An Imaginary Symposium constructs alternatives modes of sociability in order to reimagine our realities today and in the future. Its aim is to reactivate common thinking and imagining, by taking a close look on the way we build our social exchange and our discussions. This is done by reworking on ancient Greek modes of sociability, which are radically brought together on stage with contemporary technological modes of artificial intelligence. The project meets its audience in two distinct, closely interrelated forms, that of a group theatre piece (stage version) and that of an interactive performance (participatory version). In both cases, participants (seven female performers or ten audience members) experiment with structures, aesthetics and narratives in order to create live on stage an imaginary symposium where people eat and drink while discussing issues of shared concern and creating imaginaries for their societies. Central role in the creation of these imaginaries plays an algorithm that produces random phrases on the ways we imagine our social coexistence.

Departure point for the project is the emergence of what Dunne and Raby have called ‘new dreams for the 21st century’ (Speculative Everything, 2013). The writers argue that our dreams today have been downgraded to hopes. Due to a series of key changes in the world after the 1970s, imaginative, social and political speculation has become more difficult and less likely. Anything that does not fit these changes is dismissed as fantasy or unreal. Today, we simply hope that everything will be alright but we are unable to produce visions for our present and future.

If we deny that we are unable to imagine, if we insist on the fact that we could still dream collectively about our common present and future, how could this happen? In An Imaginary Symposium performers and spectators create their spontaneous replies to this question.

Concept, creation: Danae Theodoridou
Created with and performed by: Lara Barsacq, Luanda Casella, Sabine Cmelniski, Ilektra Fragiadaki, Eleni Mylona, Mariela Nestora, Katerina Zisoudi
Costumes & set design: Maria Panourgia
Dramaturgical advice: Konstantina Georgelou, Betina Panagiotara, Jonas Rutgeerts
Movement advice: Katerina Andreou, Mariela Nestora
Artistic Assistance: Rodia Vomvolou
Creation of Algorithm: Dimitrios Stasinopoulos
Light design: Sakis Birbilis

Production: Hiros
With the support of the Flemish community
Co-production: BUDA (BE), Indisciplinarte (IT)
Supported by: Vooruit & workspacebrussels (BE), BIOS (GR), PACT (GE)