Conversation without words

€ 18 / € 15, dinner included
Duration determined by the participants (2–3h)
Language no problem

How do we communicate when we stop using words? The collective Building Conversation, founded by Dutch theatre-maker Lotte van den Berg and artist Daan ’t Sas, develops and facilitates conversations. In each session of Conversation without words, fifteen people walk together to a place and sit down, with the only rule being that they spend time together engaging in a silent conversation. Starting from the fact that almost eighty percent of our communication is nonverbal, this performative interaction offers an encounter outside the format of given language. Conversation without words is an original meeting, a shared moment beyond the words, to bring together people who don’t know one another; where the possibility of showing empathy, making agreements, arguing and taking opposing positions, all without using words, is surprising. Conversation without words finishes with a communal dinner and an opportunity to conclude with a conversation, this time with words.

Conversation without words is part of Building Conversation, an ongoing project developed and executed by a growing collective of artists, activists and philosophers. Current members include: Peter Aers, Andreas Bachmair, Lotte van den Berg, Katja Dreyer, Angelika Fink, Floor van Leeuwen, Sodja Lotker, Dennis Molendijk, Jonathan Offereins, Zdravko Popovic, Daan ’t Sas, Ligia Soares, Iwona Soczewka, Marija Sujica and Justina Wielgus.

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Building Conversation is a collective of artists that facilitates conversations. In their (travelling) studio, they don’t make paintings or statues, but they organize conversations. Fascinated by the way we speak and could speak to each other, they develop forms of conversation in which we can practice our suppleness of thinking and speaking. Not in order to arrive at the perfect conversation, but rather to engage in community living as an ongoing exercise. 

A conversation is a fragile construct of human interaction; a combination of words and silences, repositioned chairs, averted gazes, outstretched hands, tapping feet, rising voices and bottled-up thoughts. It's a choreography, a jam session. Building Conversation invites you to participate in building and experiencing; to give shape and attention to our interactions in collectiveness.            

This summer Building Conversation is celebrating its 5th anniversary. In these five years it organized some 400 conversations across Europe. The collective is on the move, with a permanent core surrounded by people who are each involved in their own way. In Serbia, Portugal, Poland, Germany and Norway, the conversational forms have now been passed on to local teams. In Amsterdam, new conversation coaches are currently being trained. Conversations take place in the street, in community centres, meeting rooms, empty flats, prayer spaces, theatres and museums. During arts festivals, conferences, neighbourhood evenings and chance meetings. Between people who know each other and people who don’t, with people who meet each other every day or people who prefer to avoid each other. The aim of Building Conversation is to set up the International Centre for Dialogical Artwork and to keep creating space in the future for conversation as a collective (art)work.

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