COOP ~ The Immemorial Body: Betraying Carmelo Bene in Nine Acts from Month to Month

Seminar 7: 22 - 24 May 2019

Dear all, 

During our Study Group's extension in Berlin we will consolidate the project proposals for Cagliari. We will discuss the different individual projects as well as discuss modes of (un)synchronisation in the space. How will our performative exhibition look like? What objects are we bringing? How will we inhabit the space? How will we interact with each other and the audience? Our aim is to leave Berlin with a solid concept + plan and with a final (or near to final) equipment list in order for Luca to arrange rental.

Sara & Arnisa


After the graduation acts, some free time to rest or informally chat.

7pm – COOP Dinner (location to be confirmed in Wedding)


9am - 6pm at Theaterhaus Mitte, Wallstraße 32/haus c, 10179 Berlin

9-12.00 room 407 (54m2) no dancefloor, piano in it

12-13.00 lunch time 

13-16.00 room 402, dance, good to move

16-18.00 room 206

8pm - Perfomance at Hebbel Am Ufer

Simone Aughterlony, Maintaining Stranger


9am-13am at Theaterhaus Mitte, Wallstraße 32/haus c, 10179 Berlin

At 10 am Luca Carboni will join us to talk about practicalities 

10-12.00 (Room 206)  

12-13.00 (Room 402) 

13-14: Lunch



Seminar 6: 15 - 18 April 2019

‘In Order to Act’

Overview : Unfolding over 9 episodes, this act of betrayal is the 7th in the ‘Immemorial Body’ series. Continuing themes through fiction building characters, texts from this COOP’s archive, and a closer look at the crime scene left behind, knowledge and movement combine to creep, leap, translate and ruminate to the tune of ‘Who is Carmelo Bene?


The week is curated by Polly and is structured around 9 student-led propositions. The episodes may be subject to change.

Tutors present: Geo (15-18), Sara (15-17), Arnisa (16-17)



Seminar 5: 10 - 13 March 2019

Our week in Dessau is mainly devoted to the 2-day seminar “Theatre Ascetics,” developed in collaboration with our guest Snejanka Mihaylova. The seminar follows and expands some of the threads opened with Sara’s presentation at PAF on the ecstatic. We will contextualize the notion of Theatre Ascetics in relation to transcendence and being on scene, keeping Carmelo Bene’s idea of the ob/scene as a ghostly companion.

In the evenings we will watch and discuss the videos you made in response to Geo’s “tactics of storytelling.” If time allows I would like to screen a video work by Italian artist Jacopo Miliani. It is a 2-part video that takes Teorema as a starting point to address gestural language, identity, and seduction. We can make an evening schedule together!

The last morning will be kept for sharing, reflection and proposals.

Theatre Ascetics Seminar

The seminar will look at the notion of “theatre ascetics” and will try to trace its vocabulary. Please read the material for the collective thinking workshop and make a summary of it.


7pm – 10pm

Watch and discuss the videos you made in response to Geo’s “tactics of storytelling.”


10 am- 1 pm

Warm up 15min

A lecture by Snejanka Mihaylova on the relation between theatre and philosophy. We will ask what is a theatre ascetics and what is the contribution of Carmelo Bene to the delineation of non-representational form of theatre. How we can read and understand withdraw as a fundamental modus operandi in theatre ascetics. What is potentiality and how this notion is fundamental for the connection between theatre and philosophy. Negative potentiality versus religious experience. 

2:30am - 6pm

Relaxation 15min

Reading and contemplation of selection of mystic texts.

7pm – 10pm

Watch and discuss the videos you made in response to Geo’s “tactics of storytelling.”


10 am- 1 pm

Warm up 15min

Collective thinking workshop: Short introduction on the western dichotomy of faith and reason. Discussion of Luce Irigaray’s Power of Discourse and the Subordination of the Feminine. Juliia Kristeva’s question Why religion is important for women’s destiny?

2:30am - 6pm

Relaxation 15min

Reading and contemplation of selection of mystic texts.

7pm – 10pm

Watch and discuss the videos you made in response to Geo’s “tactics of storytelling.”


10 am- 1 pm

Sharing, reflection and proposals.



Seminar 4: 10 - 13 February 2019

The first evening, we will contend a bit with Carmelo Bene’s rendition of Pinnochio and develop our own relationships to themes presented in the Italian folktale. We will engage in various out loud enactments of the story and we will watch the Disney version of the film.

Day two we will continue with our exploration of holes, disidentification and autobiography as fiction. We will embark on a series of embodied storytelling exercises, collapsing memory, dreams, fantasy, gossip, and documentary research. We will experiment with ways of communicating urgency as narrative with the tools at hand. We will ground our desires and impulses in the construction of short narratives and loose characters, drawing on the techniques of director Anne Bogart, playwright Adrienne Kennedy, and playwright/performer Anna Deveare Smith. We will read excerpts from the works of these individuals together as a group and use their techniques as a way to ground our storytelling methods.

In the afternoon and evening, we will present our ongoing individual inquiries that began in Calgary, from personal scores, to baking bread, to make up masks and onwards. Thinking towards integrating our varied research into an accumulated collective score with different temporalities and with a stage in specific locations in Cagliari.

The face to face meetings will happen on day three and will be scheduled by hour. During this day there will be opportunities to work on individual and or collective brainstorming of presentational work.

The last morning we will close with a discussion around possible collaboration and wrap up with any more face to face meetings.



Seminar 3: 13-17 January 2019

In this session in Cagliari, the discussion on the anal-oral nexus and autobiography as fiction is re-elaborated within the context of a ‘conceptual body’ as a somatic experience beyond individualization. How can performance direct somatic experiences beyond the singular individual and open the doors to something beyond subjectivity? Another important focus of this session is to familiarize ourselves with Cagliari and begin to discuss the presentations in June. How can a performative exhibition be articulated in time and space?

Arnisa Zeqo will be present during the session and extension day January 13 – 17. Barbara Casavecchia will join on January 16 and will give a lecture on January 15.

January 13

In the evening we join for a common screening and discussion with the colleagues from ‘Curating Positions’.

January 14

Burn all the diaries

We begin the session in the morning by going through the exercises on autobiography from the previous session. Short presentation are held in the format of group critique. During the following days the exercises are continued through a series of scores and instructions that will be revealed gradually (prepared ic.w Sara and Geo) involving a variety of somatic exercises. If for Carmelo Bene there was a thin line between consciousness, memory and fiction how can strategies of self-forgetting relate to performance?

In the afternoon we continue within this frame of mind by engaging with some psycogeographical exercises/scores in the city of Cagliari. Together with interact with the city and specific cultural and artistic sites in a way in which the supremacy of vision is challenged. Can we imagine a magical south?

In the evening we engage with make up as a strategy of fiction and performance. We discuss historical cases and invite to share some knowledge on make-up practice. How to playfully become someone else?

January 15

Personal Worlds or Cultural Strategies?

The morning begins by a reflection on how elements of autobiography and self performance open up paths towards cultural strategies and inter subjective somatic links. Arnisa shares parts of her ongoing research on ‘conceptual performances’ as a practice at the intersection between literature, performance art, conceptual art, social (dis) engagement and life. There will be close readings of the work of Ulises Carrion, Chiara Fumai, Moyra Davey, Anna Daucikova and Adrian Piper.

The second part of the day brings together ideas and discussions on the possible presentation in June 2019. A special attention is given to what a ‘performative exhibition’ might be as a form of presentation in relation to scores and actions.

In the evening special guest Barbara Casavecchia will give a lecture on the work of Sardenian artist Maria Lai, focusing specifically on her performances and the relationship between silence and speech. She also introduces Lai within the context of a group of female artists in Italy in the 60s and 70s. 

January 16

Taci, Anzi Parla

We spend the day together with Barbara Casavecchia. She prepares specific workshop on writing and inter subjective communication and the role of play within performance. During parts of her workshop we do one on one walks with Arnisa. In this day we might go to Ulassai for an excursion on the footsteps of Maria Lai.

In the evening we do a screening and discussion of Pinocchio.

January 17

Evil Spirits

During the last morning we reflect on the week and the characters we encountered. Together we seek propositions on how to continue with the exercises and the scores.




Seminar 2: 9-12 December 2018

The week gravitates around “autobiography as a rehearsal for fiction,” an idea suggested by José Esteban Munoz in the book Disidentifications. Please read extract prior to the session. We will send it per email and upload it to the Dropbox.

Sara, Arnisa and Geo will all be present on Dec 10 and 11.

December 9

On the evening of Dec 9 we join the screening of 'Chronicle of a Summer' by Jean Rouch and Edgar Morin (90 min), organized by the Curating Positions COOP. Following the sociological/anthropological approach of the makers, the film is an example of cinema verité and deals with issues of performativity in front of a camera.

December 10

Morning: Discussion of the scores produced after the first DAI week in a group critique format. Each student has 10 minutes to present their score and 10 minutes for discussion. While preparing for your presentation try to focus on the visual and tactile elements of the score. 

3–4pm: Research presentation by Sara on the ecstatic and performativity in relation to Carmelo Bene’s concept of the open mouth. The talk delves into the reverberations of Sara’s deep dis/identification with CB as a child.

4pm–5pm: Exercises in language and embodiment

5–6pm: Introduction to the oral / anal nexus (reference to CB, Paul Preciado, Lou Andreas Salomé)

Evening: Nocturnal session in nature

December 11 

Morning: Individual exercise called ‘autobiography as rehearsal for fiction.’ During the making of the exercise Sara, Geo and Arnisa will be doing face-to-face meetings. (Schedule will be made at the beginning of the day) 

Afternoon: Presentation of the exercise

Evening: Continuation of Arnisa’s presentation on scores and printed matter as interface and ephemera of performances. Together we continue to do a close reading of selected scores.

December 12

Continuation of face to face

Wrap up and feedback


Seminar 1: 12-15 November 2018

For Nov 12 and 13, Geo will lead the students in looking at a clip from Bene’s Capricci and riff on the themes presented using the work of Divine David, Tessa Hughes-Freeland, and others.  

We will participate in a series of solo and group performance exercises focusing on the voice, language, and the scavenged self.

On Nov 14, students will have an opportunity to present their work to one another!  Please prepare something you would like to share with the rest of the class.

On Nov 15 Arnisa Zeqo shares with the students specific examples where scoring overlaps with photography and embodiment of language. The status of 'scores', 'partitura', 'notation', 'sequence', 'script'  is  problematised  within  practices from visual art and specifically performance art.  Scoring is looked at as a methodology of both testimony and a manual for future actions. How can photography  and printed matter function as an interface of performance and self performance? A special focus is given to what Carmelo Bene called 'de - scrittura scenica' a un- writing of scenes through the materialisation of language and typographical bodies.