate in a larger performance-based project called ‘Faith Hope and Thermodynamics’ premiering in autumn 2020.


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Horta Hall
BOZAR, Brussels (B)

- POSTPONED - New date will follow


Society is paved with tension fields. Scientists alone cannot solve this. Artists neither. Both species have a responsibility and an autonomy to guard, especially when the funding mechanisms are inclining towards ideological goals instead of incubating talent.

The occasion of this evening event is the release of two books: Machine Made Silence. The Art of Kris Verdonck, edited by Peter Eckersall and Kristof van Baarle, and Go with the Flow and Stay with the Trouble, edited by Marleen Wynants. The first one reflects on the art works of Kris Verdonck, the second is the apex of the STAL project, a joint initiative by VUB, ULB and BOZAR from 2017 to 2019.

Both books refer to unexpected encounters and a particular way of working that surpasses established disciplines and domains, yet, leaving them intact while exploring a kind of un-disciplinary thinking, a field of enquiry of its own.

A conversation between Kris Verdonck, Marleen Wynants, Caroline Nevejan and Lawrence Malstaf will be preceded by the Spheres performance by the latter. Meanwhile the Horta Hall in BOZAR will also host a series of installations by Kris Verdonck and all participants will be invited to a cocktail before, during and after.

18:30 Opening installations by Kris Verdonck
19:00 Welcome
19:20 Introduction STAL by Marleen Wynants
19:30 Performance by Lawrence Malstaf
20:00 Book presentation and conversation with Kris Verdonck, Marleen Wynants, Caroline Nevejan and Lawrence Malstaf
20:30 End of formal presentations


17.03.2020 - 29.03.2020

Festival International du Film sur l'Art
Montréal (CA)

Murmur will be screened at the 38th FIFA - Festival International du Film sur l'Art in Montréal, Canada, FIFA Experimental program. 

Murmur is a collaboration between Jan Locus & Stijn Demeulenaere.
Brussels was built on a swamp, today there is only one tiny part of Brussels that is still officially a swamp. Although continually threatened by development the area stayed intact largely due to being ensnared between two railroad tracks. Just before first light, filmmaker Jan Locus and sound artist Stijn Demeulenaere recorded the dawn chorus. The city drone permeates the sound of the swamp, and a strange mix enfolds between the sound of an awakening nature and a human presence. Urban drone and bird song merge to a (un)familiar murmur.

Murmur knew its cinematic world premiere at the 2020 IFFR, International Film Festival Rotterdam (NL) and was selected for the 2020 Rencontres Internationales Paris/Berlin in Paris (FR) and the Festival International du Film sur l'Art, Montréal (CA). 
The work also won the 2nd prize at The Engine Room International Sound Art Award.

38th FIFA - Festival International du Film sur l'Art
Stijn Demeulenaere
Jan Locus

tele-present water in Writing the history of the future / The ZKM Collection

17.02.2020 - 28.03.2021

ZKM - Center for Art and Media
Karlsruhe (D)

tele-present water by David Bowen is part of the ZKM Collection and now semi-permanent on display in the exhibition Writing the History of the Future.

When artist David Bowen took a sailing trip on Lake Superior in Minnesota in 2010, he was fascinated by the waves’ movements against the boat and how quickly his body adapted to them. Even afterwards, with solid ground underfoot, he could still feel the water’s gentle motion. Bowen’s installation »tele-present water« attempts to recreate that effect of telepresence, the feeling of being present in a faraway place. 

In his piece, a fragile lattice from wooden rods hangs from transparent nylon threads, seemingly suspended in space. The threads connect the lattice to a set of parallel rods. These, in turn, are connected to poles that move the whole installation by means of seventeen motors. Like the arms of a puppeteer, the poles rise and fall, setting off wave-like motions in the grid of parallel rods and the wooden lattice below. 

tele-present water also links to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) buoy station 51003 in the Pacific, which records wave height and frequency data in real time and transmits it to the exhibition space. This means the installation’s movements correspond to actual information on Pacific Ocean waves. A computer translates the buoy’s data into mechanical movements for the wooden lattice to replicate. If the Pacific is calm, the installation moves in gentle waves, whereas stormy seas cause it to break into a wild dance. 

tele-present water is an installation that fuses nature and technology, as well as indoor and outdoor space. In doing so, it grapples with questions of immediacy and involvement in a world where everything is connected to everything else. Author: Julia Ihls

ZKM Collection
Writing the History of the Future



Performance Research Books
Aberystwyth (UK)

Machine Made Silence. The Art of Kris Verdonck brings together an array of essays written by leading scholars in the field of theatre and performance studies and a series of interviews, performance texts, notes on particular works, as well as an extensive overview of Verdonck’s oeuvre. Rich in images, the book also includes drawings and sketches, opening up the creative process. The question that fueled this book is that of how to make work today. How can we characterize ‘today’ and how can art relate to that? Looking at the work of Kris Verdonck, tensions come to the fore between humans and machines, between life and death, between the now and the end, between visual arts and performing arts, between something and nothing.

Machine Made Silence. The Art of Kris Verdonck
Edited by Peter Eckersall and Kristof van Baarle
With a preface by Guy Gypens and texts by Maaike Bleeker, Andy Lavender, Charlotte De Somviele, Peter Eckersall, Edward Scheer, Tawny Andersen, a.o.
Performance Research Books, Aberystwyth, UK
204 p. - 49 color images

Available here

ACT // A Production of A Two Dogs Company & Het Zuidelijk Toneel (NL)

06.02.2020 - 17.03.2020

On tour

In ACT, Kris Verdonck explores various aspects of the relation between the human on the verge of disappearing in the work of Samuel Beckett. ACT approaches Beckett in three ways: with a monologue with Beckett texts (Stories and texts for nothing), performed by Johan Leysen, with a scientist, invited to react to Beckett and with an autonomous scenography, a possible landscape for a Beckett text.

The variety and multidisciplinary approach reflect the complexity of Beckett’s work and are at the same time an attempt to literally take apart this complexity. The triptych of Science, theatre and high-tech show, as in three acts, each a different facet of the diamond ‘Beckett’. They deepen each other’s experience: a particular way of performing brings a scientific insight to life and vice versa, a performative scenography zooms in on the underlying world of or perhaps after the actor and offers a more contemplative experience.

A Two Dogs Company / Kris Verdonck

Shrink at Festival Out Of The Box 2020

25.01.2020 - 26.01.2020

Munich (D)

Shrink 01995 - Two large, transparent plastic sheets and a device that gradually sucks the air out from between them leave the body vacuum-packed and vertically suspended. The transparent tube inserted between the two surfaces allows the person inside the installation to regulate the flow of air. As a result of the increasing pressure between the plastic sheets, the surface of the packed body gradually freezes into multiple micro-folds. For the duration of the performance the person inside moves slowly and changes positions, which vary from an almost embryonic position to one resembling a crucified body.

At Festival Out Of The Box 2020 there will be 6 Shrinks and the bodies of 6 performers.

Out Of The Box


16.01.2020 - 26.12.2019

Staatsoper Unter den Linden
Berlin (D)

'The result is fantastic… Everything is simply right in this production: the songs, the claustrophobic notes from the orchestra, the bleak set design and the special effects with smoke and lightning strikes that reinforce the fall of the house on many levels…”/Der Tagesspiegel 

Since her 2015 opera "Private View" based on an Alfred Hitchcock film, if not earlier, the Belgian Annelies Van Parys has established her reputation as one of the most innovative composers of contemporary musical theatre. Her work is distinguished by a keen interest in the facets of the human singing voice as well as an idiosyncratic approach to instrumentation. Starting with the material of the uncompleted opera – Debussy left behind several libretto drafts, a musical fragment of about 20 minutes and some sketches – Van Parys develops in "Usher" a chamber music theatre that probes the category of the uncanny in a specific musical and theatrical way.

Music Annelies Van Parys / Claude Debussy 
Text Gaea Schoeters / Claude Debussy based on "The Fall of the House of Usher" by Edgar Allan Poe

Musical Director Marit Strindlund Director, set designer, light Philippe Quesne Dramaturgy Roman Reeger Roderick Usher David Oštrek L'ami Martin Gerke Le médecin Dominic Kraemer Lady Madeline Ruth Rosenfeld & Musicians of the Staatskapelle Berlin 

Commissioned by Staatsoper Unter den Linden Berlin and Folkoperan Stockholm in co-production with Muziektheater Transparant (B), Opera Vlaanderen (B) and Nanterre - Amandiers centre dramatique national (F).

Staatsoper Berlin

Conversations (at the end of the world)

14.01.2020 - 24.02.2020

On tour
BE / NL / FR

What do you say, do or make when the end is nigh? In Conversations at the end of the world, a new piece by Kris Verdonck / A Two Dogs Company for large auditoria, five figures find themselves in an empty theatre space. They have only their bodies, their capabilities and the time that is left to them. Together these five figures, played by Johan Leysen, Jan Steen, Jeroen Van der Ven, José Kuijpers and the renowned pianist Marino Formenti, create a portrait of humankind in the crazy twentieth century – a century in which man’s image has been significantly eroded and whose wounds we still carry with us today. Waiting for the catastrophe that is inevitably coming, or in the midst of it, they welcome the audience to ‘a last evening’. When faced with death, the characters react with boredom, panic, madness, lethargy, nonsense and absurdity. Their absurdity is fed by the crazy logic of the war, ecological disasters, and all kinds of crises. Despite being in shock, they try to understand what is going on outside, and it is this absurd reaction to a cruel reality that lies behind this project.

CONVERSATIONS (at the end of the world) // a production of A Two Dogs Company (BE), Het Zuidelijk Toneel (NL) and a coproduction with Kaaitheater (BE), Rotterdamse Schouwburg (NL), Fondation d’entreprise Hermès within the framework of the New Settings program (FR) 

Something (out of nothing) // A Production of A Two Dogs Company & ICK

10.01.2020 - 08.02.2020

On tour

What is the place of the human in a world in which ecological catastrophe and technology are fundamentally challenging this position? The new performance by Kris Verdonck explores the physical and mental state of being in the face of an impending extinction.
The combination of a merciless desire for profit and growth with technological developments, has reduced the human to a disposable object. Making the landscape in which we live inhabitable is the next step. What remains after social, economic and ecological elimination? The dancers wandering around in Something(out of nothing), are oftentimes not more than silhouettes or shadows. They are the ghosts that are the consequence of the destructive dynamics between humanity and the landscape, which in the performance is evoked by large inflatable sculptures, noise cello player Leila Bordreuil and a robot drum. 

SOMETHING (out of nothing)