Lilo Nein

Doctoral Thesis

24 October 2017

Janneke Wesseling
Felicitas Thun-Hohenstein
Frans de Ruiter

Available at:
Leiden University Repository



The PhD research project “Writing Performance” investigates relations between texts and performances from the perspective of visual art.

The main research question is whether or not it might be possible to think of relations between texts and performances as non-hierarchical. If this were indeed possible, then how and under which conditions? If there could be found at least one what could be said about it?

In order to answer these questions, research related artwork was produced and the experience thereof was put into dialog with existing theories from performance studies, art theory and philosophy. A specific focus was put on texts used in collaboration-based performances practices in order to create performances. Such texts include scores, scripts, instructions, game rules and are dedicated to be performed by someone else than the autor/artist who wrote them.

From philosophy to performance studies text (writing) and performance (speaking) are mainly conceived of as oppositions, which means that the one is determined by the characteristics in which it differs from the other and the other way round. In my view, however, they are two things in their own right in which language expresses itself.

The research aimed at creating an understanding and a perspective of looking at texts and performances from the point of view of their interrelatedness. The shift from considering performance as a medium, as an (audio) visual phenomenon, to considering its textuality pays attention to the thoughts, structures, concepts and other intentions that can be put into language. This also enables an understanding of performance which lies beyond the live act and enables collaboration-based performance practices to be analyzed conceptually.

The desire to undertake this investigation derives from both my experience as an artist engaged in collaborative performance practices, as well as from my research into contemporary and historical performances.



Photos of the exhibition ‘WRITING PERFORMANCE EXHIBITION 3’ installed in the gallery of the Royal Academy of Art The Hague, 18 October – 14 November 2017. The exhibition presented a selection of work by Lilo Nein produced within the framework of her PhD research project.

Photography by Gert Jan van Rooij

Video Interview

An interview with Lilo Nein in the exhibition ‘WRITING PERFORMANCE 3’, installed in the gallery of the Royal Academy of Art The Hague from 18 October – 14 November 2017 on the occasion of the public defense of her dissertation ‘Writing Performance’.

Lotte Betting

Katarina Juricic

Katarina Juricic