Doctoral Students

Irena Kukric
Started in

Research summary

Rehearsing the Non-human

Performance Installation as a Research Tool

Considering the absence of the human performer within a 'performance installation', the research centers around what is left of the human through traces such as sound or recorded voices, images, videos, or movement and gestures. What do we perceive as 'present‘, once the human is removed from the center of performance? Erika Fischer-Lichte states that the event of a theatrical performance cannot take place without a human delivering a performance and argues that a specific autopoietic feedback loop is created through the relation of the actor and the audience. Throughout my research, I question what kind of transfer appears between the audience and the 'performance installation'. I am interested in this dynamics between the presence of non-human objects and disembodied human traces on the one hand and the absence of the human actor on the other.

In my artistic practice, using kinetic objects, light, and sound and relying on methods such as rehearsals from theatre or feedback-loops from Cybernetics, each of the performances is seen as a rehearsal and a starting point for the next one. In these evolving iterations, it will become apparent in what way I work with the traces of human presence and to what extent they might be present at all. As the space of a rehearsal can be considered a liminal space for trying out and experimenting, the process is seen as an ongoing experiment and research. In my work 'Starting Points', I began the practice with rehearsals considering the context and the location of each iteration. This inquiry is only possible through the practice and feedback from the audience, at times consisting of one person (myself during the prototyping phase in the studio) and at others of more (during an open event). The dynamic nature of a performance is relevant for this practice-based research as an evolving process that can inform both theory and practice.



Irena Kukric's (1983, RS) practice and research are related to the absence of the human body in time-based installation performance. Her performances focus on the balance between digital or mechanical dimensions of the works and on the poetics of human experience through non-human actors.

Kukric studied scenography at the Faculty of Applied Arts at the University of Arts in Belgrade, Serbia and Digital Media at the University of Arts in Bremen, Germany. She worked as a stage designer in theatre and as a production designer in film. In 2012, she interned at the installation department at MoMA PS1, New York. She created various installation performances for different galleries, digital media festivals, and theater festivals such as OUTNOW!, Galerie Herlod, Städtische Galer-ie, Bremen, Resonate, Belgrade, and C28, Hanover.

Kukric lectures at the University of Arts Bremen and is a coordinator and researcher in the research project ‘The Dynamic Archive’ at the University of Arts Bremen.


Individual projects

    • How To Walk On Water

      How To Walk On Water is a performance installation that guides you through the virtual landscape, exploring the duality of human presence in our physical…

      sch wa nk hal le, Bremen (DE)
    • The Dynamic Archive 03

      The Dynamic Archive 01 ( has been an online platform since 2018. The Version Room as physical gallery space is known as The Dynamic Archive…