Tag Archives: presence

Homo Ludens – The Playing Body

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An exploration of our physical relationship to media technology

October’s DwD session was hosted by Antje Budde of the Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studiesat the University of Toronto, affiliated with and inspired by the exhibition “SPLICE: At the Intersection of Art and Medicine” curated by KMDI Fellow and international artist Nina Czegledy.









Digital technology has a drastic impact on our lives and the way we communicate with each other. This has strong implications for how we engage our bodies in our communication, especially now that we are in constant contact with mobile computing devices. Through a series of live and mediatized physical exercises facilitated by theatre performers, this workshop will explore the role that our physical bodies play in this shifting technological context. 

Do we have to fear new developments or can we courageously embrace them? How can we maintain control over our bodies and body images? Playfulness and a healthy dose of doubt are a perfect mix to keep an empowering distance between us and the at times overwhelming demands of the multitude of devices now attached to our bodies and minds.

The workshop was created by the Digital Dramaturgy Lab (Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies at UofT) and SLICE. The session will be conducted in collaboration with graduate students from UofT, York University and emerging local artists from Pandemic Theatre in Toronto, including: Art Babayants, Aidan Dahlin Nolan, Douglas Hamilton, Myrto Komarianous, Kat Letwin, Montgomery Martin, Tara Ostiguy, and Michael Reinhardt. 
Opening dialogue with roughly 50 participants inviting performance and participation.
One group improvised by performing and recording soundscapes (of city, farm, office, factory) with found materials. In the auditorium, the second half of the group built human shape tableaux to structure these same settings,
Presentation of the soundscape and human shape video mix, followed with inquiry and dialogue into the experience.


Antje Budde, a graduate from Humboldt-University, Berlin and the Central Academy of Drama, Beijing, is an Associate Professor at the Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies at the University of Toronto. She is currently in the process of establishing the Digital Dramaturgy Lab in association with her home department and Knowledge Media Design Institute (KMDI). Her upcoming experimental performance piece “Artaud’s Cage” is investigating the possibilities and challenges of audio-visual motion tracking technology in live performance and will be presented as part of the conference “The Future of Cage: Credo” which will take place at the end of October 2012 in Toronto.

Nonviolent Communication: Moving from Stuckness to Possibility

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What If You Had the Answer All Along?

Henry Wai of the Center for Nonviolent Communication conducted the March 2012 DwD with Patricia Kambitsch of Playthink .


The session engaged people in interpersonal interactions that revealed the principles of nonviolent communication (NVC). NVC is a technique for opening possibility in areas of life where individuals experience being stuck or frustrated. When provided with an empathic space, such as created in the workshop, an innate resourcefulness in the person is freed up for opening up possibility at work, home, or community.

Henry Wai’s hands-on workshop explored:

  • How common thinking and habitual patterns limit our capacity for constructive possibility
  • A simple and powerful approach to get to the heart of issues
  • How this insight serves as the basis for creative action

The workshop held three seminar sessions with a total participation of about 40 people. Methods for exploring empathy and listening in communication included dyad and triad exercises and the NVC Feelings / Values cards.


Visual reflection by Patricia Kambitsch.

Online References:

Henry Wai helps people to work effectively, compassionately and with vitality. He has 25 years of experience leading trainings, developing programs and delivering direct service in areas such as housing and food co-ops, volunteer management, adult education, social enterprise and employment counselling. Henry’s experience includes working with individuals, teams and boards from diverse cultures and backgrounds. For 10 years Nonviolent Communication has been a very powerful addition to his approach which emphasizes self-awareness, choice, relational skills and ways to build co-operation in both work and personal settings. Henry is a Certified Trainer with the Center for Nonviolent Communication.  More recently he has been exploring contact improvisation dance for lessons in finding ways through stuckness or awkwardness.

Dialogue with Clowns

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February 2011 DwD featured nonverbal participatory social presence, led by Heidi Madsen (Columbus, Ohio), Elsa Lam (Dzieci Theatre Troupe), and Patricia Kambitsch (Playthink).

Some of the exercises required attentive listening beyond hearing. Dexter Ico captures Four Clowns at  Bus Stop, performed here by all participants. The “lead clown” is given a scenario, the others, without peeking, peripherally pick up on the behavior and act the part until they all, somehow, learn together the scenario without it ever having been communicated. This is as funny as it sounds …

May DwD 05.12.10 The Presence Workshop

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The May Design with Dialogue featured The Presence Workshop was hosted by Dexter Ico.

The Presence Workshop is about play and public speaking.  It’s experiential, intensive, and spontaneous; having fun with the serious.  It’s about sensing your self and censoring your self-doubt, because the knowledge you communicate to others is also always felt.  People listen to presence, let’s practice speaking from it.