Workshop: The art of touch

Place: Sentralen, Oslo, Norge

Interdisciplinary Masterclass for professional artists in all art genres

The Art of Touch / Kunsten å berøre

Interdisciplinary Masterclass for professional artists in all art genres

 “Touch is not just a private act. It is a fundamental medium for the expression, experience and contestation of social values and hierarchies. The culture of touch involves all of culture. We learn what to touch, how to touch, and what significance to give different kind of touch” – Constance Classen

During the days 25.-27. April 2017 Seanse – center for art production offers a 3 day Masterclass, THE ART OF TOUCH. We ask: Can different art genres inspire and create understanding around touch and how can thisbe used in encounters with children, young people and others’ own aesthetic expressions?

Touch can be described as a purely physical bodily phenomenon or in a figurative sense refer to emotions and degrees of emotional touch on a human level. Both are fundamental in all artistic work, and in all genres. Touch means specifically touching other people and being in contact with the surroundings. The body explores and approaches spaces, places, materials and everything that is both natural and cultivated by humans. This in turn is closely linked to the customs and traditions of different cultures, social backgrounds, gender, sexuality and age, etc. When art is created does that say something about how, when and what we touch? Does this have ethical challenges?

How are the practices of touch and the tactile communicated in the different art forms? Is there a technique or method for touch and for what may be possible to achieve with “physical manipulation” or something else that involves physical contact with others, materials, space and place? What grips and approaches does the film director or writer use to “touch” his audience?

Can the affect and effect of touch be measured or assessed, given a value in art creation?

These and other questions are asked to the five master class holders who give their response and “answers” through their classes and in meeting with the participants.

On the last day, everyone will be able to reflect through a longer, artist-directed conversation about these and other relevant questions related to experiences made during the three-day master class.

The workshop will be held in English, it will be interdisciplinary and thematize and deal with the concept of “touch” in the art fields of music, dance, theater, film and visual arts. Five renowned Norwegian and international artists will provide theoretical and practical insight into the theme Touch from their own artistic point of view. Artists and professionals are invited to practical sessions and exploration in the individual Masterclasses. More information regarding registration and program are coming.


Bonnie Kemske – Ceramic Sculpture (UK)

Bonnie Kemske is an artist, writer, and curator. Her sculptural work aims to engage our body’s sense of touch in an intimate experience of ‘grounded sensuality’. Her writing includes books, academic papers, feature articles, and reviews. She has curated group exhibitions and she is particularly interested in exhibitions that include tactile art. She collaborates widely with artists from other fields and individuals outside the arts, such as those working in psychology and social science.

“The clay is cool but warms quickly against my skin. 

It feels snug, contained, comfortable – caressed?”

 “Touch is the first sense to appear in the developing fetus and the last sense to leave us as we near death. We touch and are touched, and we are not separate from the object we hold in our hands or against our bodies – to experience the object is for it to become part of us. Maurice Merleau-Ponty said: ‘…there is overlapping or encroachment, so that we must say that the things pass into us as well as we into the things.’ In this way, there is a blurring of subject and object.”


Marianne Skjeldal works as a dancer, choreographer and performer based in Oslo and graduated from the School of Contemporary Dance in 2002. As a performer and co-creator, she has been involved in several years of collaboration with various choreographers / directors, including Karstein Solli since 2003- and Henriette Pedersen 1999-2009. Now she works in different constellations and collaborations with other artists and produces her own performances at the intersection of dance / theater and performance. In the constellation  /Fiksdal/Siljeholm/Skjeldal and the project Moving Society, she is currently investigating an expanded choreography concept, where the goal is to create movement in society.

I have my own interest in movement combined with text, voice work and site-specific work and have also developed installations for art festivals. I have been involved in creating several productions for children and young people. As a performer I have toured in the Nordics, Europe, Russia, U.S.A. and South America, teached and giving workshops in voice work and movement in Norway, the Netherlands, Chile and Brazil and Ethiopia.


Betina Birkjær has a bachelor’s degree in dramaturgy from Aarhus University and is a trained performing-artist from the School of Stage Arts at Cantabile 2 in Vordingborg. In addition, Betina is a self-taught author and is part of two theater groups. One is the Teatro de Los Sentidos, which is based in Barcelona and the other is Luna Park Scenekunst,which she has co-founded with Luise Midtgaard, and which is based in Svendborg.

When I was a child, I invented secret written languages, built cities, visited alien planets, and practiced hitting windmills with one hand. Wondered why ladybugs are red and why I was the only girl who wanted to play football. Seemed Sundays should be skipped, because it was the last day of the week and therefore just in the way. Felt free on my bike. Would be the first Native American chief to live solely on mackerel and cocoa. In addition, I wanted to be a writer and travel the world with a French circus.


Jon Halvor Bjørnseth has composed music for bands, theater, dance and multimedia for many years, and is also an experienced music workshop leader who is behind Drivhuset – the foundation for musical workshop work. In a band context, Jon Halvor played guitars, but has increasingly switched to playing a number of self-constructed string and percussion instruments that stem from the Greenhouse’s many creative projects. In addition, his relationship with the computer has changed from being a tool for composing and recording audio to becoming a live instrument where you sample and process sounds live. As part of the duo Båndvidda together with Isak Anderssen, Jon Halvor has also worked with a number of sound installations where the audience can influence music and sounds in different ways.

Eva Dahr is educated at Distriktshøyskolen i Volda and at Bela Balaz studio in Budapest in Hungary. She is perhaps best known in recent times for the TV series, NRK’s drama series Himmelblå, which set an audience record for Norwegian TV drama with 1.3 million TV viewers at most, and which has won several awards.

Of feature films, Eva Dahr has directed the film drama Brennende blomster (1985), Mars & Venus (2007). Appelsinpiken (2009), based on Jostein Gaarders novel of the same name. She has also made several films for children, including Drømmehesten, Taktikk and In Transit, and now the children’s film Trio, which plays in Norwegian cinemas across the country. In 2013, Eva Dahr directed the youth series Stikk for NRK Super.

Sammen med søsteren, skuespilleren Juni Dahr, she has made three short films, Dolce Vita (1989), in which Juni Dahr plays a female shoemaker, Du er ikke alene og Troll (1991).Eva Dahr was a short film consultant at Norsk filminstitutt and Norsk filmfond in the period from 1998 to 2002. Furthermore, she has been section manager and producer in the advertising agency Stayer as and line manager at the Art and Film School in Nordland, Kabelvåg. From 2013, Eva Dahr has been engaged in a part-time position as head teacher under the direction of Den norske filmskolen in Lillyhammer. She is an associate professor of film and television drama.