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Embodied Experiences

9 May 2023 - 11 May 2023

Embodied Experiences: A corpo-conference on Art, Bodies & Identities

How to improve diversity and inclusion policies by reading the body?

The Connected World conference “Embodied Experiences” invites participants to use Corpoliteracy, as proposed by Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung, as a tool to explore the intersections of identity and body politics. We will discuss the potentials of artistic research and VR technology for educational practices and diversity policies.

Two controversial contributions to last year’s Venice Biennale with a focus on the human body form the starting point for the discussion. Questions on what embodiment can contribute to diversity politics will be scrutinized from various disciplines, including psychology, theology, art history, and technology. The conference strives to serve as a catalyst to put corpoliterate organizational development into practice at the VU.

Contributions by:
melanie bonajo, Adina Pintilie, Angelo Custodio & Jules Sturm, Maaike Bleeker, Beatriz Janicas, Sara Morais dos Santos Bruss, and many more. Information about our contributing artists and keynote speakers can be found below. 

Dates: 9-11 May 2023*


  • Rialto VU – May 9
  • Kerkzaal, 16th floor (accessible via 15th floor), Main Building, VU Amsterdam – May 10 & 11
  • 3D Debatcentrum, W&N building

Organized by: Connected World, Daniel Neugebauer, Senior Fellow Connected World, Erin La Cour, and Sem Bannenberg, with support from CLUE+ Research Institute for Culture, Cognition, History and Heritage

Credits to: AKINCI Gallery Amsterdam & Manekino Boekarest

Sign up via: the registration button at the top right of this event page, or this link.

*it is possible to sign up for individual events


Tuesday, May 9, Rialto@VU
7.30pm - 9.00pm
Screening: "When the body says Yes" by artist melanie bonajo
Welcome by Susan Legene
Q&A with curator Orlando Maaike Gouwenberg

Wednesday, May 10, Kerkzaal
all day
VR experience by Augmented Space Agency for contributing artist Adina Pintillie (In search of the lost body, 2022), Kerkzaal

10.00am - 10.30am
Brief welcome by Hans Akkermans of Connected World, Kerkzaal

10.30am - 11.15am 
Welcome and introduction to Corpoliteracy by Daniel Neugebauer, Kerkzaal

11.30am - 12.30am 
Keynote: "Corporeal Literacy" by Maaike Bleeker , Kerkzaal

1.30pm - 2.30pm 
Panel: "Bodies in Art & Education" with Ana Cassanti, Marleen Hartjes & Stefanie van Gemert, moderated by Daniel Neugebauer, Kerkzaal

3.00pm - 3.45pm 
Keynote: "Where is my mind?" by Beatriz Janicas, introduced by Wende Wallert, director VU ART SCIENCE gallery, Kerkzaal

4.00pm - 4.30pm 
Performance: "Tender Attunements" by contributing artists Angelo Custódio & Jules Sturm, introduction by Dr. Erin La Cour, Kerkzaal

Thursday, May 11, Kerkzaal
all day
VR experience by Augmented Space Agency for Adina Pintillie, Kerkzaal

Mini organ concert by Henk Verhoef (VU Amsterdam organ player), Kerkzaal

10.30am - 11.15am
Keynote: "Wild Science Fictions. Conscious AI, Colonialism and Excess” by Sara Morais dos Santos Bruss, Kerkzaal

11.30am - 12.30am
Panel: "A corpoliterate campus", moderated by Sem Bannenberg, with Marije Klei, Margherita Falqui, Danny Soekarnsingh (Decolonisation Lab), Laura Voordewind (UB Library) en Nathalie Janssen (Pride Library), including a presentation of a prototype for a corpoliterate digital campus, Kerkzaal

2:15pm - 3:45pm  - 3D Debatcentrum
Screening recorded keynote lecture: ”Complaint, Diversity and Other Hostile Environments” by Sara Ahmed (2021), 3D Debatcentrum 

4pm - 4:30pm
Impulse: “Another you - in case of virtual embodiment” by Ciprian Facaeru, Kerkzaal

5pm - 6pm
Closing Panel: “Between empathy and entertainment: Technologies of embodiment in contemporary culture”, moderated by David Gauthier, with Ruard Ganzevoort, Tilo Hartmann, Sara Morais dos Santas Bruss, Ciprian Facaeru, Kerkzaal

End-of-programme party / closing reception, Kerkzaal 

When the body says 'yes'

Exhibition video of melanie bonajo (they/them/theirs) at the Venice Biennale 2022. Their exhibition will be highlighted during the conference. 

bonajo’s experimental documentaries often feature communities living or working on the margins of society, either through illegal means or cultural exclusion, and the paradoxes inherent to ideas of comfort with a strong sense for community, equality and body-politics. 

About Embodied Experiences

Starting date

  • 9 May 2023 - 11 May 2023


  • Rialto@VU (9 May), Kerkzaal (10-11 May)


  • De Boelelaan 1111
  • 1081HV Amsterdam

Organised by

  • Connected World


  • English

Keynote speakers

Keynote speakers

melanie bonajo

melanie bonajo is an artist, filmmaker, sexological bodyworker, somatic sex coach and educator, cuddle workshop facilitator and activist. Through their videos, performances, photographs, and installations, they examine current conundrums of co-existence in a crippling capitalist system, and address themes of eroding intimacy and isolation in an increasingly sterile, technological world. 

Orlando Maaike Gouwenberg

Orlando Maaike Gouwenberg is a curator with a love for projects that hover between film, theater and visual art, and she's based in several places. Recently she was the co-curator for melanie bonajo’s presentation for the Dutch Pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2022, and artistic director at Jester in Genk, BE, where she pushed for a more international and outspoken focus for the organisation.

Adina Pintilie

Artist and filmmaker Adina Pintilie was born in 1980 in Bucharest and lives between Bucharest and Hamburg. Her decade-spanning artistic multi-platform research on intimacy, contemporary body politics, and the aesthetics and ethics of expanded moving images production spans installation, performance, film, and virtual reality and is nurtured by long-term collaborations and trans-disciplinary research.

Maaike Bleeker

Maaike Bleeker is a playwright, publicist and professor of theatre and dance studies at Utrecht University. She will speak about Corporeal Literacy: these abilities of the body to perceive, read and make sense. It is a strategic term, with which we want to make a space for interaction and collaboration between researchers approaching questions of bodily meaning making from various backgrounds.

Beatriz Janicas

Beatriz Janicas is gallery assistant at VU ART SCIENCE gallery and student of the Master's Cognitive Neuropsychology. Living in a fast-paced and increasingly digital world can be stressful, leaving us feeling like our bodies are not our own or like the world around us is not real. We have a tendency to neglect the relationship between our mind and body, forgetting that our mental health is affected when we don’t use our bodies as a means for direct experiences and connections. The VU ART SCIENCE gallery decided to explore this issue together with the curators of the Amsterdam UMC. 

Angelo Custodio & Jules Sturm

Angelo Custódio is a research based artist experimenting with voice and performance. He creates sonic based experiences from a crip/queer perspective, informed by critical theory and embodied knowledge. Trained as a classical singer, Angelo explores the relations between poetics and techno-somatic ways of voicing. Through listening, he develops sonic encounters with the vulnerable, opening ’cracks’ to wild(er) spaces that utterly invite other freer ecologies of living. 

Jules Sturm is a researcher and lecturer at Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK), currently holds a position as visiting professor in Art Education at Universität Duisburg-Essen, and works internationally as a collaborator in artistic research projects with a special focus on critical pedagogy, artist teaching, embodied theories and alternative knowledge production in contemporary culture and education. Jules is originally trained in cultural analysis (PhD) and aims to re-train academic practices of writing and teaching towards committed forms of learning from, within, and beyond diversity.

Sara Morais dos Santos Bruss

Sara Morais dos Santos Bruss is a cultural and media theorist, researcher, and curator. She works on intersections of feminist and anti-colonial art and political practices, digital technologies, and narrations of (human and non-human) subjectivity. Her recent publications include: Queere KI: Zum Coming-out smarter Maschinen, co-edited with Michael Klipphahn-Karge and Ann-Kathrin Koster (2022).

Sarah Ahmed

Sara Ahmed is an independent feminist scholar and writer. Her work is concerned with how power is experienced and challenged in everyday life and institutional cultures. She has recently completed a book Complaint! which is forthcoming with Duke University Press in September 2019. Her previous publications include: What’s the Use? On the Uses of Use (2019), Living a Feminist Life (2017), Willful Subjects (2014), On Being Included (2012), The Promise of Happiness (2010), Queer Phenomenology (2006), The Cultural Politics of Emotion (2014, 2004), Strange Encounters (2000) and Differences that Matter (1998).

Ciprian Facaeru

Ciprian is an XR designer of immersive and interactive experiences, and a creative explorer researching new media technologies. He is a co-founder and lead designer at Augmented Space Agency and a research assistant at the International Center for Research and Education in Innovative and Creative Technologies part of the National University of Theatre and Cinema Art "I.L. Caragiale" in Bucharest. Exploring new technologies found at the intersection between reality and virtuality, Ciprian contributes to the development of XR solutions across multiple application domains: academic research, education, arts, creative, and industrial fields. His mission is to explore and discover innovative ways of communication and artistic expression to foster sustainable connections in an emerging mixed-reality world.