A Disaster Dinner

How can moments of imbalance be understood in relation to the body and how can they be used as a group dynamic to create social situations? With the aim of making sculptures dealing with the notion of balance by means of using an inclined plane, a group of students from Möricke-Gymnasium in Ludwigsburg worked together with five Solitude fellows from the fields of performing arts, architecture, and economy/economics to understand the question of how moments of balance and imbalance can be experienced. Sketches, notes, comments and pictures collected and produced before and during the workshop document the work of the fellows with the students.


Introduction by Natascha Moschini

Introduction of all participants by name and handshake; softly turning to the session of »pull and push exercises,« dealing with balance.

»We work with the questions: What is balance?
What does it mean to lose it? How can that be a great opportunity for something new?«–Karolina Kucia

Exercises in Couples

Exercise 1 (by Natascha Moschini):
Person A starts to lean back, person B supports him/her from the back holding his/her hands on the balder bones with a stronger leg in the back, the weaker in the front. Person A starts to walk slowly, person B supports him/her all the time. The same exercise, but leaning to the front; person B supports by keeping hands on the shoulders.


»I am not a dancer, I am not a professional, so for me just the fact ›lean back and feel comfortable with it‹ was strange. I am not used to letting myself fall down. When there is water, that’s fine, but when you know that there is nothing behind… That was a play with the extreme and really important for me.« –student

Exercise 2 (by Fotini Lazaridou-Hatzigoga): »Leaning Duets« (Trisha Brown, 1970)

Exercises in Groups

Exercise 3 (by Elisa Band): Small Group Exercise
Person A is slowly leaning back until falling, four other persons are supporting him/her until person A is in horizontal position.

Exercise 4 (by Elisa Band): Falling Game
Everyone is walking around without stopping. Participants are invited to lift his/her hand up and say loudly »Aaaaaaaaa…« and proceed while sliding down to the floor. Everyone else should hurry to catch the person before he/she reaches the floor and support him/her down safely. Exercise can be done with one, two or three people at the same time.


»My favorite moment was when I had people behind me trying to find out where they could put their hands, so that they can bring me safely to the floor.« –student

»Lapsus Project« (2009) leading to a Disaster Dinner by Karolina Kucia

In atelier 16, we set up a long dinner table with chairs + coffee, tea, juice, cookies + kitchen supplies (two packs of flower, cloth napkins, sparkling water in bottles, etc.).

Karolina is doing a short performance-presentation. During the presentation of the project and of her ideas on personal and social loss of balance she creates a few silly or stuttering situations. While talking she proceeds with the consumption of a tomato: starting with cherry, finishing with a beef heart tomato. Tomatoes are animating the situation.

How do we deal with small mistakes, faux pas and misbehaviours and what happens to us, when those things happen? Do they evoke fun, shame, a sense of failure, control or fear? Where do those slips and lapses come from? Are they unconscious, automatised reactions or social contracts? Is there a possibility of turning them into something empowering?

Karolina (with tomato in her mouth) explaines three methods:

Example 1: Personal struggle with disability turned into personal empowerment

»I have a friend who was always falling asleep during the lectures. Perhaps he was used to play games from early childhood and he thought that lectures are not interactive enough. He struggled with it all through school time, then during his studies he found out how to deal with it. First of all he ate chocolate, but if that didn’t work and he still fell asleep, he put his hand up whether he had a question or not. Then he came up with a question. We studied together and already before I knew his problem, we all admired him for asking the most sober questions.«


Example 2: Mr. Bean – »Sandwich for Lunch«

Joke as a »diagram for social innovation« (Paolo Virno): Every joke is actually a way to provoke a collapse of reason. Its success depends on the interdependent relationship between author, subject and listener. A joke becomes successful with the laughter of the listener. In that moment, author and subject are released from the confusion of the collapse of reason.

Example 3: Collective support in playing with unexpected moments of lapse: »Lapse Project« by Karolina Kucia; »OOPS! Microevent« by Karolina Kucia


Disaster Dinner by Karolina Kucia

Everyone prepares an act leading to a little catastrophe which could happen during dinner at the table. We start with the toast, performing the catastrophes in the structure of a cascade, one after another.

a) a misbehavior: like a burb

b) a mistake: opening heavily shaken sparkling water bottles

c) an action leading to a little disaster/catastrophe: glasses falling from the table, flower bags dropping


Talks and reflection sessions after the workshop were led by Elisa Calosi.


With contributions by:

Elisa Band (São Paulo/Brazil — Economy/Economics, Solitude fellow 2013–2015)

Elisa Calosi (Florence/Italy — Art Coordination, Solitude fellow 2015)

Karolina Kucia (Helsinki/Finland — Economy/Economics, Solitude fellow 2013-2015)

Fotini Lazaridou-Hatzigoga (Berlin/Germany — Design, Solitude fellow 2015-2017)

Natascha Moschini (Bern/Switzerland — Cooperation fellowship, Solitude fellow 2016)