BUILDING CONVERSATION – Lotte van den Berg, Daan ‘t Sas & Peter Aers

TIME Sat. 12 & Sun. 13 September 11.00h and 16.00h (open rehearsal Fri. 11 Sept. 16.00h)
MEETING PLACE Refshalevej 171B, Refshaleøen, Copenhagen K
DURATION Up to 4 hours
CATEGORY Conversation


”The way we speak influences the future we create”

Words are extremely powerful and are constantly changing our world. But how aware are we of how we use them? And of how we talk to each other? And do we actually need more words at all?

Building Conversation reframes our conversations with techniques from around the world. Inspired by traditions from indigenous people in Canada and Australia, from the Jesuits, as well as modern techniques from quantum physics and contemporary philosophy, Building Conversation is experimenting with creating new conditions for our conversations.

How does the way we speak affect the content and the thoughts we create? For example, when we remove the table, move around, or change the perspective from our present to our past or future? Or when we no longer put humans at the centre, but give objects and phenomena around us an equal voice?

Building Conversation is a dialogical artwork, where the conversation is the artwork itself. And where the format and the participants create the content.

It was magical to put life on ‘hold’ for a while and withdraw into an exciting but safe bubble, where we all were responsible for the proceedings of the gathering. It made me aware that peaceful coexistence is not as easy as I would like to think, in the sense that it was frustratingly confrontational.
Meggie, Thinking Together

Building Conversation Metropolis


With Building Conversation, we focus on the future. The impossible, uncertain future that is difficult to talk about. In this corona situation, many questions are asked about the way we have organised ourselves in society.

For Metropolis, Building Conversation is a natural and necessary follow-up on the experiences from this summer’s 100-day walking project Wa(l)king Copenhagen, where 100 artists have studied the condition of the city and its inhabitants during this special time. With these experiences in the bag, it is now time to look ahead. How do we create the future? What alternatives can we imagine?

The art space is a place where one can think freely and experiment. Reflect and reform. Thus, with Building Conversation in Copenhagen, we want to create a think tank for those of you who wish to rethink the structures of society and create new perspectives for the future.

Time Loop makes the issues of the day disappear into the background for a while. When you think about how people from different eras would view a current issue, you discover new perspectives, and today’s convictions become less self-evident. That’s very enlightening and inspiring.
Stijn, Time Loop


Building Conversation Metropolis


We open this think tank to a total of 150 curious and communicating people over a weekend. The conversations are guided by a team of local artists and creative, reflective people, who we subsequently send on tour around the country with Building Conversation to perhaps create a new world order.

The four conversations we conduct are:

Parliament of Things
Time Loop
Thinking Together – an Experiment
Impossible Conversation on the Future

  • You cannot pre-register for a specific conversation.
  • Two conversations are held at the same time, one in Danish and one in English.
  • For each conversation there is room for 10-18 participants. There will be good distance and the format and frame are adapted to the current corona situation.
  • The actual conversation lasts approx. 2.5 hours, but with introduction and closing ritual, you must set aside 4 hours in total. As part of the closing, a light meal is served.
  • No prerequisites are required to participate. However, the format requires active participation on your part, so you must feel like and be open to being part of the conversation. Minimum age is 16 years.
  • Participation is free. At the end, there will be an opportunity to make a voluntary donation to the project.
  • You can only sign up yourself. If you are a couple or group who wants to participate, you must each fill out the registration form.




Building Conversation Metropolis


Parliament of Things
Can we challenge the anthropocentric worldview that places humans at the centre of the universe to examine the relationship between humans and non-human objects? Parliament of Things investigates what happens if we let objects and phenomena speak for themselves.

The conversation technique is inspired by the French philosopher Bruno Latour, who advocates that objects have their own rights and values. Parliament of Things is also inspired by the worldwide practice Council of All Beings, which especially examines our relationship to nature, i.a. built on the aboriginals’ tradition of relating to plants, clouds and mountains as their ancestors.

Time Loop
Time Loop allows us to look at current dilemmas from different time perspectives. We are usually very short-sighted when we make decisions. What would it mean for our decision-making processes if we could expand our sense of the time we live in? A group of indigenous people in Canada first consult their ancestors seven generations back and then their descendants seven generations later before making important decisions. And only then do they examine what the decision will mean here and now. Can connecting to the distant past make us relate to the abstract future?

Thinking Together – an Experiment
We never think alone, but always in relation to the thoughts of others, says the American quantum physicist David Bohm. And in conversations, we examine and adjust the patterns of this common thinking. He has studied the chaos of particles and the underlying order and uses his knowledge to understand the same mechanisms in gatherings of people. Similarly, when participants in large gatherings speak together without a moderator, there is chaos with an underlying order, and if we make room for the frustrations and disagreements that chaos shows us, we can build a common consciousness on our opposites.

Impossible Conversation on the Future
How do you talk about the future? About something that does not yet exist? For this conversation, the inspiration comes from the Jesuits, who developed a conversation technique to discuss abstract concepts. It involves slowing down together and connecting personal views by writing, reading and speaking together.

Building Conversation Metropolis


In 2013, Dutch theatre maker Lotte van den Berg, visual artist Daan ‘t Sas and Peter Aers started developing Building Conversation. Out of a great interest in conversation techniques from different cultures and a curiosity about how conversation works as a meeting place, their research began with the question: How do we talk to each other?

Building Conversation has since grown to a collective of artists, who approach a conversation as a work of art, as a joint creation, a collective improvisation, where the audience is invited to take part. More than 300 conversations have been conducted all over Europe.

Read more about Building Conversation.

Third Space and Metropolis trains a facilitator taskforce based in Denmark, who can conduct conversations and who will moderate Building Conversation in Copenhagen: performance artist Mette Aakjær, choreographer/dancer/anthropologist Phyllis Akinyi, anthropologist/performance artist Maja Ejrnæs, poet Shekufe Tadayoni Heiberg, visual artist Georg Jagunov, action philosopher Oleg Koefoed, performance artist Annika B. Lewis, performance artist Vera Maeder, beekeeper/anthropologist Oliver Maxwell, performance artist Nanna Rosenfeldt-Olsen, and interdisciplinary artist and activist Fedaa Sultan.


Presented with the support of Performing Arts Fund NL




Photos: Third Space and Jannes Linders