Tension Machines / ArtScience Interfaculty


Between 2012 and 2019 I developed several performative formats for the ArtScience program. Being part of the interfaculty, these projects are obviously instructive, but they are also considered an extension of my professional practice. In these projects, a small group of international students (BA/MA) work together under one theme, one method or technique and develop their performance in the context of a professional theatre production.




Tension Machines is a project that celebrates the trickster, the con artist or clown. A master of deception who convinces the spectator to believe in something false, an illusion. For this show, the students developed eight ‘machines’ that each, in their own distinct way, build towards such an illusion. A singular moment in which the audience is pointed towards the mechanism of their own anticipation, and how this mechanism has been manipulated.        

“[...] what happens in the future matters to us, so it should not be surprising that how the future unfolds has a direct effect on how we feel. The mechanisms of expectation and anticipation triggers the curiosity of psychologists and cognitive scientists, but it also raises questions that attract the attention of the “practitioners” of these mechanisms [...] It is no coincidence that the performing arts have figured prominently in attempts to understand the dynamics of expectation. Over hundreds of years, illusionists, poets, actors and comedians have developed a whole range of techniques that make use of cognitive systems that manipulate audiences in their anticipation of future events. Tricks so to say, that feed the audience tendency to predict”  -
David Huron, Sweet Anticipation (MIT-Press, 2005)

Conceived and produced with Charlotte ‘t Hart
Participants: Jan Boudestijn, Victoria Douka-Doukopoulou, Liva Kalnina, Sunna Svavarsdotir, Mabel Calvert Verbruggen, Nina Lezaic, Andreas Sahl Andersen, Samiha Awad, Alexander Vinther, Natali Blugerman, Cameron Lobdell, Mosa Sebdani and Florencia Reznik. 

Produced in collaboration with Het Nationaal Theater in the Hague.



Mark