The Interview as Convergent Point *

Between Qualitative Research and Performance Art


  • Inga Gerner Nielsen



This article explores how a combination of qualitative research and immersive performance has given Inga Gerner Nielsen insight into her audience’s aesthetic perception and imaginary realm in a performance installation. It begins by affirming that to ask an audience open questions about a performance only provides testimony of the after-rationalizations of their experience. The author introduces a phenomenological interview method which draws on sense-memory techniques directing the interviewee to produce thick descriptions, actualizing the lived experience in the interview. In response to Norman K. Denzin’s call for a performative dialogical social science, Nielsen examines why interview material should be conceptualized as performance and explores how working artistically with the interview setup can serve to highlight inherent power dynamics. The article ends with examples showing how the interview was turned into a central immersive element of Inga Gerner Nielsen’s artworks.


Inga Gerner Nielsen

Inga Gerner Nielsen has a BA in Sociology and an MA in Modern Culture. In 2007, she co-founded the activist
performance collective Club de la Faye, and in 2010 the performance agency Fiction Pimps. In 2013, she directed ‘The Velvet State’, Fiction Pimps’ critically acclaimed long-durational staging of the Roskilde Festivals Art Zone. She received the Leipzig Bewegungskunstpreis in 2017 along with her partner Johannes Maria Schmit for their site-specific one-to-one performance ‘The Queeng of Ama*r’.


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Artworks mentioned

‘Night at the Hospital’ by SIGNA, The Danish Royal Theatre, Turbinehallerne, 2007

‘Okänd, kvinna’ by Anna Odell, The University College of Arts, Craft and Design in Stockholm, 2009

‘Chopins’ Heart / Azyl Fryderyk’ by Poste Restante, co- produced by MAP – Mobile Art Productions, Stockholm, Sweden, 2010, and Teatr Dramatyczny festival Warszawa Centralna “Migrajce”, produced in cooperation with Propaganda Foundation, Warszawa 2010

‘The Crack’ by Fiction Pimps, House of Futures, 2009

‘Seeing Pink Narcissus’ by Inga Gerner Nielsen, with Rasmus Knutzen Nielsen, curated by Iben Elmstrøm, 68 Square metres (today SixtyEight Art Institute), Copenhagen, 2014

‘Your Past Belongs to Them Now’ by Inga Gerner Nielsen in collaboration with TwLetteratura as part of the project EutopiaDystopia, supported by KulturKANTen and Compagnia di Sanpaolo, Vendsyssels Teater, 2018, and Polo del ´900, Turin, 2019

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Gerner Nielsen, I. (2021). The Interview as Convergent Point *: Between Qualitative Research and Performance Art. Peripeti, 18(33), 55–76.