UCLA Center for European and Russian Studies (CERS) in co-sponsorship with UCLA Department of Theater present the 2023 Van Tilburg Lecture in Dutch Studies Instances of Reciprocal Illumination: Thinking-Making Through the Theater by Maaike Bleeker, Professor of Theater and Performance Studies, Utrecht University. The lecture took place on February 23, 2023 and was made possible by a generous gift in 2005 from Johannes and Jo Anne Van Tilburg to the Dutch Studies Program at UCLA, for the establishment in perpetuity of the annual Johannes Van Tilburg Lecture in Dutch Studies.
In his book Experts, surgeon Roger Kneebone shows how collaborations between experts from radically different fields—for example, surgeons and lacemakers—may bring about what he terms instances of ‘reciprocal illumination’. A shared interest in stitching provides a point of connection that allows these practices to inform one another in unexpected ways. This lecture shows how developments in the performing arts in the Netherlands during the past decades have contributed to a productive ecology for such moments of cross-disciplinary illumination, within the theater and between the theater and other fields. Looking at experimental practices within the theater as well as collaborations between the performing arts and radically different fields, including robotics and science, this lecture shows how the theater sets the stage for new insights to emerge from material and embodied practices of what anthropologist Tim Ingold calls ‘thinking through making’.
Maaike Bleeker is a professor of Theater and Performance Studies at Utrecht University where she also serves as Director of Research of the Institute for Cultural Inquiry (ICON). Her work engages with questions of perception, cognition and agency from an interdisciplinary perspective, with a special interest in embodiment, movement, and technology. She is principal investigator of Acting Like a Robot: Theater as Testbed for the Robot Revolution (funded by the Dutch Organization for Scientific Research NWO, see Performing Robots). Her most recent book Doing Dramaturgy. Thinking Through Practice (2023) has just been published by Palgrave.
Photograph of Maaike Bleeker by João Florêncio.
About the Van Tilburg Lectures
In 2005, Johannes Van Tilburg and his wife, Jo Anne, gave the Dutch Studies Program at UCLA a remarkably generous gift to establish in perpetuity the Johannes Van Tilburg Lecture in Dutch Studies. Mr. Van Tilburg came to the USA from The Netherlands in 1965. In 1971, he became the founding principal of Van Tilburg, Banvard & Soderbergh, AIA and has led this 100 person firm to the forefront of planning and design. His work as a designer is widely recognized throughout the state and indeed the entire country. In 1992, he was honored by his peers and elevated to the level of Fellow of the American Institution of Architects. In 2007, Johannes Van Tilburg was honored by the Netherlands America Foundation of Southern California. He is deeply committed to education and continues to work as an adjunct Professor in the School of Policy, Planning, and Development at USC. Mr. Van Tilburg was appointed Honorary Consul for Southern California on behalf of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, serving from 2010-2014.
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