AAAE Conference, New York

Braid Schema

Hosted by Baruch College / CUNY, New York. See more here.

The Braid – Facilitating the Facilitators

Saturday, June 3, 2023, 1pm – 2pm

This session will introduce an arts-based facilitation practice, The Braid, by sharing its artistic and theoretical context along with an example of its application, followed by a 45 minute, hands-on workshop, and feedback conversation. The Braid’s organizing principle is reflected in its three areas: Power, Publics, Poiesis, or in another alliteration, Managing, Mediating, Making. Unlike solution-centered facilitation methods, the Braid focuses on developing an ecological, institutional imagination from within workshop participants’ intersectional, lived experiences. Institutional imagination is a core component of leadership. The Braid facilitation practice can promote and root participatory leadership approaches. It can be useful for arts organizations, groups of administrators, educators, artists, and arts administration students.

14th SAR International Conference: ‘Too Early / Too Late’


April 19-21, 2023 Program

Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim

Just right: Performing facilitation as artistic research

40 min Presentation + 40 min Discussion
Olavshallen: Korsalen
Facilitation techniques — developed and alive in activist theater contexts (Preston 2016), largely defanged as popular, cultural, and corporate compliance delivery systems, and recently reintroduced holistically in social justice work (Brown 2021) — are under-represented and under-utilized as artistic research practices. They draw on performance modalities, while also engaging more broadly with architecture, design, sculpture, language, and gaming in their intersections with co-operative practices. Drawing on a forthcoming paper for Performance Research Journal, I discuss how facilitation can be fruitfully located at the core or “the dynamic middle” of Peircean diagrammatic processes, where “a continuum of possible realizations is built into a diagram” (Stjernfelt 2007). Associated exercises will make palpable the role of the artistic facilitator: devising or co-devising and guarding this diagrammatic space, holding it open as widely as possible for participants’ polyvalent imagination and diffractive co-articulation. The deep potential of facilitation techniques is the ability to translate among multiple, embodied, and otherwise enshrined models of meaning making, while also rendering their underlying ontologies transparent. Allied with embodied, affirmative critique (Braidotti 2010), such transparency surfaces epistemic diversity by challenging “the occlusive constitution of the field of categories themselves” (Butler 2002). By presenting my research on the diagrammicity of my artistic practice, Performative Diagrammatics, in conjunction with exercises in facilitation design, I hope to expand on the Diagrammatic Facilitation workshop, “Micro-Practices for a New Gentleness,” which I offered at SAR 2022, and also to explore and support interest in a SIG on “Facilitation as Artistic Research.”

EXPO Chicago 2023

hearts_rosesNavy Pier Festival Hall Booth #480
600 E Grand Ave, Chicago IL
April 13 – April 16, 2023

Tria Smith has created streetwear fashions that transform everyday materials from trash to couture. Visitors are invited to harvest and clean plastic waste, and wear the transformed clothes. Adelheid Mers engages visitors in conversations about strategies of circularity, and individual versus collective responsibility. Ideas and actions are recorded onto whiteboards to visualize and capture these ongoing conversations. Lan Tuazon designed the booth walls using Waterbricks, a revolutionary container system for people in need of bulk water and food, that join two deeply interrelated materials of the climate crisis – water and plastic – in secondary use.  We invite you to join us in a circular approach, as we reimagine how to innovate and recirculate by simply thinking and acting differently. 

The Braid @ New York Arts Program

October 22: The workshop at New York Arts Program was an opportunity to develop an additional aspect of The Braid, using it as a co-writing and writing initiating tool. Over the initial hour, students stepped through The Braid, sharing and validating what they already know about their practices across the dimensions of Making, Mediating and Managing. They then detached the note tiles and in their groups ordered them into a shared narrative. Taking away images of the arrangements can then serve as an opportunity for reflection, and an initial step for further, personal writing. 

Call: Performance, Pedagogy, and Co-Presence
Performance Pedagogy Workshop 2022

Convenors: Adelheid Mers & Rumen Rachev

Inspired by the 2022 conference theme of Hunger, the PSi Performance and Pedagogy Working Group will explore what it means for a conference to pose the human and disciplinary challenge to engage in the real world. What does it mean to ‘engage?’ 

We would like to use the idea of presence to further spin out the questions above. Recently, Alice Lagaay and Anna Seitz (2020) asked about “the role presence could be permitted to play in academic situations of co-presence with others,” including “conferences, seminars or lectures.” We understand that PSi asks to expand this idea, to enact the conference’s co-presence with others in the world. 

The idea of presence will be investigated through the notion of translinearity; that is, as “performative forms of research, teaching and learning that cannot easily be transferred into linearized formats” (Holkenbrink & Seitz, 2018). What forms of dialogues can arise from co-presence within academia and beyond the walls of the institution? How can we listen in the context of a dialogue? Which forms of action might that produce? 

We are seeking promptsideas and/or suggestions to sharpen the topic, its attendant unease and contradictions, along with long-awaited opportunities and excitement, for discussion and/or presentation at three sessions the Working Group will host online. Please write to us at by July 15th and we will collate/curate sessions around your prompts. Contact email in link.

We will convene online: 

23rd of July, 7 – 8 pm CDT
30th of July, 2 – 3 pm CDT
6th of August, 7 – 8 pm CDT

13th SAR International Conference 2022 

Bauhaus University Weimar, Germany about

I presented a workshop, ‘Micro-practices for a New Gentleness’  and gave a brief introduction to work jointly done with Steve Dutton, at the Gathering for the Special Interest Group, Language-based Artistic Research.

1. Respectful, detailed, ethical engagements: Facilitating ‘Micro-practices for a New Gentleness’   

Saturday, 2 July 2022 10:00 am

In “The Three Ecologies” Guattari asked to “organize new micropolitical and microsocial practices, new solidarities, a new gentleness, together with new aesthetic and new analytic practices.” I am inviting conference attendees to join me in a facilitated conversation, as part of my recent project, ‘Micro-practices for a New Gentleness’. The project was developed by probing conventions of studio critique and conversational improvisation for constructive patterns. We will use a set of 18, largely participant-administrated prompts, supported by associated 3-d printed figurines. As an immigrant, who has lived in a host country for many years, I am interested in centering epistemic diversity. Not the proverbial ‘melting pot’ is ever the outcome of living together, but a series of patterns by which, as Karen Barad states “differences that make a difference” appear, as part of “respectful, detailed, ethical engagements.”

2. Gathering: Language-based Artistic Research  
Friday 1 July 2022  
from: Emma Cocker, Alexander Damiansich, Cordula Daus, Lena Séraphin – we will be in Weimar, Germany, introducing the activities of the Special Interest Group of Language-based Artistic Research as part of the Society of Artistic Research Conference 2022.   
Join us if you can for this first in-person meeting since 2019, where we continue to explore the questions: How is language-based artistic research? How to enable connections and affinities between researchers? How to establish shared frames of reference? Since 2019, this Language-based Artistic Research Special Interest Group has evolved through various activities including Practice Sharing (2020), a gathering of over 70 online examples of language-based practices from diverse fields such as visual arts, performance, film, theatre, music, choreography and literature; and Affinities and Urgencies (2021/22), two online events that comprised sessions facilitated by different groups or individuals identifying constellations of interest and focus within this expanding field of research practice. This live and in-person session during the SAR conference continues along these lines moving towards a more distributed organisation of the Special Interest Group. We will share recent activities, introduce ‘thematic nodes’ and engage with a wider community of artistic researchers, including a second call for ‘Practice Sharing’.   
With introductions to emergent thematic nodes from:  
Rachel Armstrong | Breg Horemans | Rolf Hughes | Virginia Tassinari 
Steve Dutton | Adelheid Mers  
Regina Dürig | Anna T. | Marinos Koutsomichalis | Phoenix Savage  
Marjolijn van den Berg | Nirav Christophe | Daniela Moosmann | Ninke Overbeek  
Rosie Heinrich | Sepideh Karami | Daisy Hildyard | Katrin Hahner  
Lena Séraphin | Emma Cocker | Andrea Coyotzi Borja | Cordula Daus | Vidha Saumya 
Mariana Renthel | Anouk Hoogendoorn  
This event is part of the Society of Artistic Research conference, and you will need to register for the conference to attend this event. For conference registration/booking details see  
The full conference programme can be viewed here –  
See first edition of Practice Sharing here –  

Indeterminacy Festival – Braiding across disciplines, April 25-30, 2022

Workshops are underway in Malta, Montreal, Buffalo, and Chicago. Here are a few images from the third day, with the workshop “Where the Music is, and how to do it there”, led by Ben Zucker and hosted in my studio.

Since 2016, Stanzi Vaubel has directed the annual Indeterminacy Festival, offering curated, arts-based laboratories that challenge participants to connect across disciplinary expertise. The 2022 iteration of the Indeterminacy Festival: Re-Disciplining in the 21st Century is being created in collaboration with Adelheid Mers, using The Braid, a multi-dimensional facilitation instrument Mers has developed, as a point of departure. Our goal was to support a line-up of facilitated workshops, each developed from within our contributor’s artistic practices. The Indeterminacy Festival was invited by the School of Performing Arts at the University of Malta. It is taking place there, and at satellite locations, in April 2022.

Expo Chicago, April 7-10, 2022

Expo Chicago 6018 North

These whiteboards will be at the 6018 North “Sustaining” exhibit at Expo Chicago (Booth 455), ready to braid questions and personal approaches to climate justice and action. Here are some materials: Project Drawdown, Julie’s Bicycle, Sara Lazarovic’s comic “Drawing a Path to Action“, IPCC, COP26, Chicago 2022 Climate Action Plan, The Helen Frankenthaler Climate Initiative.

Update: Here are images taken over the four days of conversations. Artists considered sustainability of careers and materials. Sustainability consultants, non-profit leaders, entrepreneurs and developers reflected on or simply shared communication and investment strategies and business models. New ideas were sparked as well.

Spring 2022

Steve_Braid_Convo copy

In February, I’ll be in conversation with artist and curator Steve Dutton, as part of Affinities + Urgencies in Language-based Artistic Research (PART II), facilitated using The Braid. I will speak about Performative Diagrammatics at a symposium, Art as Education and Education as Art, held at Chapel Arts Studio, UK. A Micro-practices for a New Gentleness workshop is scheduled to take place with the ARTexchange program of the College Art Association Conference in Chicago, which has pivoted online. In June (just postponed from April), I’ll contribute a Micro-practices for a New Gentleness session to the SAR symposium  at the Bauhaus University Weimar. I’ve been invited to develop a piece on Diagrammatic Instruments as generative ‘middle terms’ for the Journal for Performance Research, for an issue On Diagrams and the Diagrammatic. The University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna is supporting new work on “Intra-view digital”, with Doris Ingrisch. In preparation is a Symposium at the University of Malta, in collaboration with Stanzi Vaubel, developing personal facilitation modules with 30 artists and scholars, to take place on-line in April, with in-person satellite events in Chicago, Montreal and Buffalo, NY.

The Braid Kit: Facilitating a faculty retreat at GVSU

mers_gvsu_August 2021 – Over two days, I facilitated a retreat at Grand Ravines Park in Michigan, for the Visual and Media Arts Department of Grand Valley State University. Faculty, staff and alumni participated. Invited and supported by department chair Paul Wittenbraker, I worked closely with Jenn Schaub, an alum of the program and the Director of Community Building & Engagement at the Dwelling Place of Grand Rapids. Goals were bringing everyone together after a reorganization to assess and reconnect, and visioning future scenarios. Starting with Braid diagram supported conversations about participants’ own, creative practices, we moved on to using String Braids in reflecting on each area’s curriculum and pedagogy, followed by exploring connecting narratives that can collectively move forward Art History, Art Education, Visual Studies, and multiple Fine Arts, Design and Production specialties.

CSPA Quarterly  – Q33: “For a New Gentleness”


July 2021 – Co-edited with Daniel Jiménez Quiroz, and stewarded by Meghan Moe Beitiks, CSPA Quarterly – Q33: “For a New Gentleness” is live today, with essays by María Iñigo Clavo and Benvenuto Chavajay Ixtetelá, Alejandro Ponce de Leó, Işıl Eğrikavuk, Tyanif Rico Rodríguez on Manuela Infante, and Juan Pablo Pacheco Bejarano. Get it here.


“Performative Topologies – small gestures from within”

Mers_Performative Topologies Circuit_2020

July 2021 – My text, “Performative Topologies”, is part of the Special Issue Flesh Circuits edited by Connor Mcgarrigle and El Putnam for the International Journal of Performance Arts and Digital Media.

“Performative Diagrammatics: An Artistic Exploration of the Relation Between Epistemic Diversity and Systemic Elasticity”

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June 2021 – GPS 4.1 is out, an online, peer-reviewed journal, including my essay about The Braid and Performative Topologies. I am very excited about the ability to include video clips in the body of the text. 

Illinois Arts Council Fellowship

May 5, 2021. I am happy to share that I was awarded an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship, in the category of Performance-based Art, New Performance Forms. 

Performance Studies international – Constellate

In June and July 2021, the newly formed PSi Working Group Performance & Pedagogy will convene two sets of three online workshops as part of the Constellate events, to investigate permutations of the question how knowing in performing shapes performance pedagogies and the institutions that house and deploy them. You can find out more here.


On August 13., 14., and 15., as part of the “Neighbourhoods” stream of PSi Constellate, there will be three opportunities to explore “Micro-Practices for a New Gentleness”, through an online Performative Diagrammatics Lab.  The full Constellate line-up is here.

Update: here is documentation of the event.


“The Braid: Moving Across Dimensions from Representation to Performativity”


The Braid: Moving Across Dimensions from Representation to Performativity.
In: Birte Kleine-Benne, Ed (2021). Exploring Dispositifs. Logos Verlag Berlin.
I tell the story of how the BRAID Instrument came about, emerging from conversations with artists, intersections with readings, and explorations in prototyping sessions, and how it can be used in facilitated workshops and beyond.
With contributions in English and German. Contributions in English include texts by Adrian Piper (2019), Lucy Lippard (1997), Andrea Fraser (2005), and Luis Camnitzer (2017). Contributions in German include texts by Elke Bippus (2020) and Birte Kleine-Benne (2018/2020).


Practice Sharing: “The Braid” + “Performative Topologies”

December 2020: I am happy to share that I contributed to Practice Sharing — an online presentation of expanded approaches to language-based practice within the field of artistic research 

Practice Sharing is now launched — an online presentation of expanded approaches to language-based practice within the field of artistic research. Over  70 individuals and collaborations are included in this first ‘sharing’: See

The intent has been to reflect on how language-based artistic research is practised in its diversity rather than to define or determine. As such, the focus on language within artistic research is considered from a broad and transforming perspective to include diverse fields such as visual arts, performance, film, theatre, music, choreography as well as literature; where language-based practices might include (as well as move beyond) different approaches to writing, reading, speaking, listening.

Contributors were invited to respond to an open ‘call’ outlining their specific approach with one or two examples from their own artistic- or practice-based research — focusing on specific language-based ‘practices’. The 70 chosen submissions have been ordered alphabetically such that the reader may search by name or explore each contribution within the immediate vicinity of other contributions to allow for chance acquaintances, unexpected resonances and aleatory connections.

Rather than a definitive or exhaustive archive or survey of the field, this exposition hopefully provides a starting point from which future conversations and collaborations might emerge.

Practice Sharing will continue to evolve through future calls and contributions. Conceived and co-organised by Emma Cocker, Alexander Damianisch, Cordula Daus and Lena Séraphin, this Special Interest Group (SIG) in Language-based  Artistic Research* is part of an initiative of the Society for Artistic Research which provides contexts for coming together via the exchange of language-based research.

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The Braid as structuring device in Art, Engagement and Economy

Throughout an online book, Art, Engagement and Economy, produced in 2020 as part of a fellowship at Moore College of Art and Design, Caroline Woolard uses The Braid’s sections – make, mediate, manage –  as a structuring element, and explains why in an introductory section.

The Braid at the HPAC Gala


November 2020. With Asha Iman Veal and Hannah Lawson, The Braid is available as a virtual engagement at the Hyde Park Art Center Gala. 

2020: postponed, in progress, publishing

2020 has seen conferences, workshops, and residencies postponed, and this cycle is continuing into the first half of 2021. The Performance Studies international conference in Rijeka, at which we had intended to newly convene the Performance and Pedagogy group I now co-lead, was postponed and is expected to be virtual next summer. A Micro-practices for a New Gentleness workshop and a paper on this most recent work were also invited to be part of one of the conference streams. A teaching assignment at the Bauhaus University Weimar, the third in a series and also intended to continue work on Micro-practices for a New Gentleness, may need to be postponed a second time.

This year, chairing my department at the School of the Art Institute since May has been almost all-consuming, but it also is work I love to do. When I was developing a program in Digital Arts Administration during my last round as a chair (that was not realized at the time), I did not anticipate we would all be digital arts administrators now.

At the same time, writing projects emerged and are now variously in press, nearing completion, and in review. With Daniel Quiroz, I am co-editing an issue of CSPA-Quarterly, called A New Gentleness, and I thank Moe Beitiks for the invitation. It allows me to see how (much) we ask of each other from yet another perspective. An essay about The Braid is part of a book that has grown to include contributions in German and English, Dispositiv-Erkundungen, jetzt, (‘Dispositif’ explorations, now) edited by Birte Kleine-Benne and Elke Bippus. I am telling the story of The Braid’s emergence from my (faulty) diagram of Karen Barad’s “Posthumanist Performativity”, becoming a diagrammatic instrument that opened the doors to understanding performance as part of my work, eventually posing a challenge to perform a transition between world views. A text about discovering Vilem Flusser’s writing, called Stalking the Continuum,  will be republished in an Anthology, Understanding Flusser: Understanding Modernism, edited by Aaron Jaffe, Michael F. Miller, and Rodrigo Martini. Two more texts, about Performative Diagrammatics and Performative Topologies, are in various stages of peer review.

A multi-year grant I was a co-applicant for was awarded to my colleagues in Canada by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. They are working on Cultural Mapping the Opioid Crisis in Small Cities in British Columbia, and I look forward to contributing in time

Workshop: Micro-practices for a New Gentleness

1:00 – 2:00, Saturday, January 25, 2020. Index Art Book Fair, Mexico City.  “Micro-practices for a New Gentleness” is a prototype-stage co-creation workshop, developed in Chicago by a constellation of international and interdisciplinary collaborators with art, design, music, and mediation backgrounds.


The facilitation instrument is a hybrid, multiple-publishable object. A small number of copies will be available at the Index Art Book FairJanuary 23-26, 2020.

Organizer Adelheid Mers is bringing to the Index Art Book Fair a facilitation instrument that aims to bring meta-communication into play through talk mixed with choreographic, full-body gestures. This is only the second public presentation of this material, after the workshop at the Vilém Flusser Archive in Berlin earlier this month. Your participation and input are invited.

Meet the Chicago 400: Lessons in the Carceral State

January 21, 2020, The Drawing Center, New York

Drawing Center monitors_


In fall 2019, while I participated in the Faculty Projects show at the Sullivan Galleries, Laurie Jo Reynolds reached out and initiated a conversation about creating a systematic overview of her ongoing advocacy project, The Chicago 400, which addresses the bureaucratic complexities released sex offenders experiencing homelessness in Chicago encounter as they are obligated to weekly register with police. Laurie Jo also invited me to envision art work, specifically videos. Diagram and two video works were shown as part of the Drawing Center’s exhibition, Meet the Chicago 400: Lessons in the Carceral State.


LJR copy

Workshop: Micro-practices for a New Gentleness

Saturday, January 18, 2020. In the frames of Vorspiel / transmediale & CTM programme, the Vilém Flusser Archive presents the workshop “Micro-practices for a New Gentleness” by Adelheid Mers (Performative Diagrammatics Laboratory)

mers_figures.pngOrganizer Adelheid Mers is bringing to the Flusser Archive a prototype of a facilitation instrument that aims to bring metacommunication into play through talk mixed with choreographic, full-body gestures. Following a brief, introductory explanation, your participation and input in a facilitated interaction are desired. Together, we may gain insights into how conversation works. In German, English, and any language you may contribute. All abilities welcome. Attendance limit 15. Please register via

Exhibition and Workshops: Performative Diagrammatics Lab at Sullivan Galleries/w Saturday Club

August 28 – October 19, 2019

Performative Topologies and THE BRAID are included in the SAIC Faculty Projects Exhibition. Performative Topologies will be enacted at the reception, September 20. THE BRAID will be available for activation with classes Wednesdays through Fridays, during gallery hours.

The Performative Diagrammatics Lab adapts to site.  As part of this iteration, I will hold two, six-session Saturday workshop sequences, the Saturday Club. The workshops revolve around the following questions: 1. How to develop a tangible Crit Kit, and 2. How to devise Embodied Reading Tactics. Both questions address teaching as radical possibility. Dates are September 14, 21, 28, and October 5, 12, and 19. Please get in touch if you are interest in joining a workshop.

Saturday Club Dates

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In the Studio

August 2019

Enacting critique and enacting critical/affirmative methods in a conversation on leadership with Gerda Müller, Vice Rectorate for Organisational Development, Gender & Diversity, University of Music and Performing Arts, Vienna.

Conference Workshop: The Braid at PSI25

July 2019

THE BRAID will be activated in a workshop at PSI25, Calgary, Canada. Read the description.

Missing Scenes Workshop. Goat Island Archive.

June 2019

I spent three days with curator Nick Lowe, Sarah Skaggs and others, discovering fractal responses to the responses and the concept of the exhibition: “Goat Island Archive – we have discovered the performance by making it.”  +IMG_9825

Wege Projekt

March 2019. Presented at the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna, the Wege Projekt, collectively organized by Doris Ingrisch, Andrea Sodomka and Florian Tanzer, shares conversations with interdisciplinary artists and performers. The project is summarized in a video on the page linked above (in German). The screenshot below shows a collage of work I addressed when being interviewed.

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Code Movement Workshop

May 2019

I am heading to New York for three weekends in May, participating in The School for Poetic Computing Code Movement workshop. This is session 1/3, in Nancy Meehan’s studio. Here are short video clips from the second meeting.

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Exhibition: Membrane

March 7, 2019 – April 20, 2019

With Jörg Brinkmann, Ursula Damm, Adelheid Mers, Rachel Smith, Moritz Wehrmann. Kunstverein Tiergarten|Galerie Nord, Turmstr. 75, Berlin. 

Opening: 7 pm, March 7, 2019 (German Info)

On view will be The Braid and Fractal-3-Line Matrix Whiteboards and related video documentation, and new Performative Topologies video work, developed with Robert Woodley. Performative Topologies were created in Chicago with Joseph Lefthand, Vero D. Orozco, Caroline Kawen Ng and other contributors,  and with a group of students at the Bauhaus University Weimar.

You are invited to join us at these workshops:

Saturday, 3.9., 5–7 pm: Performative Topologies, with Adelheid Mers, Joseph Lefthand, Vero D. Orozco and Caroline Kawen Ng

Thursday, 3.14., 5–7 pm: The Braid, with Adelheid Mers

Friday, 3.15., 5–7 pm: Performative Topologies, with Adelheid Mers

Thursday, 3.21. 5–7 pm: Fractal 3-Line Matrix, with Adelheid Mers

Friday, 3.22., 5–7 pm: Performative Topologies, with Adelheid Mers

Friday, 4.5., 5–7 pm: Performative Topologies, with Sarah Hermanutz and Ruo-Jin Yen

Tuesday,  April 16., 5–7 pm: Performative Topologies, with Maud Canisius and Sarah Hermanutz

About workshops:

Adelheid Mers’ diagrammatic templates are greatly condensed texts and conversations. Simultaneously they contain the invitation to unfold them performatively, experimentally and playfully. This is why workshops are a central part of this exhibition. Visitors will be introduced to the diagrams and invited to actively engage them.

Three workshop modules will be offered. The Fractal 3-Line Matrix is a two-dimensional tool that visualizes non-hierarchical forms of text interpretation. In the workshop we will probe the template’s multiple functions, using an example text. Participants will learn to implement and also adapt the methods contained in the matrix.

The module using the three-dimensional Braid template invites participants to synergistically assess conditions that impact their own professional practices. Participants from the cultural sector, for example artists, designers, theorists or administrators, may ideally work in rotating pairs, to gain and share new insights by comparing and inscribing their experiences into the Braid template.

The workshop module Performative Topologies is conceptualized as a game and movement lab. Differently from the preceding two workshops the initial engagement here is through a verbally shared algorithm. This module asks how the presentation of an imagined object under alternating perspectives (for example imagining, describing, sketching, performing) promotes a new understanding of one’s own ways to value personal experience. This module will culminate in a joint performance – a spatial diagram of sorts.

By contributing to a workshop, participants both support the artist in her ongoing research into Performative Diagrammatics and gain the opportunity to explore and share what often tends to be backgrounded in daily work and life – own ways of perceiving, valuing, thinking and representing.

Workshops take place in German and English. Participation is free.

Study Center for Groupwork: Video

March 2019

Talk: Performative Diagrammatics as Action Model

February 25, 2019

Walsh Arts & Sciences Seminar Series, Clarkson University, Potsdam, New York. 

Artist and researcher Adelheid Mers uses diagrammatic means to probe artistic and communal processes of knowing and working. In her talk, she will outline her own action model, “Performative Diagrammatics”, through which she knits together her work in visual art and Cultural Management Studies. By contextualizing her mode of working with related models by theorists and practitioners across fields, such as Sociology, Ethnography, Performance Studies, and Psychology, she will show how the concept of action model itself can offer a foundation for interdisciplinary work, by connecting themes across the metaphors practitioners and theorists alike deploy to do their work. The talk will be bookmarked by two workshops,  “Using The Braid”, and “From Braid to Meta Crit Kit”. This visit was organized by Alex M. Lee.

Workshop: Performative Topologies – For an Art of Emigration

January 11, 2019

I offered a workshop at the annual conference of the Fachverband Kulturmanagement, University of Music and Performing Arts, Vienna.

Description: Culture shock happens when a traveler returns home. To make the familiar seem strange is part of the role of art. What this workshop can do is to make familiar ways of thinking strange, by drawing on embodied knowledge. An art of emigration considers the value of de-familiarization to audiences, and ultimately to communication among co-located, but disparate constituencies. The workshop ‘Many Figures Form a Ground’ takes participants through a series of transpositions that mimic artistic processes of making things strange, through multimodal experimentation.

A team of facilitators will lead a 45-minute narrative and performative sequence that opens with a brief introduction, operates through facilitator prompts and mutual counsel among participants, and culminates in a simultaneous performance by all participants. The game sequence is to be followed by discussion and joint assessment of the experience, along with a theoretic contextualization that will elucidate diagrammatic concepts at work.


Performative Topologies at the Hyde Park Art Center Gala

November 16, 2018

Performative Topologies was facilitated by Vero D. Orozco, Joseph Lefthand and Caroline Ng. Giannella Tavano served as resident choreographer. Robert Woodley live transformed a 360º camera stream. Social Media feed by Gabriel Chalfin-Piney. More stills and video at:

There’s also more at the Continuum Tab on this blog.

In the Studio

November 10, 2018

Back in Chicago, a meeting to get ready for the first public presentation of Performative Topologies at the Hyde Park Art Center Gala. Robert Woodley’s topological video transformations will be applied and streamed live. Judith Leemann and Billie Lee happened to be in Chicago and joined us.

IMG_9021 2_Screen Shot 2018-11-11 at 7.34.49 AMin torusJudith_Gabriel_small planet18-11-11 at 8.09.32 AM

Research in Vienna: Interview Methods

October 2018

Research continued in Vienna with gender studies theorist Doris Ingrisch. As part of a project funded through a grant from the University of Music and Performing Arts through which we are learning more about artist conversations, we met with two performance artists, Doris Uhlich and Gabri Einsiedl, and with two composer/musicians, Maria Gstättner and Stefan Heckel. (Next steps in January.)

Block Seminar at the Bauhaus University Weimar

October 2018

For two weeks, also in October 2018, the studio moved to the Bauhaus University Weimar, on the invitation of Professor of Media Environments, Ursula Damm. Here, a seminar was the context for continued work on the game. While the game had emerged and developed intuitively in Chicago over the summer, in Weimar we used the block seminar structure with its daily meetings to formalize the sequence of game prompts, observe performance iterations and bring in readings. We experimented with drawing the game figures, and started to dig ‘in between’ the steps of the sequence. With Sandra Anhalt, Maud Canisius, Tamara Conde,  Laura Giraldo Diaz, Vanessa Engelmann, Regine Elbers, Lara Hann, Sarah Hermanutz, Yen Ruo-Jin, Margarita Valdivieso.


We are beginning to dig into the transpositions that appear to occur in the gaps between steps.

In the Studio


With Vero D Orozco, Joseph Losinski, Sergio Mantilla, Laura Cardozo, Ed Diaz Trujillo,


We’re working out language – playing a game, making a game, devising game figures



Taking a bow



Later, playing with composites

In the Studio


With Vero D Orozco, Ed Diaz Trujillo, Giannella Ysasi

In the Studio


With Vero D Orozco, Joseph Losinski, Ed Diaz Trujillo, Caroline Ng

In the Studio


With Kenneth Bailey, Judith Leemann, Billie Lee, Poor Farm after party


Link to work we do together

In the Studio


With Tracie Hall and DeAmon Harges, comparing notes from the Artist as Problem Solver Convening, a follow-up meeting.

_IMG_6117_IMG_6126DeAmon was at the convening as “Roving Listener” and shared his observations and responses at the end. Here he reacts to a visual element of my response, one of a series of layered drawings. More about DeAmon’s work here.

The Gaze – this set of 20 drawings on transparent backgrounds is part of the response to the Artist as Problem Solver Convening. Here, digitized versions are randomly superimposed in groups of four each time the site is refreshed. The number of possible combinations is 20!/16! = 20 x 19 x 18 x 17 = 116,280. (Tap/click/Command R to refresh after clicking through to site)Screen Shot 2018-09-30 at 10.55.08 PM

Artist as Problem Solver Convening, Joyce Foundation, Indianapolis, March 2018

IMG_5405 (1)

summary of convening notes



Convening notes as Fractal 3-Line Matrix

Read linear notes here

Convening participants and topics

In the Studio

Wearing the Braid

In the Studio


With Asha Veal, Nicolas Melo, Dio Aldridge, Walking the Braid.

In the Studio


With Asha Veal, Greg Ruffing, Walking the Braid. Prototyping a different activation of the Braid, a shift in perception occurred. From here on, performative aspects of the work, always already present in diagram uses,  now took center stage.

The Talking Whiteboards Studio Project

Summer 2016

Most participants in this project engaged The Braid whiteboard, exploring their own modes of working while taking cues from the categories it displays. The Braid diagram emerged earlier this year from my ongoing conversations with artists about their practices.


Posts 1, 2, 3, 4

Final Talking Whiteboards edits on vimeo channel 

How do you work?


Conversations with experimental musicians, composers, and visual artists about their practices, followed by my visualizations of the conversations. In turn, artist’s respond to the visualizations. Since conversations happen in many different places, some of the responses later take place long-distance. Included here are responses that took place in my studio, and in one case, at a studio I had use of during a residency.

Visualizations, seen on the wall behind the artists or musicians, come in two versions – a freely composed scenario (left), and text entered into a Fractal 3-Line Matrix (right). Responses tend to be offered in the artist’s own medium.

05_Mers_James Falzone feedback session

With James Falzone, who responded to visualizations of our How do you work? conversation. Shown is a composite image of documentation.


09_Mers_Ken Vandermark feedback session

With Ken Vandermark, who responded to visualizations of our How do you work? conversation. Shown is a composite image of documentation.


02_Mers_Tomeka Reid feedback session

With Tomeka Reid, who responded to visualizations of ourHow do you work? conversation, at the Roger Brown Studio in New Buffalo, Michigan. Shown is a composite image of documentation.


Klement composite2_flat copy

With Katharina Klement, who responded to visualizations of our How do you work? conversation. Also participating, Lynn Book. Shown is a composite image of documentation.


Mallozzi composite copy

With Lou Mallozzi, who responded to visualizations of our How do you work? conversation. Shown is a composite image of documentation. More about this conversation is published with Chicago Artist Writers, here.


duignan_composite copy

With Jim Duignan, who responded to visualizations of our How do you work? conversation. Also participating, Katya Balueva. Composite image of documentation. Shown is a composite image of documentation.


Eric Leonardsen

With Eric Leonardson, who responded to visualizations of our How do you work? conversation. Shown is a composite image of documentation.

More about the ongoing series of conversations, visualizations and responses.

In the Studio


Goat Island_North

Inaugurating the newly renovated studio space with a conversation about attending and engagement, with Lin Hixson, Matthew Goulish, K.J. Holmes and Sarah Skaggs, 1/27/2016


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