Arthur Caris
Arthur Caris
Artist, social scientist
Hanze University of Applied Sciences
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  • Arthur (Thuur) Caris is an interdisciplinary artist producing situation-based art in public spaces since 1992 and a teacher and researcher at the Minerva Art Academy of the Hanze University of Applied Sciences since 2003. As a social scientist he studies art as a conversational space in which learning opportunities occur. Both as an artist and a pedagogue he has special interest in art as a source and a force of social transformation. Caris holds a bachelor in fine arts (1993) and a master (2010) and PhD in pedagogy (2016). He graduated at the University of Groningen, The Netherlands in adult education studying informal learning in situated art practices in the Netherlands and New York City.


    Lecture and workshop by Nathalie Beekman and Thuur Caris.

    Based on their research into art and human development Nathalie Beekman and Thuur Caris will elaborate on the question whether the creative voice can provide space for a subject-subject relationship with nature as ‘the Other’.During their lecture they will address the question whether we can use our creative voice to enable a dialogue with something that cannot talk back, for instance a vegetable. After exploring two diverging angles to approach this challenge Beekman and Caris will invite the audience to join them in an actual experiment to test both ‘artistic encounters of the vegetable kind’ during a workshop session.

    During their lecture Beekman and Caris would like to introduce two rather opposing concepts of subject relationships. The first concept is inspired on Rupert Wegerif [1], who argues that being in dialogue with a tree is possible. According to him we can engage in a subject-subject relationship with a tree. This is based on the presumption that the imagination is connected with an experience of entangled relationships, without fixed borders. In this way the tree could project “tree-like” thoughts and experiences into the viewer.

    The second opposing concept is derived from the ideas of Jan van Boeckel, who argues that by experiencing a (unbridgeable) difference, in this case the distance between ourselves and nature, it becomes possible to learn to appreciate its otherness and to feel attracted by it (Van Boeckel, 2013). Our imagination could be consciously focused both on incorporating the other into our own thoughts, as well as marking oneself against the other. In this binominal perspective, the creative voice can make us aware of our own subject position in relation to the world.

    After the lecture the audience is invited to join Beekman and Caris in a workshop exploring both – or maybe more – different ways of getting into dialogue with things and entities from nature that we don’t share a language with. During this workshop the audience will be split into small groups practicing two exercises. First we will do an exercise we often use, that’s called “philosophizing with a cauliflower”. Second we will do an exercise that involves finding different ways to get into a dialogue with a tree.