Territoriality and Choreography in Site-Situated Performance

k.g. Guttman

Doctoral thesis

10 November 2020

Janneke Wesseling
Frans de Ruiter
Sher Doruff

Available at:
Leiden University Repository



“Territoriality and Choreography in Site-Situated Performance” is a research project that performatively activates a series of residential sites in Canada and the Netherlands.

The key terms territoriality and choreography are concepts and practices that express and navigate space-time(s). The project animates the forces of territoriality through the choreographed encounter between host-dancer, guest-audience, and site-performance.

Written and explored from the perspective of a Canadian settler scholar and artist, the project attunes to the material and discursive forces of the guest, host, and site within colonial and settler colonial conditions. The project develops a critical and creative mode of engagement with the social, material, and political relations of a site and the world-building potential of performance.

The artistic component of the research project “Territoriality and Choreography in Site-Situated Performance” involves multiple elements, consisting of documentary images and video, a live performance, and a final artistic presentation.



Due to the circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, k.g. Guttman was not able to travel to the Netherlands to perform 'I asked my guest to close one eye' (2020) in person. In these circumstances, the artistic presentation includes a performance-at-a-distance for a solo audience member. The performance embodies the final artistic presentation of the PhD research project.

I asked my guest to close one eye

The performance 'I asked my guest to close one eye' must take place in a residential site. The participant must arrange, through their personal or professional relations, a visit to someone else’s residence, (someone not well known to the participant), in order to gain access to one room that is not one’s own.

It must be a location where the participant, newly transformed into a guest, perhaps into a stranger, may be permitted to be alone for approximately one hour.

'I asked my guest to close one eye' consists of an audio recording that the participant may download and listen to with earphones. The participant will receive a small bag, containing items that may be opened through the prompts of the voice on the audio recording.

'I asked my guest to close one eye' choreographs ways of attuning to the material-discursive forces of one room in someone else’s house. The work is a mode of engagement aligned to interrogate settler colonial territoriality and embodiment in performance.