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On the occasion of his new book, Performing Mourning, Laments in Contemporary Art, the Vienna-based dance dramaturge Guy Cools will discuss contemporary art practices in literature, visual and performing arts that use mourning as a source for activism. Using the tradition of the Greek moiroloi (laments) as a template, Cools will discuss how many artistic expressions can be considered contemporary laments. Referencing Judith Butler’s notion of ‘equal grievability’, Cools will focus on a younger generation of artists who, dealing with ‘climate grief’ or forms of state violence, lament their future.

Guy Cools is a Belgian dance dramaturge, currently living in Vienna. He has worked as a dance critic and dance curator. He curated the dance program of Arts Centre Vooruit in Ghent, Belgium from 1990 till 2002. As a production dramaturge, he worked amongst others with Jean Abreu (UK), Koen Augustijnen (BE), Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui (BE), Danièle Desnoyers (CA), Alexander Gottfarb (AT), Lia Haraki (CY), Akram Khan (UK), Joshua Monten (SUI), Arno Schuitemaker (NL) and Stephanie Thiersch (DE). With the Canadian choreographer, Lin Snelling, he developed an improvised performance practice Rewriting Distance that focuses on the integration of movement, voice and writing. As a dramaturgical mentor, he has been mentoring Anghiari Dance Hub, the International Choreographer’s Week in Tilburg, the project Danse et Dramaturgie in Switzerland; the Biennale Dance College in Venice and the Atlas program of Impulstanz in Vienna. He is a Postdoctoral Researcher at Ghent University, where he finished a practice-based PhD on the relationship between dance and writing. He lectures and teaches at different universities and arts colleges in Europe and Canada, among others the University of Ottawa and the Fontys School of Fine and Performing Arts in Tilburg.

Recent publications by Guy Cools include The Ethics of Art: ecological turns in the performing arts, co-edited with Pascal Gielen (Valiz, 2014); In-between Dance Cultures: on the migratory artistic identity of Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and Akram Khan (Valiz, 2015);Imaginative Bodies, dialogues in performance practices (Valiz, 2016) and The Choreopolitics of Alain Platel’s les ballets C de la B, co-edited with Christel Stalpaert and Hildegard De Vuyst (Bloomsbury, 2019).