janet grau

The Mattering Instinct

The Mattering Instinct

Lecture performance, video, 2022

The Mattering Instinct is a lecture performance in which philosophical ideas are conveyed not only through language, but also through objects and staging, movement and gesture.

The work is based on the ‘mattering theory’ of the American philosopher Rebecca Newberger Goldstein. The script for the lecture performance was compiled with the author’s permission from her essays, speeches and interviews.

In a compact and playful lecture, I present Goldstein’s theory as the philosopher herself. Accompanying – and sometimes interrupting – my remarks are the two performers who appear with me. They implement Goldstein’s ideas and embody the desire for attention and the striving to matter.

The performance unfolds additional dimensions: It implements the philosophical ideas with lightness and humor, without losing sight of the conceptual core. Abstract concepts thus become visible, tangible and accessible to a wider audience.

"In fact, I do think that it’s a strange uniqueness of our species, that the achievements that we can lay claim to as well as the atrocities that we can lay claim to – all derive from the same deep longing in each of us to 'matter'."

The Mattering Instinct

6 Videos

Performers: Janet Grau, Cecilia Ponteprimo, Lorenzo Ponteprimo
Sound design: Danijel Lokas (sonderskooler)
Camera: Max P. Martin and Ferhat Neptun

The Mattering Instinct was performed live in the Heiliggeistkirche Heidelberg in May 2022.

Photos: Max P. Martin 

Mattering drawing number 1
One of the sketches I created while researching Goldstein's mattering theory.
The Mattering Instinct
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