Palinuro, DV configuration (video still)

Palinuro, HD configuration (video still)








a digital cross-departmental project from Sandberg Instituut, the University of Amsterdam (MA International Dramaturgy), and Amsterdam Conservatory (Electronic Music Academy and Pop Academy), April 15th - June 4th


and Palinurus, to you he went, though you had no sin,
and he came carrying to you a sombre dream.
Virgil The Aeneid 5.840-41

How do we relate to the gaps in a story, a history, a myth? Do we fill them with our personal speculations? Do we try to sense their edges and listen to their echo?  

In this digital cross-departmental project students from Sandberg Instituut, the University of Amsterdam (MA International Dramaturgy), and Amsterdam Conservatory (Electronic Music Academy and Pop Academy) take the video artwork inspired by the myth of Palinurus by multimedia artist Nol de Koning as its jumping off point.

For this project students are invited to create in small groups digital operatic shorts  through a process of translation, reworking, undoing or abandoning Palinuro by Nol de Koning. Central are the myth of Palinurus and the speculative approach of De Koning. In the tutorials we will look at different dramaturgical methods and philosophical frames around questions of historication and speculative practices. How does our understanding of our current time allow us to imagine a future, a past or a different present? How do we imagine our relation to past, present and future? We take De Koning’s long and personal fascination with the myth of Palinurus as inspiration. Students are encourages during the creation process to via form find their own relationship the question: Where lie the gaps in our imagination and how do we deal with them?

Palinurus the helmsman of the ship of Aeneas is a fleeting passage in the epic poem the Aeneid by Virgil written between 29 and 19 BC. Overcome by sleep Palinurus falls overboard and for three days he is at the mercy of the stormy sea. When eventually he manages to reach the Italian mainland at the town of Velia unharmed, he is murdered by its inhabitants for his clothes. His body is left unburied on the seashore. In the underworld Aeneas promises Palinurus that a monument will be resurrected for his abandoned body and restless soul. This became cape Palinuro that still exists today.

Nol de Koning has been working for twenty years on a project that both speculates on the remains of the myth and maps the possible traces of the events as described by Virgil. His installation Palinuro (1989) presented by Lima associatively mixes  erupting volcanos, the unruly sea, running burning horses and the searchlight of the lighthouse. Together they create a shifting nocturnal brooding landscape. Watching the installation we hear the crashing of waves and a lamenting voice  singing in the distance. The digitised analogue film and sound will serve as the raw material, inspiration or counterpoint to create new contemporary works.

With this question we come to the subject of historicization. Which (historic) philosophic and dramaturgical frames are useful to us currently? How do different historical methods, such as Brechtian dramaturgy or Lyotards postmodern philosophy resonate with contemporary questions of posthumanism, new materialism or afrofuturism? And what could we learn from Nol de Koning’s work as a historic work of speculative art?

Duration is a total of seven weeks, starting mid April with a symposium. After that we gather every Friday for six weeks for class tutorials and break-out work sessions at one of the collaborating institutes.


(text of the Open Call Palinurus in Digital Operatic Shorts)


Presentation: second half of June.

> terug naar Facts