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, the art collective 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 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 speak influences the future we create.

Building Conversation


Participants can choose between two different conversations: Parliament of Things and Agonistic conversation. (NB! The conversations arranged by ØIT will take place in Norwegian unless otherwise mentioned.)

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.

A guide will explain the guidelines for the conversation. The rest is up to you!

The art space is a place for life exercises. Here, detached from everyday reality, we can reflect, rethink and reform in a free and experimental space. […] An exercise area not just for professional artists, but even more for anyone who feels the need to rethink the structures within which they live.

Building 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 implementation of school performances has been Andrea Skotland. Our Norwegian speaking guides are Tiril Pharo, Heikki Riipinen, Marthe Sofie Løkeland Eide, Bendik Østbye Johannessen, Henriette Blakstad, James Moore and Fredrik Borgund.
Production coordinator: Thea Bringsværd

Building Conversation is supported by IN SITU and Creative Europe.

in situ

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