Collective reading session
Jonah Martensen


Exposing and empowering ourselves through uncontrolled readings.
In writing, people cry tears out.

In this public and collective reading session, each participant was asked to bring personal writings which they have produced within the last few months.

“After befriending randomness through games that include performance scores, the reading session started. What and in which order people read was entirely random. Randomness take over. We show the strength to forfeit control. Having each person willingly read uncontrollably brings about a performative reading without risking shame or punishment.

The exercise is a daring challenge of exposedness and trust. We will together aim for awkward silences, silent cries and collective Consolation.”

Proposed and moderated by artist Jonah Martensen, the session of Crying Classroom was a new experience of uncontrolled readings. Participants were invited to bring personal writings from the past few months. Embracing the element of chance, the session started with performance-based gamesthat include performance scores and infused unpredictability into the readings. As each participant took turns to share their writings in a completely random order, a sense of anticipation and curiosity filled the room.

The daring challenge of exposedness and trust appeared within this circle of interaction, while introspection and collective consolation and moments of silence were formed among the participants, exploring the multidimensions of this session.

Jonah Martensen (*2003 in Neustadt am Rübenberge) is an artist based in Weimar. His works happen at the intersections of presence, body, speech, and voice, as his practice is seen as both poetic and collective.
Latest activities include hosting a workshop for the Crying Classroom, developing stage performances with the performance group Clara Zeitkin, and a movement-piece for theatre.
If he’s not onto something performative, you might catch him knitting and thinking about new textile designs.

Watch the video HERE.