Recently, the idea of “presence” has returned to the arts, humanities, and social sciences. In February 2013, in Zurich’s historical Cabaret Voltaire, which was central to the Dada movement almost a hundred years ago, an experimental international symposium took place that put presence under the microscope.
Presence: A Conversation at Cabaret Voltaire, Zurich is not a traditional post-conference publication but is conceived as a theatrical discussion of ideas between different speakers, both on and offstage. In contrast to transcribed conversations, monologues are interspersed throughout the book, acting like small, performative interruptions. The lively juxtaposition of both individual speech and colloquy is enhanced by theatrical conventions: characters enter and exit; stage directions mirror those found in the cabaret.