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Performance and Political Assembly at Jutland Art Academy

Teacher:Mary Coble, Artist
Number of available place for KUNO students: 4
Level: BA (open to all)

Application deadline: January 16th 2018 by 18:00
How to apply: 
Apply with a short motivation statement of 500 words or less as to why you would like to participate in the workshop and about your practice plus no more than 5 images (or a website link) of your own.
Send an Email to and please put "KUNO Workshop" in the subject line.

Teaching period: January 22nd-27th, 2018
·      Monday 22nd- Thursday 25th: Workshop from 10:00-16:00.

·      Saturday 27th: The workshop continues from 10:00-18:00 with a collaborative live performance as part of the seminar Acting in Numbers: Linking Photography, Performance and Activism held at The Jutland Art Academy.


Course description: This workshop is initiated by Mary Coble, artist and educator at Valand Academy, Gothenburg, SE.  The workshop will be held at Jutland Art Academy in Aarhus, Denmark on the occasion of the seminar arranged by Coble Acting in Numbers: Linking Photography, Performance and Activism.  (*See description below for more information on the seminar)

The workshop will be five days in totally which includes a collaboratively made live performance on the final day as part of the Acting in Numbers: Linking Photography, Performance and Activism Seminar.

The workshop will include three main elements:

1.    Thematic discussions and presentations

2.    Live performance research and preparation

3.    Live performance at Acting in Numbers: Linking Photography, Performance and Activism Seminar

1.Thematic discussions

Coble’s artistic research project for a number of years has resulted in multiple performances that explore the relationship between queer performance art and activism; looking at gestures of defiance such as the raised fist or protests where groups of people link arms and assemble together or times where single bodies defy structures of power; and humorous and performative acts of glitter bombing or radical cheerleading and clowning -labeled as “tactical frivolity” that bring a focus to more non-traditional forms of resistance as part of this research.  Drawing upon resistance as a foundation the workshop will also weave in and out of connections between the Trump administration’s rhetoric in relationship to the Scandinavian and European political climate including the rise of fascism, nationalism and pinkwashing.

The workshop will think along with and draw inspiration from other artists, activist groups and theorist such as: ACT-UP, Church Ladies for Choice, Clandestine Insurgent Rebel Clown Army, Black Lives Matter, The Water Warriors of Standing Rock, Shaun Leonardo, Sara Ahmed’s Living a Feminist Life, Judith Butler’s Notes Towards a Performative Theory of Assembly and Jack Halberstam’s Queer Art of Failure.

This will all be channeled through the political concepts that could be distilled specifically through the children’s schoolyard game Red Rover (which the live performance will be based on) such as contemporary urgencies of boundaries, barriers, fences and border control as well as the lines between play and violence and social control. (**See description below of the game Red Rover)

2. Performance preparation

The proposition of the performance has its foundation in the common schoolyard game Red Rover.  The workshop group will be performing according to a set of prepared, choreographed moves, which point to the game’s basic but complex elements of assembly, battle, election and strategy.  

A structure will be presented by Coble but then will be developed collaboratively with the workshop participants. The participants will work to learn a set of choreographed moves-that Coble will have created in advance of the workshop- but that then will be combined, modified or further developed together as a group. The workshop participants will work collaboratively to create a set of strategies that will give allow for control during the performance of the Red Rover game but would also allow for chance and spontaneity.  Anna and Lawrence Halprin’s concept of ‘scoring’ will be introduced and exercised as a process oriented method to experiment with and reflect on various aspects of the performance making process.

3. The live performance

The live performance will be a collaboratively developed work that will unfold during the workshop and will be presented on Saturday 27th as part of the seminar Acting in Numbers: Linking Photography, Performance and Activism held at Jutland Art Academy along with other thinkers and practitioners who will also be showing live works. The seminar is from 13:00-18:00 but the workshop group will meet earlier in the day to prepare.

The workshop will prepare the group conceptually, mentally and physically for this performance.  This workshop and performance will be physically demanding. However people of all abilities, fitness levels and experiences are encouraged to attend.  The workshop will be formulated to accommodate any need.  If there are any questions or concerns about this in advance, please feel free to email Mary Coble at

This workshop will be in English but all languages are welcomed and together we will figure out modes of translation and understanding.

This workshop will be lead by Mary Coble, artist and Senior Lecturer in Fine Art at Valand Academy. Embracing unpredictability, messiness and failure Coble has worked with performance art for over 17 years, through this time aiming to manifest problems of bodily, societal and symbolic navigation particularly focusing on issues of injustice and normative boundaries. Recurrent themes in Coble’s work revolve around queer politics and poetics often working site-specifically, research-based and - from time to time collectively/participatory.  Engagement in artistic practices and interventions within and outside of established institutions and the use of activist strategies are integral to Coble’s work.


*Acting in Numbers: Linking Photography, Performance and Activism Seminar:
During the exhibition period, the complex relations between art and activism as well as photography and performance will further be explored in a public seminar with other practitioners. The seminar will include Mary Coble who will present a live work and facilitate a panel discussion. Annika Lundgren will be presenting extracts from Winter is Coming - an investigation in progress, inquiring into the relationship between spiritualist practices and the new species of right wing populism that has been emerging in the political landscape over the last 15 years. The project belongs to Lundgrens work series State of Affairs which takes its starting point in various current phenomena and operates with the associative linking of ideas and theories to create new political perspectives. Artist Stense Andrea Lind-Valdan and Art Historian and critic Rune Gade will participate with a performative dialogue about their current collaborative project Fountain. This-in progress dialogue-will connect performance and photography as well as art history, artistic research and artistic practice into a productive, personal, and intimate dialogue.  Artist and Jutland Art Academy educator Nanna Gro Henningsen will present her 2017 work A European Afternoon – L’apres-midi d’Europe - A cycle of songs for unequal voices which draws on the myths of European history from the mythical greek origin of democracy to the history, politics and humanitarian crisis of contemporary Europe. The seminar will be moderated by the Judith Schwarzbart, Rector of The Jutland Art Academy

To read more visit:
**Red Rover played in the United States and elsewhere under various names such as Forcing the City Gates Octopus Tag and Send, O King, A Soldier.

There are two teams (team A and team B).  The members of team A line up side by side-holding hands or linking arms.  They stand opposite of and facing team B who is in the same configuration and is 15-20 meters away.

Team A elects a player from team B and together they yell ‘red rover, red rover send Mary (or someone’s name from the other team) right over’.  This person then has to leave team B, running or moving towards team A trying to break through their linked arms and clasped hands.  If this person successfully bursts through then they get to take one of the members of team A back with them to team B.  If this person is stopped from breaking through then this person must join team A-adding to their team size.

This routine continues until one team completely consumes the opposing team leaving a single mass of ‘the winning team’ verses two opposing sides. To note- Red Rover has been banned in many US schools today because of the violence and bullying that some think it promotes; others support the game citing the teamwork and strategic thinking that’s needed.


Examine the relationship between politics, activism and contemporary art as well as past and present strategies of protests.

Identify artistic approaches in Performance Art that aim to work through modes of activism.

Identify non traditional/normative protest strategies and how they may be learned from and expanded upon.

Collaborate on and perform in a live work as part the seminar Acting in Numbers: Linking Photography, Performance and Activism

Reflect on and describe the process of the live performance

Assessment:  Full commitment to attendance and participation. An evaluation of the workshop will be done together orally and in written form post workshop.

IMAGE CREDIT: Dag Fosse/KODE, From the live performance Red Rover, commissioned by KODE – Art Museums of Bergen and presented as part of 'Voices' Performance Weekend; Byparken/KODE 1, Bergen Norway.  This performance was conceived of by Mary Coble but this version was developed and performed in collaboration with Sónia Barreiro, Kelli Gedvil, Hildur Elísa Jónsdóttir, Margrethe Emilie Kühle, Milda Muktupāvela, Laure Plan, Amédine Sèdes, Siri Bertling Wiik