Can political or art-related gatherings serve as rehearsals for an unforeseeable future? Yes, they can, according to choreographer/artist Dana Yahalomi/Public Movement (Tel Aviv) and political theorist Oliver Marchart (Vienna). Their term “pre-enactment” describes the anticipation of political events through art. On January 23rd, the two of them will be guests of a new series of talks entitled The Art of Assembly hosted by curator and author Florian Malzacher.
Whether in Tunis, Cairo, Madrid, or Lisbon, in Athens, New York, London, or Istanbul, in post-Fukushima Tokyo, in the midst of Niemeyer’s iconic parliamentary architecture in Brasilia, under the umbrellas of Hong Kong, or on the streets of Minneapolis: social and political movements of recent years have often been characterised by their search for alternative forms of gathering, of arguing and making decisions, of negotiating community and society. The potential of these assemblies lies in more than just the demands they put forward; many of them change reality merely by practicing radical models of democracy.
The arts have also shown a renewed interest in concepts of gathering and creating public spheres in which society is not only mirrored but constantly tried out, performed, tested, reimagined, or even reinvented. There are court hearings on artistic freedom, religion, and censorship; tribunals on exploitation and violence; summits on climate change or cultural policy; parliaments allowing those who are usually silenced to speak... Theatre in particular has become a stage for assemblies on the fine line between art and reality, a democratic arena of radical imagination.
But what is the future this concept of gathering has ahead of it after months in a state of emergency that has thrown pretty much all areas of social life out of step? Gesellschaftsspiele: The Art of Assembly brings together protagonists from various fields of art, politics and theory to speculate on the future of assembly in a time of experiencing that nothing is certain – a time in which every form of physical togetherness has become precarious.
Dana Yahalomi (Tel Aviv) is the director of Public Movement (co-founded with Omer Krieger), a performative research body which investigates and stages political actions in public spaces. The group studies and creates public choreographies, forms of social order, overt and covert rituals. Recent performances include: MAXXI Rome, Public Art Agency Sweden, Stockholm, Museo Novecento, Firenze, CCA Tel Aviv, Tel Aviv, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Gothenburg Biennial, Sweden, Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Tel Aviv.
Oliver Marchart is a philosopher and Professor of Political Theory and History of Ideas at the Institute for Political Science at the University of Vienna since 2016. He headed the "Making Democracy" project. His work focuses on democracy theory, the history of political ideas, social movement research, political discourse analysis and populism.
Florian Malzacher. Gesellschaftsspiele. Politisches Theater heute. Berlin: Alexander Verlag, 2020.
Florian Malzacher is a curator, dramaturg and writer. 2013 - 2017 he was artistic director of Impulse Theater Festival (Cologne, Dusseldorf and Mulheim/Ruhr), and 2006 - 2012 co-programmer of the multidisciplinary arts festival steirischer herbst (Graz). He (co-)curated e.g. the 4th and 5th International Summer Academy (Mousonturm Frankfurt, 2002 and 2004), “Dictionary of War” (2006/07), “Truth is concrete” (Graz, 2012), “Artist Organisations International” (HAU Berlin, 2015), “Appropriations” (Ethnological Museum Berlin, 2014), “Sense of Possibility” on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the revolution (St. Petersburg, 2017), “Training for the Future” (Ruhrtriennale 2018/19 with Jonas Staal), “After Supervising the Machinery” (2020). As a dramaturge he worked with artists like Rimini Protokoll (DE), Lola Arias (ARG), Mariano Pensotti (ARG), and Nature Theater of Oklahoma (USA). Florian Malzacher has edited and written numerous essays and books on theatre and performance and on the relationship between art and politics. His latest publications include „Gesellschaftsspiele. Politisches Theater heute“ im Alexander Verlag Berlin. florianmalzacher.tumblr.com
It matters that as bodies we arrive together in public, that we are assembling in public; we are coming together as bodies in alliance in the street and in the square. […] So this is a politics of the public body, the requirements of the body, its movement and voice. […] We sit and stand and move and speak, as we can, as the popular will, the one that electoral democracy has forgotten and abandoned. But we are here, and remain here, enacting the phrase, “we the people.”
Judith Butler, Occupy Wall Street, 2011
with Oliver Marchart, Chantal Mouffe, Sibylle Peters, Julia Ramírez-Blanco, Milo Rau, Oliver Ressler, Dana Yahalomi / Public Movement u.a. guests on 23rd January Oliver Marchart, Dana Yahalomi curated by Florian Malzacher produced by brut – Koproduktionshaus Wien GmbH in co-operation with Münchner Kammerspiele and Wiener Festwochen
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