(click for the 2023-2024 Kitchen SCHEDULE)
"Let the museums remain empty and the pedestals bare. Let nothing be installed upon them. It is necessary to leave room for utopia regardless of whether it ever arrives. It is necessary to make room for living bodies. Less metal and more voice, less stone and more flesh." ~ Paul B. Preciado
“Orality…is inseparable from the body in movement.” ~ Édouard Glissant
During each regular DAI-week, one day is dedicated to acts, performances, screenings or presentations, or lecture-performances (recognized here as a longstanding unique discipline, a hybrid of research, lecture, visual art and performative narrative techniques) directed and steered by 11 (give and take) individual students (each month a different constellation of names). Each Kitchen Act of 20 minutes is authored by one student but may involve invited "others" as collaborators, assistants or audience-participants (please scroll for Basic Curatorial Guidelines).
The ‘Kitchen’ as an educational tool was coined in 2003 by DAI and molded and sculpted ever since (meanwhile the format has proliferated to many other educational institutions and programs).
The Kitchen-format offers students the possibility to present/ activate their work and research updates, proposals, experiments and other relevant or urgent musings, in a context that is independent from the other constituents of the curriculum. For DAI, as a roaming academy without studio spaces, this is the platform where "practice" in its broadest sense can be shared among the entire student body as well as with ‘outside’.
Embedded in a rigorous curriculum consisting of curated, collective study groups & theory seminars, the Kitchen offers each and every student a sheltered ‘free space’: for the duration of twenty uninterrupted minutes where they are invited to ‘speak’ to an audience consisting of all their fellow students, DAI’s director and famously, two or more, monthly changing guest respondents (invited makers and thinkers) as well as the occasional interested auditor (you are welcome to join a session (Covid permitting); please contact Rik Fernhout).
“.................... “responsibility” is not about right response, but rather a matter of inviting, welcoming, and enabling the response of the Other. That is, what is at issue is response-ability: the ability to respond. The range of possible responses that are invited, the kinds of responses that are disinvited or ruled out as fitting re-sponses, are constrained and conditioned by the questions asked, where questions are not simply innocent queries, but particular practices of engagement.” (Free after Karen Barad, 2012).
To guarantee that each student can have the full 20 minutes for their act + 20 minutes for the responses to their act, the Kitchen comes with a quite strict protocol. Beginning their presentation with a carefully crafted key question, each student presents work/research by means of performance, talk, performance-lecture, screening, reading, recital, choreography, play, concert, demonstration, action, presentation of relevant aspects of praxis or work in progress or process, reference sets or, a combination of (some of) these formats. Other than the limits of the given time and space frame and some basic curatorial rules there are actually no restrictions to the content and the format of the presentation.
Following each presentation, in a conversational mode, the two invited respondents will try to engage with the presentation by means of an improvised, non-judgemental, raw, sketchy, tentative, spoken reflection, (roughly) guided by ‘the question’ as well as by the respondents' own concerns, interests and knowledges.
The Basic Curatorial Guidelines
- Each presenter is, in principle, the curator-in-chief of their own Kitchen Act. This includes taking care of the well-being of the respondents and the audience during and also right after the presentation so that the feed back session can take place in a relatively comfortable setting. Chairs should always be made available to the respondents. The presenter has to take this in account while preparing the space.
- If a Kitchen Act requests the active involvement and/or assistance of one or more fellow students or others present in the space, this should in all cases happen with explicit permission, requested at least one day prior to the event. The presenter should offer the collaborator(s) or assistant(s) a detailed plan for the 20 minutes and be very clear about the role that will be assigned to them.
- The safety of everybody in the room including the presenter, comes before anything else. It is in no way allowed to undertake any actions that can lead to causing (bodily nor mental) harm.
- Care should therefore also be invested in regard to violent or offensive content in speech, sound and/or visuals. If in doubt: seek advice from your fellow students, or the director, while preparing your Kitchen.
- It is ok to request the physical engagement of the audience as a group, in a perfomance or other form of presentation, but only under the condition that those who prefer to not participate in a collective exercise or choreography or otherwise, should feel comfortable to step aside, without having to leave the space.
The feed back from the invited respondents is not be compared to the typical art school "crit". We are not interested in judgemental "opinions", but we rather see the set up as a choreography for a conversation-in-a form, whereby the proposition of the presenter and their specific question invites our guests to reflect by means of an improvised response.
Apart from the on-the-spot responses to presentations & question, from the part of the invited monthly changing guests, each student is furthermore offered one intensive and entirely personal advisory session (face to face) once per year, with either AEROPONIC ACTS 2024 curators Elisa Giuliano & Giulia Crispiani (exclusively second year students) or Quinsy Gario (exclusively first year students).
Each DAI-week, during the days after their Kitchen presentation, each of the first year students that have been performing/presenting in that week will have an individual meeting of an hour with Gabriëlle Schleijpen, DAI’s artistic director | head of program, initiator of the format, and witness to all presentations since the Kitchen's inception.
Departing from what has been expressed by means of someone's Kitchen Act, this specific conversation with the program's director can serve as a focussed moment for sharing any relevant personal questions, concerns, ideas and proposals in regard to art, research, life & DAI (in any desired order).
Important note for first year students: f2f meetings with Gabriëlle will sometimes overlap with the COOP studygroups.
Last but not least: ‘Feed-Back’ is a student led format to prepare or to de-brief the Kitchen Acts. The sessions are held in small groups moderated by a student. Read more here.
During the year the regular Kitchens can be documented by the students themselves (DAI provides a camera) as a tool for reflection and learning whereby it is important to note that it is not allowed to make the responses by our guests public without their permission.
The final Kitchen presentations at the end of the two year study trajectory at the DAI, coined AEROPONIC ACTS are filmed and the resulting video registration plus a written report by a guest writer form an integral part of the Kitchen-format. The AEROPONIC ACTS will take place in front of an audience