Carl von Winckelmann: 'Mise en relation'

Doctoral Project

Carl von Winckelmann, PhD in the Arts

My research looks at how to give a posthumanist perspective a fundamental place in theatre practice. Not thematically but on the level of the everyday artistic work. How can one perform and create theatre from a non-anthropocentric attitude? My main focus in answering this question are the interactions with non-human actants and material reality. Which attitudes, techniques, methods... does one need to form equal relations with the nonhuman in theatre? (Chosen, like props, or just present, e.g. in the architecture of a performance space.) And what is the impact of this way of performing/creating on the artistic work and also on the development of the ethos and politics of the people that practice in this manner?

A posthumanist practice will stimulate posthumanist ethics. Decentralizing the human re-values fragility, humility, playfulness and a ‘heteronomous autonomy’. Practicing theatre in this way might help us to acknowledge and embrace a relational reality, including non-human agency. It isn’t necessarily political art thematically, it is art done politically as it focuses on an inclusive, nonhierarchical and relational performativity.

The starting points of this research are in line with new materialism and the material turn. The issues provoked by this perspective are already more prominent in the discourse of contemporary dance and performance art. My research wants to bring this movement into 'more classical’, text and dialogue based, forms of theatre.


  • Dr. Bart Philipsen (supervisor, KU Leuven)
  • Mr. Peter Anthonissen (co-supervisor, LUCA)

Research unit: Music & Drama

Duration: 2018 - 2022