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Dossier Building Conversation (in English)


The way we speak influences the future we create
– Building Conversation

Building Conversation is run by a collective of artists, all in there own way fascinated by what happens when we talk with each other.

Inspired by conversation techniques from all over the world they execute and perform different conversations together with participants in cities all over Europe

Building Conversation calls attention to how we converse with one another.

Building Conversation is a ritual, a way of behaving, an exercise.

Building Conversation is like a collective free fall; you engage in conversation tougher without knowing where you will end up.

Building Conversation is developed by a collective of artists.

Building Conversation is performed and kept going by a growing group of people who are all fascinated by what happens when you meet in conversation.

About Building Conversation

… A dialogical artwork

Building Conversation is a dialogical artwork.

The conversation is the artwork itself, a performance. Inspired by conversation techniques from all over the world, we execute and perform different conversations together with participants in cities all over Europe. Doing so we explore, together with everybody who wants to join in, how we talk and how we could talk with each other.

We focus mainly on the basic conditions of a conversation, like the space where the conversation takes place, the length of a conversation, the way we introduce or reflect upon the conversation, the chairs we sit on and the way we physically relate to each other in space. We play, you could say, with these so called preconditions. What happens when we put away the table, start moving, leave out the words, stand opposite each other or lay down together? And, how is the way we speak influencing the content we generate and the thoughts we create?

The different performative conversations we offer are executed/performed by the participants and guided by us. In an extensive and accurate introduction the form is being explained to and prepared together with the participants. By doing so the form is completely given to the participants. The participants will develop the content by themselves.

… A collective of artists

 Building Conversation is run by a collective of artists and initiated by theatre maker Lotte van den Berg and visual artist Daan ’t Sas. ‘How do we speak and how could we speak with each other?’ is the central question of this long-term project. At every stage of Building Conversation, we invite participating audiences to take part in the conversations and to explore together with us what happens if we meet through conversation. We approach a conversation as a work of art, as a joint creation, a collective improvisation.

Inspired by the conversational techniques and rituals of people from all over the world – such as the Inuits, the Maoris, a quantum physicist and the Occupy movement – and in response to the theories of contemporary philosophers such as Bruno Latour and Chantal Mouffe, we are building up a repertoire of performative conversations.

 In the past years more than 300 conversations have been conducted in The Netherlands, Germany, Croatia, France, Hungary, Italy and elsewhere. Our aim is to continue developing Building Conversation with as many partners as possible in the Netherlands and abroad. Convinced of the power and effect of this concept, we are challenging ourselves to continue developing new forms and getting new audiences and partners involved.

…Participating artists (March 2017)

Building Conversation are Lotte van den Berg, Daan ’t Sas, Peter Aers, Andreas Bachmair, Ewout Bomert, Bart Capelle, Katja Dreyer, Adelijn van Huis, Floor van Leeuwen, Sodja Lotker, Dennis Molendijk, Jonathan Offereins, Bart van Rosmalen, Iwona Soczewka, Marija Sujica and Justina Wielgus.

7 Performative Conversations

Building Conversation has a total of seven performative conversations on its repertoire. All conversations are embedded in a specific course of events. We follow this course as a ritual and do not only focus on the conversation itself. The introduction, the preparation, the walks and the drinks afterwards are all equally important; they frame the conversation and highlight the experience.

Conversation without words (max. 15 people), inspired on the practice of the Inuit. More information

Thinking together – an experiment (max. 30 people), inspired on the theory and practice of quantum physicist David Bohm. More information

The agonistic conversation (max. 20 people), inspired on the theory of Chantal Mouffe and the practice of the Maori. More information

The impossible conversation (max. 20 people), inspired on the practice of Jesuit monks. More information

Parliament of Things (max. 20 people), inspired on the theory of Bruno Latour and the practice of the Aboriginals. More information

Time Loop (max. 20 people), inspired on the practice of Indians from the Great Lake District in Canada. More information

General Assembly (no maximum), inspired on the practice of the Occupy movement. More information

…Course of events

  1. gathering at the meeting space
  2. walk to the conversation space
  3. introduction and preparation of the conversation
  4. performative conversation
  5. walk back to the meeting space
  6. sharing food and drinks

…Conversation space

Each performance requires a specific location / space. For example: The Conversation without words needs a small and closed off space, Thinking together – an experiment needs a bigger and open space.

We try to use spaces in the city that connect directly to the city (empty shops, offices, churches, community-spaces, galleries etc.). It is also possible to use theater-spaces and studio’s. The space should be empty (without tribune). A technical rider with more specific information is available upon request.

…Meeting space

We prefer to meet the participants outside, in a public space. This can be on the pavement in front of the theater, or more stand alone somewhere in city center. The place where people meet beforehand is preferably not the space where the conversation takes place, because the walk towards the conversation space (and back) is an important part of the trajectory.


The conversation takes place in a focused and concentrated timeframe. The trajectory prior to and following the ending of the conversation takes place in a less concentrated timeframe. This allows for a shared concentration and takes care of the ‘zooming in and out’ of the group.


We think it’s important that the conversation takes place in the participant’s mother tongue. If a conversation can’t be covered – for linguistic reasons – by a member of the existing team of Building Conversation (Dutch, German, English and French) we consult whether it is possible to invite new (local) guides to join the team, who will then receive some training to be able to be part of the project.

 …A participants network, a long-term project

In the near future we intend to create a platform where experiences of both artists and participants are collected and shared. With our presenting partners we consult how to capture these experiences deriving from the conversations and how they will be presented.

…Some testimonials by participants

“Because I could literally jump from one era to another, I saw that it is also possible to live with the future in mind right now.”
Margriet Vloet was involved in the development of Time Loop

“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 van Kreij was involved in the development of Time Loop

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 participated in Thinking together – an experiment

More testimonials on

Financial information

The fee for one conversation/performance is excluding transport, accommodation, travel and sejours for a production manager and one guide/performer.

Other possible additional costs, depending on what is provided for by the inviting organization:

– If needed: preperational location visit(s)

– Catering for a simple dinner for all participants

– Casting and coaching of new (local) guides if needed

– Adjustments to conversation-spaces if needed (material and builders/building team)

It is possible to book multiple conversations and a diverse range of conversations on one day or during several days in order to provide the experience to larger audience.

Contact information

Building Conversation / Third Space
Tolhuisweg 2
1031 CL Amsterdam

General manager: Anne Douque
0031 6 19634421

Production manager: Yola Parie
0031 6 26837490

PR and communication: Harmen van Twillert
0031 6 42294422 /