Acclaimed composer and theater artist Heiner Goebbels will discuss his practice with musician and scholar Gelsey Bell, drawing in particular from his seminal collection of texts entitled Aesthetics of Absence, which has recently been translated into English for the first time.
FringeArts brings together two of Goebbels’ seminal works in our 2018 Fringe Festival: Stifters Dinge, a theatrical installation of massive scale and post-anthropocentric scope, and Songs of Wars I Have Seen, a chamber work for two ensembles that slyly reveals humanity within our social constructs. Goebbels is a titan of European performance, who, through his prolific output and his post at the Institute for Applied Theatre Studies at Giessen, has influenced generations of forward-thinking theater makers. This talk seeks to share Goebbels’ influential approach to staging and composition with Philadelphia audiences and artists using these two works as complementary representatives of his approach.
About Heiner Goebbels
Multi-instrumentalist Heiner Goebbels was studying sociology when he discovered the political importance of music through the work of Hanns Eisler. After this discovery, he began his career as a composer and director. His compositions have been performed by orchestras around the world. In 1993, he presented his first theater production, Ou bien le débarquement désastreux (“Or the Hapless Landing”), which was followed in 1994 by Surrogate Cities (Grammy nominated), Black on White (1996) and Eislermaterial (1998) with Ensemble Modern, Hashirigaki (based on texts by Gertrude Stein, 2002), Eraritjaritjaka (2004), I went the House but did not enter (2008) and Harry Partch’s Delusion of the Fury (NYC, 2015). From 2012 to 2014, he was the artistic director of the Ruhrtriennale Festival, a prestigious annual music and arts festival in northwestern Germany. In 2018 he received the first appointment for the recently established Georg-Büchner-Professorship at the University Gießen.
Heiner Goebbels presents theater where different languages coexist without hierarchy, extending and interacting with each other. The stage becomes a space of observation open to the surprising and the unexpected, where attention to detail creates a renewed curiosity for the complexity of human existence.
About Gelsey Bell
Gelsey Bell is a singer, songwriter, sound artist, and scholar. She recently received a music/sound award from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, has had work included in PS1’s Greater New York exhibit, and has had both a commission and a residency from Roulette in Brooklyn. Her installation “Hakim’s Tale” (made with Philadelphia-based artist Erik Ruin) is currently on exhibit at the Eastern State Penitentiary. She has a PhD in Performance Studies and is currently completing a book on American experimental vocal music in the 1970s. She is the Co-Critical Acts Editor for TDR/The Drama Review and an Associate Editor for the Journal of Interdisciplinary Voice Studies. www.gelseybell.com