An Attendee

Through a subtle and precarious approach,“An attendee” tries to guide the audience perspective into the details of space, along the edge of (un)spectacular events, towards the frictions of different encounters. Small stimulation open up to bigger questions, emotionally and energetically charged, as a single performer finds themself in the company of a set of things, fragments and sounds. Upon encounter they transform into subjects, into micro narratives and locations, sketching out a place of memory, loss and hope, where leftover voices give their account.

As the performer moves along and with them, a precise, soft and concentrated body emerges that tries to attend to these accounts, encapsulated in the environment. In the attempt of overcoming a present state of affair towards another state of “future”, the performer encounters internalised projections, obsessions, lingering violence and wounds.

The practice that this work brings to the foreground tries to investigate the utility of being in a broken place, that a priori to fixing or saving, asks to be embraced with delicacy and care, with trouble, yet attention. The viewer is invited to join and rest in this space too, without pushing for answers, judgement and absolution, and to give in to the disquiet.

By looking at ecological philosophies and environmental precarity, effectively supported by an isolating pandemic, Toni Steffens is investigating anew what the notions of “environment” can mean within the theatrical and artificial realm of the black box. In her practice she refers to the context of visual arts and balancing on the line between two different traditions of mediation, in between spectacle and installation, theatre and still life/exhibition. Being sensitive to western arts traditions, she imitates the “gallery space” to foreground the power of things, objects and more than human reality. Here is where she uses performance and theatre with a notable emphasis on movement to let those things open up, create mystery and discourse, take the lead of the story and question the human body in their arrangement and encounter.

Booking info:

length: 48 mins

I am travelling together with my light designer Paulina Prokop. The set deisgn and lights fit into two trollis and two odd sized luggages.


Choreography and Performance: Toni Steffens

Set design: Nikola Knezevic and Toni Steffens  

Costume: Ginta Tinte

Lights: Paulina Prokop

Sound: Toni Steffens, Teresa Winter

Advise: Keerthi Basavarajaiah

Notable Attendees influencing the work: Alina Popa, Ana Mendieta, Camille Claudel, Jeanne Dielman

Production: Veem House for Performance, NBprojects, 2020 


Critics Choice, Theaterkrant 2020 :
Read the english translation:

Foundation for german-polish collaborations, Wroclaw 2022:

Gaia Lamarre, Les Urbaines Festival 2021
Paulian Prokop, Veem House for Performance 2020
Kazimierz Zdzieblo, Mandala Festival 2022

Speculative Empathy, SE
Speculative Empathy is a movement within applied, contemporary, continental-inspired  philosophy and performing arts, also, known as post-continental philosophy, that defines itself loosely in its stance of metaphysical empathy against its interpretation of the dominant  forms of “correlationism”.  The term tries to expand notions such as “speculative realism/ materialism” by repositioning the thinking, sensing and experiencing, thus, philosophising human subject with an interest of highlighting its ability to empathise with a thing x and through the strategic embracing of the unescapable condition of anthropomorphism. Rather than operating on planes, which are suggestive of a certain (or not so certain)  “realism”, SE actively makes use of the joint synergy of both speculative and empathic processes in order to generate tools to converse with (non-)human entities in collectively fictionalised meeting planes, in design specific to each encounter of materialities. Making use of the wide emotional spectrum human beings are equipped with, SE re-purposes the unavoidable miscommunications that are at play in the complex and layered encounter of multi-real and Interspecies planes of conversations. Practitioner of SE boldly accuse their environment of being telepathically interlinked with them and that based on this assumption, they share a common field, where they can exchange, support, understand and emotionally stabilise one another. SE practitioners are very open minded towards exploring and performing dynamic, absurd, sensual and unexplainably emotional labor for a various range of materials, things, other human beings and domestic and non-domestic subobjects.

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10/11/2022:  "Hope,Test- a strategy of performative memories", publisher: 4bid Gallery Amsterdam
September-October 2022: "Spinal Catastrophe" research project, supported by Neustart Kultur, #Take Heart, Pact Zollverein, Berlin/Amsterdam, research
September-October 2022: Dramaturgy for Elvan Tekin, Tanzfabrik Berlin
08/07/2022: "the fate cast / in the search / of four petals", during "change feeling" , collaboration with Mercedes Azpilicueta, Vanabbe museum eindhoven  
02+03/07/2022: "on J0yful militancy", performing for Mercedes Azpilicueta, rozenstraat, Amsterdam