Inaugural Lecture: Intermedial meaning-making in climate change theatre
The inaugural Lecture of the CLIC Lorand Chair Intermediality takes place at Kaaistudio’s on 25 September 2023. The text of a drama is part of literature, a written form of artistic expression frequently accessed in print. But dramas are usually written to be performed, that is, to become stage shows that enhance the meaning-making possibilities of combining media. Words, images, and sounds collaborate and merge in miraculous ways in the theater. What if this combination wants to affect viewers and listeners in ways that will let them leave the theater not simply as people that appreciate art, but as people that are open to perceiving theater as an intervention in social discourse and ethical debates?
Numerous playwrights who address climate change have been striving to develop innovative ways of representing their dramatic stage-worlds. They have been struggling to make us hear and see ideas such as dissolving the dividing lines between the human and the non-human. They have experimented with staging the unrepresentable long-term aggregation of data that we call climate. This talk on (anglophone) climate change theater will introduce you to a range of intermedial methods through which theater-makers may help us re-think our perspectives on surviving on Planet Earth.
Nassim W. Balestrini is Full Professor of American Studies and Intermediality at the University of Graz, Austria, where she also heads the Centre for Intermediality Studies in Graz (CIMIG). Her research focuses on intermediality and adaptation theory, life writing across media, hip hop, African American literature, and new approaches to the historiography of theater and poetry. Contemplating borders and mobility – be it between nations, cultures, languages, or media – informs much of her research. More recently, climate change theater has played a major role in her research and teaching. In this context, she has been exploring ways of collaborating with artists in order to integrate creative work into literary and cultural studies classroom.
The lecture is organised by the Centre for Literary and Intermedial Crossings (CLIC) in collaboration with Kaaitheater and weKONEKT.brussels. It is also integrated in the Multilingual Master of Linguistics and Literary Studies, “Storytelling: Dramaturgy and Screenwriting Research” (Prof. dr. Ronald Geerts). The lecture will be held in English but, during the Q&A, questions can be asked in Dutch, English, and German.