Playful communication. Entering the ludic field between theory and praxis

Triple workshop in Artistic research 

This exploratory event gathers together three projects that offer different perspectives on the question of the encounter with the other and define the so called ludic subjectivity. Through the study of communication, boundaries and ludic stance and with the aid of practical approaches of investigation combined with theoretical reflection, the three laboratories build a colourful mosaic of understanding the issue. Even though participation in all three days is an advantage, participants can choose respective workshops independently as well.

Sat, Sept 17th: The Ludic Stance, A. Koubová, K. Sjöström, 10:00 – 18:00, Studio Alta
Fri, Sept 16th: Tracing Pace, T. Kladný, 10:00 – 18:00, Studio Alta
Sun, Sept 18th: Spontaneous mind, J. Puc, 10:00 – 16:00, Studio Alta

Tracing Pace


A student of Edward T. Hall recorded a bunch of children playing in the yard and then analysed the recording at slow motion. Since then, E. T. Hall worked on the concept of synchronicity. It was bodily synchronicity children showed in spontaneous acting, and it was hardly perceptible by eyes. This leads us to investigation of relations bodies assume in communication. Instead of subjectivity and intersubjectivity we now focus on conditions of successful communication based on bodily cooperation. We want to investigate these conditions.

As we have to scrutinize situations created by bodies, we choose constructionist approach in revealing patterns. With emphasis on situations, we follow the approach of the School of Palo Alto in assigning characteristics to situations instead of individuals. We can then name a situation as depressive or schizophrenic or else. Here and there, observable bodily responses might be similar to those of whom we call depressive or else. Primarily, we want to see adaptation of an acting body to a collectively created situation.

First step in our experimental workshop is freeing ourselves from conventional use of our bodies. We will mind just what we are doing ourselves; when we need to cooperate, we will try. Happy solitude is what we might call body without excessive emotion and mind without excessive thought. We pose it as a condition for a body to be ready to cooperate.

One concern of philosophical interest is how come that bodies are behaving conventionally, when conventions are matters of articulated agreement. In line with this thought, we might argue that rules of nonverbal communication describe behaviours that are imposed on bodies. We might be better off speaking of habit instead of convention. Former pertains to the body, latter to language.

If we accept that a body creates dimensions (Umwelt), in which it acts, then it is somewhat problematic to think of synchronicity in relation to time. We find inspiration in rhythmanalysis and Piaget’s constructionism. Individuals acting simultaneously in one place can work together, when they share similar perceptions of time and space. Body lives in rhythm, develops and appropriates rhythms. Moving body measures space. One space can be many. Time appears to be derived. Children tend, inadvertently, to forget about time when they are measuring/acting in, usually, a small space.

We are on the border of performing arts and daily life. We need to observe bodies in motion. We put constraints on bodies, which then need to develop directions for acting/performing. We’ll observe, if there happens to occur alignment of these directions. We are looking for simplest situations that put initial constraints on performance in psychotherapeutic cases of Milton Ericson, koans, and works of Samuel Beckett, whose relation to koans was analysed by Paul Foster.

Registration: Please send a e-mail to before September 7th (extended deadline). The workshop is free of charge.

Venue: Studio ALTA, Prague, Sept 16th, 10:00 – 18:00

The Ludic Stance

No paper conference

The concept of play and playfulness is pervasive in contemporary philosophy as well as in the discourse of acting exercises. It deconstructs the ego-centred thinking in philosophy and ego-centrism in actors’ work. Ludic thinking allows us to focus on the interplay and the situation, to enter consciously into fictional worlds, to question the idea of a unified ”objective reality” and to generate new meanings. The ludic stance can be seen, in relation to the self, as questioning one’s persistence or investigating one’s potential for change.  To better understand ludic subjectivity and attitude, we want to explore the link between the theoretical conceptions of play (Nietzsche, Fink, Gadamer, Wittgenstein, Derrida, Huizinga) and the practical approaches of the actor in her relation to the role (Stanislavski’s magic if, Brecht’s Verfremdung, avantgarde holy theatre, Vasiljev’s ludic theatre, Lehmann’s  post-dramatic theatre). Can we learn more about ludic subjectivity and ludic approaches to acting through intertwining practical exercises and philosophical discussions? If we discuss play, can the discussion itself remain playful? What form does “seriousness” take when generated by a ludic stance? Can artists benefit from verbalizing their experience? Can theoreticians benefit from corporeal exercises?

The workshop will combine participants’ contributions and a ready-made framework consisting of practical exercises and theoretical framing. Each participant is expected to come up with a 15 minute long no-paper contribution (performative, discursive, explanatory, interactive) addressing theoretical or practical aspects of the ludic. These contributions will represent a crucial part of the workshop material and will be thoroughly worked out, discussed, used and allowed to interact with other contributions. The programme is a follow-up to the workshops Observe! Imitate? Be yourself? (Prague 2015, Malmö 2016, Bremen 2016) and investigates new facets of ludic approach.

Participants: The number of participants is limited to 10. Participants are welcome whether their background is theoretical, practical or both. Please send a short CV and your proposal (150 words max.) to and before July15. The workshop is free of charge thanks to the support of organizing institution.

Organizers: Alice Koubová (Institute of Philosophy, Czech Academy of Sciences), PhD in philosophy, researcher and lecturer at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague. Area of focus: performance philosophy, theory of self-identity, phenomenology. Practitioner in ludic theatre. Kent Sjöström (Malmö Theatre Academy, Lund University, Sweden), PhD in Fine Arts in Theatre, researcher and lecturer. Area of focus: reflective practice in acting and arts, methodology in artistic research, enaction and movement.

Venue: Studio ALTA, Prague, Sept 17th, 10:00 – 18:00

Spontaneous mind

Experiential laboratory

“Normally the mind doesn’t know that it’s rejecting the first answers. If I didn’t ask her immediately, she’d deny that she was substituting better words.” (K. Johnstone)

The workshop explores human ability to act and react without clear idea what to do, and to become aware of impulses that are usually denied to awareness. We will ask how our behaviour, thought, feelings and perception of ourselves and others change if we realize these “first answers”.

The intention of the organiser is to offer exercises that support and demand spontaneous investment of participants and thanks to which we can step out of the comfort zone of our usual reactions and behaviour. We will use variations of simple improvisational exercises to get to contact with the first impulses out of which our action may be born again. We will also explore the connection between different attitudes and the course of our experiencing. The inspiration for the exercises is drawn from the movement and theatre praxis of R. Zaporah, V. Spolin, K. Johnstone and I. Vyskočil.

The format of “experiential laboratory” makes use of a certain attitude and method. We will conduct a series of exercises and then we will try to term how the mind worked during them. At the end, we will try to relate our fresh experiences to several psychological and philosophical theories concerning creativity, playfulness and the unconscious.

Registration: The number of participants is limited to 12. Participants are welcome whether their background is theoretical, practical or both. No previous experience with improvisation needed. Please send a short CV (150 words max.) to before September 7th (extended deadline). The workshop is free of charge.

Organizer: Jan Puc (Institute of Philosophy, Czech Academy of Sciences), PhD candidate in Philosophy; research topics: phenomenology of corporeality, human expressivity, individuality and self-understanding, creativity.

Venue: Studio ALTA, Prague, Sept 18th, 10:00 – 16:00