Fortress: Undo

A Choreographed Participative Event by Philippine Hoegen

Date: 12-10-2017

Location: AKV St Joost, Den Bosch

Duration: 3 hours

Created in close collaboration with students of AKV St Joost Breda: Lisanne van Brakel, Max van de Meulengraaf and Nika van Woenzel

Performers/participants: Wies Paree, Bo Stokkermans, Joris Roosen, Ian van den Broek, Harm In t Groen, Aegir van de Loo, Lisanne van Brakel, Nine Postema, Maud Nederkoorn, Joris Jansen, Yason Moeniralam, Indy Fortuijn Charlotte Bol, Sid Dankers, Mara Varelaki, Nika van Woenzel, Max van den Meulengraaf

Dear all, 
welcome, thank you for joining. My name is Philippine Hoegen and I will be your guide this afternoon.

You now found yourself in a choreographed event, which revolves around a Fortress of objects. The aim of today’s event is to undo this Fortress, by adopting the objects that compose it, carefully liberating them, and allowing ourselves to be transformed by them.

This is a way to communicate something of the research I am doing for the lectoraat, this research has the title ‘The self as a relational infrastructure in process” and I am looking at the production of different versions of ourselves (what I call ‘versioning’), the technologies and processes used to produce these versions, and how the existence of these multiple versions affects how we perceive the self.

I have recently become especially interested in the role that objects play in this notion of versioning, the way that objects transform us as much as we transform them, the fact that our relationship to objects is never neutral because we are inscribed and shaped by belief systems, conventions and subjectivities, and we bring all those objects into those systems. By opening ourselves up to the notion that objects are able to shape us as much as we shape them, allowing them to transform us, we may learn something about those subjectivies and conventions that we tend to take as truth, rather than as belief.

I call this event choreographed because there is a preconceived idea of the trajectory, there is a structure in place, but ultimately you will all, individually and as a group, determine what happens. You will figure out your own relationship to one or more objects, and you will have to answer for yourself the question of what moves you, what holds you and how can you open your mind to the idea of transformation, how can you both trigger and undergo a transformation with or through an object.

This will take a leap of imagination on your side. This will mean leveling some fortresses in ourselves. The fortress that has taught us that we manipulate objects, not the other way round. But also the fortress that tells us we are unique and unchangeable individuals.

There is perhaps also the fortress of performing. For me, and this is also an important part of the research, performance is a way of thinking which involves the physical: a gesture, the speech act, a lived experience. This means that beyond being an artistic medium, performance is a research strategy, applicable to a multitude of issues or (research) questions. The aim of today is to let you experience how that works, and how it can work for you. I know this is not easy. It’s important that everyone finds their own way to do this, if it helps to work together or in pairs, feel free, if you want to confer, or if I can help in any way, please ask.


To guide our process we will use prompts or instructions, a sort of manual to help us through the trajectory. In performance, these kind of prompts are called Scores. The scores are easy to find, they are hanging in the Fortress and will be revealed page by page.

This is what the process will look like:

First we’ll do a little warming up, the we will explore the Fortress. Having done that we will start to bond with certain objects, and the choose which ones to adopt. You can work individually or make pairs or groups at any time during the process.

Then we will liberate our objects of choice from the Fortress. Now we have freed them, we will try to figure out how we can interact with these objects, how they can transform us.

The aim of that process will be to try to perform these transformations, repeating them over and over, all at once, in a sort of Mass Performance.

Finally we will gather for a conversation about what we did.


During the entire process, there will be declamations.

A declamation, comes from the Latin for "declaration", was a type of rhetoric in ancient  Rome, and an important part of the Roman higher education system. There were different sub-types, one of them the controversia, speeches of defense or prosecution in fictitious court cases.

The controversia normally consisted of several elements: an imaginary law, a theme which introduced a tricky legal situation, and an argument which records a successful speech on the topic. It was normal for students to use examples from Roman history and legend to support their case.

As a critical part of rhetorical education, declamation's influence was widespread in Roman elite culture. Besides its didactic role, it is also a performative genre: public declamations were visited by famous people, and some people became famous as star declaimers.

Today we have a collection of Declamations to accompany our trajectory. Each fits a particular phase. And we have a machine here that will give you a variation on your own voice, a different version of your voice. I will be looking for volunteers to declaim!

The declamations can be repeated as many times as we like, or you can use them in your own way as a text to speak or just as something to mess around with…

Agent and Informer
Image and Word
Fotress: Undo
  • Fotress: Undo
  • Fotress: Undo
  • Fotress: Undo
  • Fortress: Undo
Works with these label(s) House Works Display Exhibition Research