Building Conversation

Let conversation become an art form.

In a time characterized by digitalisation Building Conversation invites you to participate in actual conversation and to reflect on the way we talk to each other.

In the dialogical art movement, which came into being in the 1970s, the conversation itself is presented as a work of art. Drawing on this politically engaged artistic practice, Building Conversation develops performances inspired by existing conversational practices from all over the world; from indigenous communities in New Zealand and Canada, to Occupy, Facebook and the root system of trees.

Building Concersation consists of several conversation concepts developed by a collective of artists, researchers, students and social anthropologists.

Dialogue and conflict management is central when the audience gets to try out conversation techniques inspired by different cultures and philosophy. How do we handle disagreement and conflict? Is it possible to understand and speak on behalf of perspectives other than one’s own?

The way we talk to each other influences the future we shall build together.

Building Conversation


Participants can choose between three different conversations: Conversation without words, Parliament of Things and Agonistic conversation. (NB! The conversations arranged by ØIT wil take place in Norwegian unless otherwise mentioned.)

The Conversation without Words is inspired by various indigenous practices where people gather in silence, looking at each other without saying a word. Research has shown that 60 to 80 % of our communication happens non verbally. During this conversation we focus on exactly that part of our communication. The intensity that arises when you look at each other without saying anything is enormous. This conversation lets us see and experience what human contact is based on and brings groups together in a very direct way.

The Parliament of Things is a theory developed by Bruno Latour that makes a case for the rights of objects. In developing this form of conversation, we want to distance ourselves from anthropocentric thinking, which places man in the centre of the universe, and investigate the relation between ourselves and things. Can we speak on behalf of things? Another source of inspiration for this conversation is the Council of All Beings, a worldwide practice that investigates our relation to nonhuman entities, and nature in particular. Among other things, this council refers to a ritual of the Aboriginals, who relate to plants, clouds or a mountain as if they were their ancestors.

Agonistic conversations is a conversation between opponents. It was developed in response to the philosopher Chantal Mouffe who speaks of the importance of conflict in the political arena and calls upon the arts to help develop what she calls the ‘agonistic space’, in which agonists are opponents – not to be confused with antagonists, enemies.
In the Agonistic Conversation we combine her theory with the theory and practice of Maori communities and the way they converse with each other.

How to participate:

Buy your ticket, meet up at the given place, where you will get to choose which conversation you will join.
A guide will explain the guidelines for the conversation.

Building Conversation at NonStop 2018

Building Conversation on NonStop International Theatre Festival in Moss, September 2018.


Building Conversation is a collective work.

ØITs Norwegian versions were made with artistic direction from Building Conversation. Curator-producer for ØIT is James Moore, project coordinator for school performances is Andrea Skotland. Our Norwegian speaking guides are Tiril Pharo, James Moore, Heikki Riipinen and Tone Petronelle Sørlie.

Building Conversation is supported by IN SITU and Creative Europe.

Press photos:

Download press photos here


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