Together with my daughter Lisa Scheers we participated in the conference ‘With Children: The Child as Collaborator and Performer’  Leeds Beckett University, 28thOf January 2017  with the provocation “Why do you think that you but not me should be on stage?”

Performed by: Lisa Scheers (10 years old) and Carolien Hermans (47 years old)

The provocation is a dialogue in words and movements centred on the question: What is the difference between a child and an adult in performing on stage?’ Difference refers here to the traditional binary and oppositional thinking (child versus adult, short versus tall, responsible versus irresponsible, serious versus playful, knowledge versus innocence). Difference, as traditionally defined, is in essence oppositional thinking based on fixed identities (Thiele, 201).  Deleuze suggests to look at the process of difference in itself: ‘Difference does not merely start between things/identities, but everything, has to be thought as always already differing with(in) itself’ (Thiele, 2011, p.5).

We propose here to see our collaboration/dialogue as “a pure movement of differences, a perpetual, unpredictable and open-ended becoming” (Grosz, 2005, p.49). We question our performativity, as well as the kind of imagery we project unto the audience.  Lisa and I have an open dialogue on our working process: we discuss what we like (aesthetically) and what we don’t like. We also discuss who is to make (political) decisions and how we need to deal with the power relationship between us.

We have five challenges (each of two minutes) in this provocation. The following questions are the starting point of each challenge between Lisa and Carolien.

(1) What can you do what I can’t do?
(2) Why should people look at you instead of me?
(3) To the child: what kind of an adult are you? To the adult: what kind of child are you?
(4) Give one good reason why you should be here today?
(5) What is essential of being a child? What is essential of being an adult? Show in movement.

The provocation is a combination of a live presentation and a video of our working process.

For video, see below:


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