Performance Design as education of desire

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Given the institutionalisation of Performance Design as a study programme at Roskilde University, we take up the (educational) delights and challenges this implies. Confronted with the ubiquitous presence of pre-programmed desires we propose that Performance Design can play a role in the education of utopian desire. Such education offers a potential and systematic creation of spaces that enable us “to imagine wanting something else, something qualitatively different” (Levitas 2013: 113). Performance Design is uniquely suited to such an educational task, because it can function as a framework for not only designing alternative ways of being through affective interventions and estrangements, but also playing them out in performance.
In this contribution we address questions such as: Given its own ambivalence between affirmation and transformation, how does Performance Design relate to the utopian functions compensation, critique and the instigation of change? What kind of transformation/ intoxication does an institutionalized Performance Design allow for? As a place for systematic experimentation with experiences, what has Performance Design to offer the university and vice versa? And how is the exposure to affective estrangements turned into education?
In attempting to answer these questions, we draw on particular examples of performance design (such as work by Tomás Saraceno and Johannes Paul Raether), highlighting how they work with the parameters ‘time’, ‘space’ and ‘body’ and how this may form a basis for a programmatic (utopian) education of desire.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date15 Mar 2019
Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 2019
EventBetween Institution and Intoxication: How does Performance Philosophy Intervene? : 4th Biennial Performance Philosophy Conference - University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Duration: 14 Mar 201917 Mar 2019
Conference number: 4


ConferenceBetween Institution and Intoxication: How does Performance Philosophy Intervene?
LocationUniversity of Amsterdam
Internet address

Cite this

Petersen, F. B., & Haldrup, M. (2019). Performance Design as education of desire. Paper presented at Between Institution and Intoxication: How does Performance Philosophy Intervene? , Amsterdam, Netherlands.