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WhatIIIF? - the International Interdisciplinary Improvisation Festival
An international, yearly, nomadic festival that attempts to answer the absurd question: Can improvisation be documented?


The International Interdisciplinary Improvisation Festival - WhatIIIF? - is a research gathering and performance playground for improvisers, each year in a different place in Europe, dedicated to answering the absurd question:

Can improvisation be documented (and how should that be done)?

Since the 2017 founding edition in Amsterdam, there has been London (UK, 2018) and Gothenborg (SE, 2019), then the covid-19 pandemic inspired Nowhere&Everywhere festival 2020/2021, which is still ongoing and Berlin (GER, 2021) was the fifth research festival, live again!

We organised a 12h online improvisation performance on 15 May 2021 with WhatIIIFers from 10 countries around the globe. See a summary of the durational performance livestream here.

WhatIIIF? is also partner of the 'if' improvisation festival organised by the Canadian International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation - IICSI - and was present on their online festivals in 2021 and 2022.

WhatIIIF 2023 will unfold in Rotterdam @WORM in the first week of October!

There is a public performance night on Wednesday, 4 October 2023 (look here) and there will be more moments to join the work --> Inscribe to our blog at instantcomposition.com to hear about it and jump in!


Our website instantcomposition.com is a linked working space and open library of improvisation aspects or elements. The idea is to create a shared vocabulary for improvisation practice that can be used interdisciplinary. It gets energized through the yearly meetings of WhatIIIF? and everyone is invited to contribute to it through these yearly gatherings, or at any other time through the website, from their own improvisation practice and perspective.

We have the dream of expanding it to an Expandable Networked Universe for the Art of Improvisation with our network of artists from 21+ countries once funding allows.


All WhatIIIF? festivals are free and open to any experienced improvisers. Tell us how you want to contribute with your practice and presence and we will link you with another participant so you can sharpen together the research focus with which you will join us.

Preparations for the next real-world WhatIIIF in 2023 are underway - more soon!


WhatIIIF? original initiators and regular gardeners:
Benedikte Esperi, Catharine Cary, Thomas Johannsen

Additional WhatIIIF? founding members in Amsterdam 2017:
Andrea Hackl, Esmeralda Detmers, Jagna Anderson, Marianthi Michailidou, Shelley Owen

WhatIIIF? researchers and kindness givers of London 2018:
Independent Dance, Sue Davies, Anat Ben-David, Sally Dean, Jasper Llewellyn, Dick James Hall, Maggie Nicolson, Dam Van Huynh Company, Centre 151, Pietro Denaro, Marianthi Michailidou, Catharine Cary, Thomas Johannsen, Shelley Owen, Esmeralda Detmers, Benedikte Esperi, Jay Luxemburg, Rosalie Walhfrid, Kajoli Ilojak, Agata Kik, Rut Blees Luxemburg, Annette Giesriegl, Middlesex Filter Beds, Trip Dance and the Royal College of Art.

WhatIIIF? researchers and performers of Gothenborg 2019:
Tuva Hildebrand, Nathalie Fari, Marianthi Michailidou, Catharine Cary, Reinhard Gagel, Thomas Johannsen, Shelley Owen, Esmeralda Detmers, Benedikte Esperi, Alexandra Mahnke, Galleri 54, Tiny Festival Producers, Theater Trickster, Anders Göransson

WhatIIF? performers/researchers & mystery guests in the Nowhere and Everywhere festival:
(to date, it's ongoing since May 2020)
Thomas Johannsen, Shelly Owen, Esmeralda Detmers, Catharine Cary, Reinhard Gagel, Chris Parfitt, Clarice Rito Plotkowski, Denitsa Dikova, Susanne Martin, Emmanuelle Pépin, Anet van de Elzen, Maria Mavridou, Anke Ames, Angélique Wilke, Anat Ben David, Danielle Davidson, Heini Nukari, Henry McPherson, Soila Sariola, Maria Michaildou, Ulrike Brand, Maria Sappho and mystery guest Simon, Yuri Bongers, Tommaso Rolando, Loes Rietkerk, Anna Riesel, Kate Allen, Deszo Virag, Astro A, Beni Lerner, Miguel Lopes, Lisa Thomas, K Rolland, Frank Fiedler, Doris Kollman, 8 participants of SAALFREI through 3 computers arranged in their practice space belonging to Johannes Blattner, M. Gunkel, Selina Koch, Nicolas Allwright and Joëlle Valterio.

WhatIIIF? organising committee Berlin 2021:
Reinhard Gagel, Jagna Anderson (preparations 2020), Ulrike Brand (2021), Danielle Davidson, Thomas Johannsen, Catharine Cary, Esmeralda Detmers, Shelley Owen

WhatIIIF? researchers & performers Rotterdam 2023:
Ernő Zoltán Rubik, Emmanuelle Pepin, Yoram Rosilio, Martine van Ditzhuyzen, Jean-Charles Francois, Joanna Graham, Danielle Davidson, Corinna Eikmeier, Esmeralda Detmers, Yves Favier, Thomas Johannsen, Gyorgy Kurtag, Zwaantje de Vries, Susanne Martin, Elena Waclawiczek, Tommaso Rolando, Réka Horváth, Lukas Simonis, Enikő Nagy, Elsa van der Linden, Tara Khozein, Laura Sarah Dowdall, Marion Tränkle, Jatun Risba, Annette Giesriegl, Lieuwe Zelle, Catharine Cary, Kick Huender, Shelley Owen, Zoltán Kerekes