Jasper Delbecke (Gent) „Tracing the Essay in Performing Arts. Five Essay Pieces“

Vortrag vom 14.05.24

The talk will expand on the emergence of “the essay” as a form, concept, and method within the field of performing arts during the mid-2010s. Drawing inspiration from the rich tradition of the literary essay and informed by the contemporary proliferation of the essay form across cinematic (essay film), photographic (photographic essay), installation-based (essay-installation), and exhibition-related (essay-exhibition) domains, Delbecke dissects the reasons behind and manifestations of this form within the field of performing arts during this specific era. Through the lens of five distinct artistic practices – those of Muraya Ogutu, Silke Huysmans & Hannes Dereere, Ho Rui An, Mobile Akademie Berlin, and Jozef Wouters/Decoratelier – Delbecke scrutinizes the formal elements present in these works. Furthermore, he examines in study how artists turn to the essay form and/or adopt an essayistic mode of working in response to the activist imperative prevalent in socially and politically engaged forms of theatre, performance, and the broader arts landscape since the turn of the millennium.

Jasper Delbecke is an art and theatre scholar whose academic work attests to a curiosity in how the (performing) arts deal with past events and the politics of representation of personal, local, national or global histories. From this interest, he has a scholarly fascination with innovative forms of documentary theatre, new modes of storytelling, the format of the lecture performance and the conceptualization of (semi-)fictive exhibitions or museums. In August 2023, Delbecke obtained his doctoral degree in Art Studies in August 2023 at Gent University, having previously earned his Bachelor of Arts in Art Studies (2013) and Master of Arts in Art Studies (2014) at the same institution. In 2010, he finished his Professional Bachelor in Education, specialising in history and arts at Artevelde Hogeschool (Gent). From October 2023 until January 2024, Delbecke serves as a part-time guest professor at the Department of Art History, Musicology, and Theatre Studies at Gent University.