Friday, July 3, 2015

Consciousness, Theatre, Literature and the Arts

I’d like to express my gratitude to St. Francis College for hosting the Sixth International Conference on Consciousness, Theatre, Literature and the Arts, 10-12 June 2015.

Over the course of three days and after a year of preparation Daniel Meyer-Dinkgräfe, conference co-organizer, and I had above seventy conference delegates and participants from more than twenty countries, ranging from the United States and Europe, to Russia, the Middle East, the Far East, and Australia as well as Africa.

About twenty panels spanned areas of academic inquiry, from film, narrative, music, art, poetry, drama, theatre, and of course consciousness studies.

The two evening performances were highlights of the conference. Wednesday featured Aurelia Baumgartner, the “dancing philosopher,” and others whose finely crafted and choreographed performance can only be described as art and music in motion. On Thursday evening we were treated to the one-woman performance poetry of Kimmika Williams-Witherspoon who delivered a riveting account of her African-American family across generations.

Keynote speakers included Daniel Meyer-Dinkgräfe, who addressed the question: Can there be theatre without conflict? The other keynote speakers included Aurelia Baumgartner and Kimmika Williams-Witherspoon who discussed their work on the mornings after their performances. Plenary sessions included Karen Saillant, who offered a moving narrative about her work in opera theatre, together with some very memorable images; Thomas Phillips and Ken Kirschner, who performed computerized, minimalistic music live; and Marc Silberschatz, who conducted a workshop on interactive play.

Photos of the conference can be found here.

A video of Aurelia Baumgartner’s performance is here