Profiles

Kim Skjoldager-Nielsen, doktorand i teatervetenskap

Kim Skjoldager-Nielsen

Fil. dr

Visa sidan på svenska
Works at Department of Culture and Aesthetics
Telephone 08-674 74 92
Email kim.skjoldager-nielsen@teater.su.se
Postal address Institutionen för kultur och estetik 106 91 Stockholm

About me

About me

PhD in theatre studies from Stockholm University 2018. Researcher working in the intersections between performance, spirituality, science, media, philosophical aesthetics, philosophy of religion, theology, sociology, and anthropology.

Founding co-editor of the journal PRS – Performance, Religion, and Spirituality. Founding member of the working group Performance, Religion, and Spirituality under the auspieces of the International Federation of Theatre Research (IFTR). Elected member of the Executive Committee of the IFTR. Board member and former president of the Association of Nordic Theatre Scholars. Member of the working group Performance and Science of the Performance Studies international. Participant in the Performance Studies Space Programme.

Research

My PhD research (published as Over the Threshold, Into the World: Experiences of Transcendence in Staged Events) revolved around developing an apparatus of theory and method for performance analysis, the purpose of which is to analyse potentials for experiences of transcendence. These experiences are contextualised in terms of the metaphysical, the religious, and the spiritual. The theoretical basis is a combination of Erika Fischer-Lichte’s the aesthetics of the performative and Dorthe Jørgensen’s metaphysics of experience. In the development of the theoretical discussion, a variety of experiences is explored in the context of contemporary theatre, ritual, and installation art in Sweden, Denmark, and Aotearoa New Zealand. The thesis contributes to the methodology of performance analysis as it emphasises experience as research, and to the interdisciplinary research field of performance, religion, and spirituality, as it draws on theatre and performance studies, philosophical aesthetics, philosophy of religion, theology, sociology, and anthropology.

The result is a practical model that allows the analysis of experiences of transcendence as created in the staged event through the complex interplay of material properties of staging and cognitive capacities for experience in the spectator’s or congregant’s process of reception – all of which are conditioned by the event’s contexts.

Currently, I am working on developing a research project with the working title Encountering the Cosmos in Theatrical, Performative, and Mediated Art Events.

Research

Research Project
My research is concerned with theorizing the analysis of the potential for transcending experience in the context of staged events, that is, contemporary ritual and theatrical events. I build on cases from Scandinavia as well as Aotearoa/New Zealand. The theoretical and methodical basis is Erika Fischer-Lichte’s “aesthetics of the performative” originally presented in Ästhetik des Performativen (2004), which is combined with theories on metaphysical and religous experience mainly delevoped by William James and Dorthe Jørgensen. Understanding transcendence as performative acts my aim is to develop a strategy of analysis for the fascilitating of aesthetic  experience through mise-en-scène, which, in a general sense, may also contribute to a refined understanding of the transformative power of performance. Scandinavian cases include Olafur Eliasson's My Blind Passenger (2010), Hotel Pro Forma’s jesus_c_odd_size (2000/2002), SIGNA’s Salò (2010), The Lund Church Player Group’s Jag är den jag är (I am that I am) (2005) and Hittefågel (Foundling-Bird) (2011); the  memorial performance-installation 185 Empty Chairs (2012-) and traditional Maori powhiri (wellcome ceremony) comprise Aotearoa cases.

I am a participant in the Scandinavian research project Nettverk for Estetikk, Naturvitenskap og Teologi, based at University of Oslo, (http://www.hf.uio.no/ilos/forskning/nettverk/nesteona/), co-founder and co-convener of the Working Group Performance and Religion under the auspices of International Federation of Theatre Research (http://www.firt-iftr.org/working-groups/theatre-and-cultural-studies/performance-and-religion), and the current president of the Association of Nordic Theatre Scholars (https://blogs.uta.fi/nordictheatrestudies/).

I am former co-editor of the journal Nordic Theatre Studies.

I am also former actor with SIGNA (http://signa.dk/actors?sorttype=alpha&sort=k).

Publications (selected)

  • “Scenens ikkeviden. I anledning af Lars Qvortrups Paradokshåndtering og ritualproduktion”, in Drude von der Fehr (ed.) Den levende kroppen. Mott et nytt forhold mellom menneske og natur, Oslo: Vidarforlaget 2016
  • “Über die Schwelle, in die Welt hinein. Das spirituelle Potenzial der Performance”, in double 33, 2016 
  • “Hotel Pro Forma: Dagens kage er en træstamme” (with Daria Kubiak), in Peripeti 25, 2016: http://www.peripeti.dk/2016/01/31/hotel-pro-forma-dagens-kage-er-en-traestamme/
  • “Scenisk rumkunst. Kosmos+”, in Erik Exe Christoffersen & Kathrine Winkelhorn (ed.): Skønhedens hotel: Et laboratorium for scenekunst, Aarhus: Aarhus Universitetsforlag, 2015
  • “The Museum as a Repository for Local Identity and Social Capital: Audience development in performing the exhibition – two cases from Lodz" (with Daria Kubiak) in Sztuka i Dokumentaja/Art & Documentation, #12, 2015: http://www.journal.doc.art.pl/pdf12/SID_12_lodz_as_an_archive_daria_kubiak_kim_skjoldager-nielsen.pdf
  • “Liminality” (with Joshua Edelman), in Ecumenica. Journal of Theatre and Performance, Vol. 7.1/7.2, 2014
  • “Mellem ritual og teater. Hotel Pro Formas forestillinger Operation: Orfeo og jesus_c_odd_size”, in Kritisk Forum for Praktisk Teologi, nr. 128, 2012
  • “SIGNAs Salò: affekt og non-etisk katastrofe”, in Peripeti 17, 2012
  • “Who am I now, who am I here?”, in Sibila Petlevski & Goran Pavlic (ed.): Spaces of Identity in the Performing Sphere, Zagreb: Fraktura 2011
  • “Congregation and Performance: Experiential Metaphysics in Hotel Pro Forma’s Operation: Orfeo and jesus_c_odd_size”, in Performance Research 13.3, 2008;
  • “Dramaturgi pro forma”, in Peripeti 10, 2008
  • “Publikumspositioner og erfaringsmetafysik i teatret”, in Bent Holm (ed.): Tro på teatret, Multivers, Frederiksberg 2006

Publications

A selection from Stockholm University publication database
  • 2018. Kim Skjoldager-Nielsen (et al.).

    The aim of the thesis is to develop an apparatus of theory and method for performance analysis, the purpose of which is to analyse potentials for experiences of transcendence. These experiences are contextualised in terms of the metaphysical, the religious, and the spiritual. The theoretical basis is a combination of Erika Fischer-Lichte’s the aesthetics of the performative and Dorthe Jørgensen’s metaphysics of experience. In the development of the theoretical discussion, a variety of experiences is explored in the context of contemporary theatre, ritual, and installation art in Sweden, Denmark, and Aotearoa New Zealand. The dissertation contributes to the methodology of performance analysis as it emphasises experience as research, and to the interdisciplinary research field of performance, religion, and spirituality, as it draws on theatre and performance studies, philosophical aesthetics, philosophy of religion, theology, sociology, and anthropology.

    The result is a practical model that allows the analysis of experiences of transcendence as created in the staged event through the complex interplay of material properties of staging and cognitive capacities for experience in the spectator’s or congregant’s process of reception – all of which are conditioned by the event’s contexts.

  • 2018. Kim Skjoldager-Nielsen, Alette Scavenius. The Development of Organisational Theatre Systems in Europe

    When The Royal Theatre, Denmark’s first proper national theatre, opened in 1874 in Copenhagen, it was the result of a very complex cultural and political evolution beginning several centuries earlier. At the same time, it marked a significant turning point in Danish theatre history, whereby theatre developed from amateurism to professionalism, from baroque acting style to naturalism, from regionalism to internationalism, and, eventually, from the private initiative to the obligation of the state, marked by another important turning point, the Theatre Act of 1963. Until then, theatre had essentially been a private affair, driven by private interests, largely privately funded – and with broad support from the local population. It was the subject of the authorities’ growing vigilance, though, both politically and morally, and one may describe the Theatres Acts passed before 1963 as controlling and limiting, whereas the new Theatre Act sought to be democratizing, decentralizing and supportive. To understand this development, this chapter takes a look at social actors and structures in identifying the basis for the Danish theatre system from the Enlightenment to the present day, from private initiative to public responsibility (Kjeldstadli, Giddens). Our focus in understanding these changes is the concrete facilities in which the performing arts could unfold: The theatre buildings.The chapter presents the development of the Danish theatre system from a variety of socio-geographic factors previously only to a lesser extent taken into account when the country’s theatrical and cultural histories were written. It is based on a study of the unique theatre construction boom that took place in Denmark from 1874-1914 and reveals furthermore surprising regional cultural differences in, respectively eastern and western Denmark. It is the intention within this context to discuss the sociological mechanisms that control cultural growth by identifying theatrical activities and compare them with the socio-geographical conditions in the country’s different regions. The findings challenge the common perception of Denmark as a country where support for intellectual life has largely been the concern of the state, and where the theatre system is seen as a consequence of cultural policy and decision-making. Furthermore, this article intends to identify the cultural growth drivers in the Danish provinces, and it is obvious that it was the private sector, mainly industrial owners, who with popular support took the initiative to create those structures in the community, which supported social networks – by building theatres to serve as common meeting places. Cultural activities and offerings were not, as one might have expected, resulting from the cultural elite’s initiatives. Private enterprise has historically played a more significant role in the development of the current Danish theatre system than perhaps previously thought. The article draws perspectives of this historic study by finally asking what impact the actors or private initiators might have on the development of structures of today’s theatre system, and to what extent the cultural and other political processes of the 21st century – such as the development of periphery areas – could benefit from a political holistic thinking as well as secure business involvement in efforts to balance the inequality that prevails in the cultural field in the various Danish regions.

  • Article Cosmos+
    2017. Kim Skjoldager-Nielsen. Peripeti, 64-64

    This short article offers a presentation of Hotel Pro Forma's performance Cosmos+. A Big Bang performance about the Wonders of the Universe.

  • 2017. Kim Skjoldager-Nielsen.

    This scientific poster was presented at the Performance Studies Space Programme (PSSP) launch at the Performance Studies international conference PSi #23, at Kampnagel, Hamburg, 2017. The PSSP is organised by Dr. Filipe Cervera and Prof. Maaike Bleeker. The poster presents a research project in its inceptial stage, which will investigate staged events that explore and convey experiences of outer space and the cosmos to their audiences.

  • 2017. Kim Skjoldager-Nielsen, Daria Skjoldager-Nielsen. Nordic Theatre Studies 29 (2), 137-161

    This article explores relations between theatre, science, and the popular, which have largely been overlooked by Nordic theatre studies. The aim here is to introduce and understand the variety of ways theatre may communicate science to the public, the point of departure informed by the historical development of the relations between the three concepts and Edmund Husserl’s phenomenological critique of modern science. The two analytical examples are Swedish Charlotte Engelkes’ and Peder Bjurman’s Svarta hål – en kvantfysisk vaudeville (2014) and Danish Hotel Pro Forma’s adult performance for children Kosmos+ En Big Bang forestilling om universets vidundre (2014).

    History of science reveals complex combinations of science and the popular in theatrical events that raises the question if the audience’s understanding of the scientific subject matter itself always was – or has to be – the purpose of the popular science performance, or if it rather was – and is – about spurring interest by inspiring sentiments of wonder and reflection on science’s impact on life and outlooks. Newer conceptual developments also suggest that it is not always the case that theatre is a tool for science popularisation, as a specific genre science theatre, but that scientific information and concepts are artistically interpreted by theatre, and not always in ways affirmative of the science. This later variant is called science-in-theatre. The two genres are demonstrated through the analyses of Svarta hål and Kosmos+, the claim being that the first was an ambiguous exposition of science, i.e. science-in-theatre, whereas the second established an artistically visionary affirmation, as regular science theatre.

  • 2016. Kim Skjoldager-Nielsen, Daria Kubiak. Peripeti (25)

    In 2015 the Danish performance theatre Hotel Pro Forma turned 30. It was celebrated with the performative exhibition Dagens kage er en træstamme (Today's Cake is a Log) at the exhibition venue Kunstforeningen Gl. Strand in Copenhagen, 6-29 November.

    The doctoral fellows in theatre studies Kim Skjoldager-Nielsen and Daria Kubiak revisits the exhibition in a review for the Danish reseach journal Peripeti.

  • 2016. Kim Skjoldager-Nielsen. Den levende kroppen, 123-151

    Det er ikke kun religionen, der iscenesætter den menneskelige situation. I denne artikel  undersøges det, hvordan æstetiske og performative begivenheder har potentiale til at give os erfaringer af ikkeviden, af det at vi ikke ved, hvad vi ikke ved, dvs. af det der er større end os selv, det metafysiske, det umulige og det ukendte. Der er hos både troende og ikketroende et dybt behov for at forholde sig til disse uudgrundelige dimensioner af eksistensen, uden at det deraf følger, at der søges nogen ultimativ sandhed. Lad det være sagt med det samme: absolut transcendens er umulig for os; vi kan ikke fysisk overskride os selv og sætte os i gudens sted. Kun gennem vores forestillingsevne kan vi sætte os ud over os selv. Vi kender ikke den virkelighed, som vi ikke desto mindre rituelt og kunstnerisk skaber udtryk for. Så hvordan iscenesætter vi oplevelser af det metafysiske, således at det understreges, at de ikke kan andet end udspringe af hele vores krop og sanseapparat? Hvordan kan vi kunstnerisk omgås religiøse eller transcenderende erfaringer uden at de ophæves til Sandheden? Det er spørgsmål, som forsøges besvaret i denne artikel. 

  • 2016. Alette Scavenius, Kim Skjoldager-Nielsen. System organizacji teatrów w Europie

    When The Royal Theatre, Denmark’s first proper national theatre, opened in 1874 in Copenhagen, it was the result of a very complex cultural and political evolution beginning several centuries earlier. At the same time, it marked a significant turning point in Danish theatre history, whereby theatre developed from amateurism to professionalism, from baroque acting style to naturalism, from regionalism to internationalism, and, eventually, from the private initiative to the obligation of the state, marked by another important turning point, the Theatre Act of 1963. Until then, theatre had essentially been a private affair, driven by private interests, largely privately funded – and with broad support from the local population. It was the subject of the authorities’ growing vigilance, though, both politically and morally, and one may describe the Theatres Acts passed before 1963 as controlling and limiting, whereas the new Theatre Act sought to be democratizing, decentralizing and supportive. To understand this development, this chapter takes a look at social actors and structures in identifying the basis for the Danish theatre system from the Enlightenment to the present day, from private initiative to public responsibility (Kjeldstadli, Giddens). Our focus in understanding these changes is the concrete facilities in which the performing arts could unfold: The theatre buildings. The chapter presents the development of the Danish theatre system from a variety of socio-geographic factors previously only to a lesser extent taken into account when the country’s theatrical and cultural histories were written. It is based on a study of the unique theatre construction boom that took place in Denmark from 1874-1914 and reveals furthermore surprising regional cultural differences in, respectively eastern and western Denmark. It is the intention within this context to discuss the sociological mechanisms that control cultural growth by identifying theatrical activities and compare them with the socio-geographical conditions in the country’s different regions. The findings challenge the common perception of Denmark as a country where support for intellectual life has largely been the concern of the state, and where the theatre system is seen as a consequence of cultural policy and decision-making. Furthermore, this article intends to identify the cultural growth drivers in the Danish provinces, and it is obvious that it was the private sector, mainly industrial owners, who with popular support took the initiative to create those structures in the community, which supported social networks – by building theatres to serve as common meeting places. Cultural activities and offerings were not, as one might have expected, resulting from the cultural elite’s initiatives. Private enterprise has historically played a more significant role in the development of the current Danish theatre system than perhaps previously thought. The article draws perspectives of this historic study by finally asking what impact the actors or private initiators might have on the development of structures of today’s theatre system, and to what extent the cultural and other political processes of the 21st century – such as the development of periphery areas – could benefit from a political holistic thinking as well as secure business involvement in efforts to balance the inequality that prevails in the cultural field in the various Danish regions.

  • 2016. Kim Skjoldager-Nielsen.

    After visiting the installation "Din blinde passager" (Your Blind Passenger) by the Icelandic-Danish artist Olafur Eliasson the theatre scholar Kim Skjoldager-Nielsen has put together some thoughts about the extent to which staged event can give rise to religious and spiritual experiences through their material nature. The central question here is how theatre can support a return to transcendent aspects in everyday social life when most people in society have in pricinple lost these skills.

  • 2015. Kim Skjoldager-Nielsen. Skønhedens Hotel, 197-211

    Hvad er forbindelsen mellem scenekunst og rummet? Her menes der ikke det arkitektoniske rum, men verdensrummet, kosmos. Koblingen kan forekomme én søgt eller marginal, men den eksisterer. Hotel Pro Forma er et af de teatre, der har bidraget til erfaringen af verdensrummet på scenen. Med udgangspunkt i begrebet space art, rumkunst, vil jeg i dette essay se på forbindelsen mellem scenekunst og rummet med Hotel Pro Formas forestilling Kosmos+ (2014-15) som hovedeksempel. Forestillingen søger på forskellig vis at fremstille astronomiske fænomener, promovere erobringen af rummet og at skildre menneskelige erfaringer i mødet med kosmos. Jeg indskriver Kosmos+ i den del af rumkunsten, der kan kaldes scenisk. På baggrund af en analyse af Kosmos+ vil jeg vise, hvordan forestillingen relaterer til filosoffen og idehistorikeren Dorthe Jørgensens begreb om skønhedserfaring. Gennem sådanne erfaringer udfolder Kosmos+ sit eksistentielle, spirituelle og politiske potentiale for publikum: at erfare det både frygtindgydende og befriende ved at blive del af det, der er større end én selv.

  • 2015. Daria Kubiak, Kim Skjoldager-Nielsen. Sztuka i Dokumentacja / Art and Documentation (12), 87-94

    Drawing on the theoretical perspective of performance studies, Daria Kubiak and Kim Skjoldager-Nielsen look at two attempts at deliberate audience emancipation through exhibition design. They analyze the performative ‘scripts’ inscribed in the way the Film Museum in Łódź shows its collection and in the exhibition Atlas of Modernity at the Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź, and provide a critical assessment of their potential to act as repositories for local identity and generators of social and cultural capital. As several shortcomings are identified in the analysis, certain ideas and postulates are put forward to remedy them and contribute to designing exhibitions that would perform archives as “theaters for development”.

  • Article Liminality
    2014. Kim Skjoldager-Nielsen, Joshua Edelman. Ecumenica Journal of theatre and perfomance 7 (1/2), 29-35

    Entry on liminality in a special issue of the journal Ecumenica on Critical Terms in Religion, Spirituality, Performance

  • 2012. Kim Skjoldager-Nielsen. Kritisk forum for praktisk teologi (130), 67-77

    Hvad sker der, når teater benytter sig af ritual-lignende udtryksformer? Når optrædende og publikum bliver ét midt i en performance om det metafy- siske eller Jesus? Hotel Pro Forma har i flere af deres opførelser berørt det metafysiske og spirituelle, som i nærværende artikel beskrives gennem perfermanceoperaen på Det Kongelige Teater Operation: Orfeo 2008 og per- formanceudstillingen jesus_c_odd_size, som fandt sted i en gammel kirke, nu Nikolaj Udstillingsbygning, i København 2002.

  • Article Signas Salò
    2012. Kim Skjoldager-Nielsen. Peripeti (17), 29-38

    The article is a critical analysis and diskussion of the learning potential of the performance Salò in Copenhagen 2010. 

  • 2011. Kim Skjoldager-Nielsen. Spaces of Identity in the Performing Sphere, 65-90

    "Who am I now, who am I here?" er en multi-perspektivisk forestillingsanalyse af den dansk-østrigsk-svenske scenekunstgruppe SIGNAs Salò. Forestillingen var en publikumsinvolverende adaptering af Pier Paolo Pasolinis famøse film fra 1975 og vakte stor opsigt og debat i medierne, da den blev opført i København 2010. Analysen kombinerer publikumsundersøgelse med fænomenologiske og systemteoretiske optikker for at indfange forestillingens interaktivitet med publikum. Endvidere indsættes analysen i en etisk ramme, der diskuterer dramaturgiens løsning af publikumsinddragelsen i forhold til en politisk agenda. Antologien Spaces of Identity in the Performing Sphere er redigeret af professor i teatervidenskab Sibila Petlevski og Goran Pavlic ved Zagrebs Universitet og er første skridt i en syntetisering af teori for analyse af identitetsdannelse, såkaldet "ny teatrologi".

Show all publications by Kim Skjoldager-Nielsen at Stockholm University

Last updated: May 15, 2019

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