Ποιειν Και Πραττειν - create and do

The making of art - discourse with Jan Brüggemeier


Jan Brüggemeier informed me that he intended to do a project with Sonia Guggisberg but unfortunately it did not materialise. This would be reason enough to look at which art projects are not realised and to which can be added the following question: whether or not the intended project could have been realized if other conditions had prevailed? That raises in turn the interesting question to what extend the making of art and living of culture is dependent upon external factors which cannot be influenced or whether art of doing things includes taking fate into your own hands, so to speak?

Those ideas which were not realized, they constitute memories of the future. The same applies to art galleries which show architectural designs of buildings never really realised. There were a few of these designs and models visible in the exhibition of Le Corbusier in Marseille 2013. Often dream and reality do not coincide and therefore the design remains to be but a dream. This is often the case with architectural competitions.

For example, the call for a design of the Acropolis Museum in Athens had one design receiving special mention since it impact of the building was taken care of in a sensible and sensitive way, insofar as no adjacent houses had to be demolished as was the case of the final choice of design. Also this design foresaw giving to each sculpture a special niche so as to allow the visitor to take a contemplative view of this cultural heritage. The final choice was given, however, to a design which foresee the exhibition hall as if a train station which allows masses of people to file through. Archaeologist Heilmeyer justified it by saying already in ancient times many sculptures on the Acropolis were not linked directly to the Parthenon but were scattered around on that lofty ground, hence it is good if people can re-experience the walking through and past the sculptures.

However, all of this does not take as of yet into account what such a choice will do for those who will study later architecture. They shall be orientated towards successful models i.e. the ones which were final chosen to be build. This is like a student wishing to study under Ai Wei-Wei, in order to learn only how to be successful in the art market.

The path of Jan Brüggermeier

I would describe myself as an artist interested in political media arts. I founded a web design company straight out of Highschool. I dropped that after one year and decided to study Media Arts at the Bauhaus University in Weimar, Germany. This was in the late 1990s. During my studies I was very much involved in independent media, media activism and the politics of open source. Tactical Media was then a very influential concept. This involved a lot of Internet live streaming, linux and hardware tinkering for example to build wifi communities networks or to provide the media infrastructure for activists camps like No-Border camps. One personal dilemma that I always felt back then was that instead of doing self-indulging art the same skills and technologies could be used to do "real" stuff like setting up wifi communities in India or so.

Open source was (and is) very important to me to but I don't think it can be translated directly to an arts context out of several reasons. It's something I have been thinking about for a while. In the beginning it was about how to organise independent media and today it's revolves more around the common discourse and community economies and decentralised media platforms. Through work on EU projects and cultural policy I find these p2p or community economy models pose also refreshing challenges to a professional (self-)understanding of artists in a community context.

However my MfA in 2004 looked at communication as tool for urban planning in a post-industrial city. "Shrinking cities" were another buzzword in these days. I was particularly interested in micro-media practices and place making. A thematic thread that also run through my PhD, that I officially completed last year and which was the reason for my appearance in Oz. This time, however, situated in the so-called Anthropocene.

As I don't really sell art work my day job was to become my own personal fund raiser and run art and media projects as well as curate festivals. This involved large scale and smaller projects and kept me going for quite a while. I moved to London and was hired as a project developer for the AA School of Architecture and from there I moved to Australia.

What I am particularly interested atm is to experiment and develop web tools but also social formats that would allow what in media is called forms of "audience engagement" but instead to focus on "commons engagement". One project I am working on is to support peer learning for environmental groups in regional Victoria, Australia.


Jan Brüggemeier went to Australia to write an artistic Ph.D. at the University of Melbourne. It contains many interesting elements as indicated already by the abstact:

Abstract: This dissertation undertakes a quest for a poetics of responsibility in the age of the Anthropocene. I aim to extend the concept of a poetics of responsibility beyond the literary discussion, where it was originally coined by ecocritical theorist Greg Garrad. My thesis does so by tracing sound and radio waves from outer space, to the inside of the human body, and along cross-species boundaries to the deepest depths of the ocean. With reference to the theoretical work of Michel de Certeau, and media arts practice under the wider label of tactical media, I argue that critical reflections of political media arts practice occurring at the nexus of politics and technology can make an important contribution to the quest for a poetics of responsibility. In making this argument, I draw on works that incorporate sonic and radio related practices from the early 20th century radio amateur movement as well as work of contemporary media arts practitioners including Natalie Jeremijenko, Marko Peljhan and my own. My argument is epistemologically informed by philosopher Jacques Rancière’s theories concerning the political dimension inherent in the aesthetic and vice versa, and the work of media theorist Geert Lovink, a key figure in establishing the concept of tactical media. In order to understand the merger of creative practice and theory in tactical media, I employ the notion of fluid thinking in waves — depicting art making as the tactical pondering over aesthetic experience, technological possibilities and political context. Based on my own artistic exploration in a series of works titled unrelated relatedness, I suggest that the combination of technological and sensory perceptions in media arts practice can extend and refine the human sense of situated awareness and shift how we as humans understand our position on this planet.


Download PhD thesis as PDF: http://neture.org/wp-content/uploads/FromSoundToWavesToTerritories-JHB.pd

In his Ph.D. he refers to a need for an encompassing approach to reality. He calls it interestingly enough 'poetics of responsibility'. That unusual term suggests a relation to life being poetic, but to sustain it as such, there is a need to follow in the footsteps of poetry.

It is a reminder of Aristotle's definition of poetry. For a practical approach to life has to do with ethics, the vision thereof derived out of the 'grammar of life' as picked up and made evident by the language we use and therefore how we relate to things and others. The latter becomes evident by the way we use the language i.e. speak and name things. Practical is what alters human behaviour and what allows us to perceive and judge whether or not what we think, say and do as being logical? Consequently the human being is not merely a political animal - a case of repeatedly misunderstanding Aristotle.

What lifts man out of the archaic spirit being made up of an illusion to be but one with the outside world is w r i t i ng. What it implies, can be expressed in the following poem:


Some write with their eyes in the wind

while children recreate archaic signs in the sand,

until tabloids made possible writing

in a coherent way from left to right,

and Aristotles would explain these

to be "lessons of categories",

as to what belongs to logical dispositions

to unite human reflections not in the winds,

but in the shade of man's own eyes

organized around inscriptions first on stones,

then mae into something very liight, like the wind,

to illuminate upon the imagination, so that dreams

can come true, as true as man to life,

hence a measure of things if he can read and write.

Hatto Fischer

Athens 1997

Definitely writing is connected to the making of art but which goes far beyond the logical space and time entailed in taking things both verbal and literal.

The making of art

In the meantime, Jan Brüggemeier has acquired Australian residency permit and plans to stay a bit longer in Melbourne. As a result of having completed his Ph.D. and found for the time being a new home in Australia, his approach to art making has matured into the following self-understaning. I consider this to be very relevant to all artists existing at the fringe of society and struggle to survive through their art works alone. Most of the time, many are forced to do something else in order to earn the money they need to survive. Some lessons can be drawn on how Jan Brüggemeier approaches this subject of earning or not as an artist one's living.

„At the moment I tend more and more towards 'independent media production', since I find those things taking place outside of the 'art context' to be more interesting. Above all I am inclined towards that since my own time is far more precious than to attempt further to break into the art market and to attain a position, which gives me the wished for recognition but also the financial reward. It is no longer "on the top of my list" of priorities, but to which I may return at a later stage in my life. I do not want simply the qualities and skills I have to waste them any longer upon such 'attempts' (that can wait for the moment).  

Here I find especially the model of "community economy" as expressed by J. K. Gibson-Graham or else the work of p2p foundation (http://p2pfoundation.net) more inspirational when acting at a political-theoretical and community-organisational level. And it is very interesting to think about the making of art in such a context, since then very concrete conflicts and problems present themselves and this especially with an up-to-date professional artistic self-understanding. Some cultural policies pose questions which aim in a similar direction, for example, what is the difference between promotion of artists and of the artist in the 'citizen'. Michel Bauwen's (p2p foundatation) talks about an "extractive business" as the dominating social practice, which derives capital and extra value out of the "common" but never give anything back to the "commons".

For me there is fore mostly the question how can I use my skills, in order to organise my earning o money to sustain myself while supporting ideals, which I would like to support? At the moment, I am thinking far more about web development for community organisation or "commons engagement" as defined by Jennifer Brandel when referring to audience engagement (see Video in English and Praesentationslides).

But to come back to the art context, how I see it. There are naturally the few 'lucky ones', who benefit from more success. There prevails on the one hand the constantly shrinking classical (=public) promotion of the arts, which is in most cases a) not sustainable in terms of long term initiatives and b) quite often not able to survive since most of the time only production costs are covered but not the own salary (the Hartz 4 artists in Germany i.e surviving from unemployment benefits or the received payments are on the same level as the dole payments). They end up wasting more time by going to the administrations in an attempt to try to satisfy the bureaucrats. As a consequence the making of art becomes under the terms of the Ministry of Finance simply a hobby, but with which I have no problems since it contains as well something liberating – this said under the condition, that the personal "overall" business model is adapted to one's own existence (by being not based upon sales of own art works). That means in most cases for artists which cannot live of the sales of their own art works to take on another job e.g. very often an academic one as the prime 'day job'. That creates a situation in which it is taken for granted, that one has a job, and that the payment is the consequence of the prestige of the institution and not what one does in terms of content. On the other hand, the so-called off-artist scene as a kind of pre-investment, which is necessary (exhibitions function as a prime selection method, in order to be allowed to pay for the rent of the gallery), in order to break into the artistic space.
In brief, I repeatedly make the experience that the context in which I do my art work is important and inspirational for me...and all the more interesting since it is the real framework in which take place 'the art of human encounter' in times of 'austerity' and so called 'unemployment'.. (naturally in the meantime one takes every opportunity which comes along, but that is not my main priority).“

Interestingly enough his artistic self understanding consists of "depicting art making as the tactical pondering over aesthetic experience, technological possibilities and political context". By perceiving this three dimensional approach to the making of art, Jan Brüggemeier reflects a prime challenge for the modern artist.

Without wishing to go further into this self understanding of contemporary artists, the question has to be posed whether the aesthetical experience tends to be misunderstood? This can be especially the case if taken to be an answer (response) to political reality, literally speaking? That misunderstanding is very often reproduced once political statements are made while forgetting that the original intention had been to reflect philosophically about the course life has taken so far? That is especially the case once the different levels of reflections have been melted down over time as if merely one. It becomes a syntax of power equal to having no power once the individual over identifies with the entire society and starts to speak like any dictator / leader of 'my country' or 'my people'.

Once artistic expressions are reduced to symbols such as including in the painting the national flag, then the message is not longer open to a variety of interpretations but merely succumbs to still mere slogans and false generalisations about reality. Populist sayings have become much more virulent ever since those in public office have started to think only as if the media is the message. Fueled by the need to produce sound bites or short statements for which they need three sentences at the most, it means real texts and literary substance is missing when something is being articulated in public. For this cutting down of everything to what apparently an average audience can understand, namely only that what is already known and therefore very often but a confirmation of already held opinions, no more time is given to think through contradictions. It explains why art as complex process before a painting is increasingly not appreciated, never mind understood, while young artists tend to be misled by a wish to be successful right away. So often it happens then that instead of substantial discussions, the public process of arriving at decision is reduced by impatience to a single demand of no longer wishing to hear only words, but rather one wants to see immediate actions. Jean Pierre Faye describes how this demand has led in the Weimar Republic to the creation of the Totalitarian language. It was preceded by everywhere being created 'Tat-Kreise' or circles of deed. Forgotten is then that language is needed to reflect what one is doing in reality. The self assumption of any artist is, therefore, crucial to making a difference to any sort of blindness.

The modern discourse made possible by contemporary artists

If the saying holds true that defining the problem is already a key to finding a solution, then modern discourse is far from fulfilling that. As experienced in Berlin during the debate about refugees in November 2015, speakers at the conference Europe. Its Values. Its Citizens. Berlin "A Soul for Europe" Nov 2015 could not articulate the problems in understandable terms. They avoided the problem by using the crisis merely to reaffirm already existing concepts or else they evaded coming to terms with the problems by postulating 'should sentences' e.g. we should work together, we should be open to the refugees etc. as if nothing stands in the way of resolving the problem, if only these 'should'-sentences are fulfilled. Neither side defines the problem in its own terms while the so-called middle class of society has been gripped by panic.

There is still another way to avoid coming to terms, and may be called 'empirical Idealism' when trying to become more actual, up to date, then the best journalist. Even an artists like Ai Wei-Wei may end up seeking the 'actual' when he decides to set up a studio on the Greek island of Lesbos. It may amount to implying that he intends to draw the world's attention to the largely unresolved refugee problem on the island, but is this really doing something about it? It was Adorno who said that those who chase the actual will end up using a jargon of actuality which prevents the reflections needed to come to terms with the problem. Adorno meant at his time the jargon Heidegger was using and which can be characterized as bringing across messages hardly to be understood, if not misunderstood by those who follow this jargon blindly.

In all fairness to Ai Wei-Wei, he departs from Duchamp and derives his own concept of what we tend to perceive or even believe to perceive in the present. He complements his own perception by use of the camera to hold onto the present. When presenting himself as visiting professor at the University of Art in Berlin, he explained what this concept of his entails. For he believes that we do not perceive everything that exists out there, in the present, and only when looking afterwards at the photos taken at that time, do we realize what we have not seen such as all the beautiful ladies in the audience. (For his presentation in Berlin, see http://poieinkaiprattein.org/beyond-images/questions-and-thoughts-about-the-arts/ai-wei-wei-in-berlin-2015-2018/)

Sonia Guggisberg in Sao Paulo has re-created another relationship to the present. In one of her installations she depicts a tree which has memories of what took place underneath its branches or nearby. In her photo-Installations she works as if in a film with sequences showing an interplay of light and sound. In the case of the tree, what is remembered most are the sounds of those who used to play underneath the tree or else what was said while men were resting in its shade by leaning with their backs against the tree. Sonia has most recently gone to Lampedusa to make a video film of the boat cemetery as the trail of memories of those who drowned in the Mediterranean means depicting the shores against which so much has spilled as of late.

Quite another approach have taken the Russian artists and twins Maria und Natalia Petschatnikov They may be the farthest away from artistic means of expression based on modern technology, but in quite another way they come very close to technology. This is especially the case with their street car installation. By observing this technical vehicle by making first of street cars photos, then by perceiving them as dancers through the streets and this in memory of Nabakov's own view of street cars as not lasting very long in cities, they had already a very differentiated viewpoint. By painting furthermore replicas of these photos to study even better these vehicle, they transformed the original design when reconstructing it by use of 'toile'. Now they have gone again to quite a different topic by picking up their own childhood memories and by reconstructing them, they are discovering that this work called Pobaltis is a powerful way to connect to other people who all remember with fondness as well the places where they spend their childhood days.

In short, we have to ask if our disposition to arrange ourselves with reality in very simple terms despite being quite complex, if this will bring about an articulation of the political or if we merely risk to repeat what political commentaries are made in the media about political events? This can be seen easily on hand of what arguments and perceptions are reproduced when faced by the refugees streaming into Europe? What can be maintained is a huge gap between the newly formed political complex and what political answers the refugees themselves give when asked why they fled their homes. After all the political answer to the refugee question should not be naive nor be taken at face value. Hard questions need to be posed and not every story be believed while still retaining the capacity to show human compassion with those in need. Finding a political answer without a cultural filter as to what is a truthful story shall not be easy while it shows without such cultural reflections no solution shall be found.

During last year of 2015 the critical discourse about Europe was centred on the key term of Europe risking to become a 'fortress'. That was prior to the massive influx of refugees but already there were many who had endangered their lives by attempting to cross over the Mediterranean in hardly sea worthy dingies. At the end of 2015, Merkel's official position of welcoming the refugees has brought about a reduction of culture to that of a 'Willkommenskultur' (welcoming culture). It can be practised by rich ladies in Munich going to the train station to welcome the newly arrivals, so that 'learning from Munich' started to replace Documenta's slogan of 'learning from Athens'. It suggests already a shift in focus as to where is the real crisis or better formulated the critical cutting edge between making it or not. Before that it was Greece whether or not the country would have to leave the Euro zone.

The art of making use of time, space and location

What does this have to do with art and the contemporary discourse about art making as understood by Jan Brüggemeier? If art is to make understandable something which is not self-understood, then art making comprises of aesthetical experience giving a sense for space and time at a specific location. It should not be confused with Armstrong planting the American flag on the surface of the moon in 1969. Rather the balance between negative and positive space is all about expressing a content which has taken on a specific form. One can think of Magritte's use of the apple in his paintings.

Quite different is when demonstrators of the Pediga movement occupy the main square of Dresden despite the architecture being an expression of the enlightenment and cultivation. Since Foucault has stated the art is to create space without occupying it oneself, the political protest does just the opposite. It includes the chant that the media is but a mere pack of lies. General slogans have replaced any differentiated political and practical judgement as to how society ought to be governed. Rather the demand has transformed this 'should'-be into an absolute demand as if it has to be and nothing less.

Hence in the absence of any mediation possibility between demand and realization, the protest can be characterized as fundamentalist both in inspiration and in playing out the trick of demanding something never to be realized. Thus the dissatisfaction as motor of protest shall be sustained by these goals never to be fulfilled. Now that can turn the wisdom of demanding the impossible to make something possible on its head. Naturally space plays a role insofar as the demonstrators wish the territory called Germany to be occupied only by none others but themselves as true Germans. It excludes automatically any self critical examination as to who is really German.

Identity and culture – doing away with false borders

The same applies to all constructed realities based on national identities. They all miss out on what is not self understood and therefore they fail to realize that identity is about the freedom to relate to oneself as a human being not marked by any identity which could be identified as belonging to any political stream of thought. Here again comes into play the thesis if the pilgrimages as journeys used to find others with a common understanding as explained by Benedict Anderson in his book 'Imagined Communities'.

Indeed travel means to alienate oneself if only to return back home as someone who has become estranged to his or her former self understanding. This double alienation allows for the critical distance needed to know that the only self understanding to be realistic is that there is nothing self understood. The sharing of common values requires far more a practical deliberation based on a literacy which does reach out to the other with empathy and memory in play due to the imagination having become a river connecting past, present and future. But as any river having shores, it require bridge builders and those who can ferry people across the river to the other side. The latter are translators and mediators.

It was said before a realistic attitude prevails only once the different levels of reflections are not melted down to appear as if one and the same. There is in the case of the refugee question, the personal level at which people interact directly and a lot matters as to how they inform one another as to what is going on. Then, civic organisations and state administrations respond both but differently to the refugees coming into Europe. Here it is a matter of cooperation between the two very different sectors having taken on institutional forms. Artists may taken in the meantime the third level as it entails the capacity of society to develop its ability for cultural adaptation to all the new dispositions for people to interact once they find themselves within a multi cultural rather than a mono cultural situation.

The question is naturally what will be, for instance, the contribution of Ai Wei-Wei and his studio on Lesbos or of any artist making a video about the refugee crisis. Is it about finding a new source for a set of questions which have not been posed until now and which could contribute to another kind of self understanding, or is it more about polarising further the world into those having a secure life while those fleeing are in search of a safe harbour? The latter may even risk like the overloaded boats ready to capsize to sink entire societies due to an over crowding of everything which had existed before under quite other limitations and restrictions. An indication thereof can be the crowded Indian trains with people standing even on the door steps while clinging to a handle bar and the comfortable Intercity trains speeding through Europe.

Consequently the most crucial question is but where to draw borders, if something is to continue functioning? Of interest is here that the Western success model is based on such a quantitative criterion so that the next year the car company wishes to sell more cars than the year before. Economic growth is thus a treacherous demand because it does not heed reasonable forms of existence which are defined by the premise that not everything is possible, and even technology must be confined to these limits. If not heeded, then problems shall be reproduced and enlarged upon exponentially as indicated by climate change. No wonder that the demand for a quality of life goes largely unanswered due to the global economy having become accustomed to measure success only according to quantitative increases. There comes a point when any qualitative orientation can no longer offset or even counter balance the drive towards still more profits based on everything becoming larger, greater, higher, faster, etc.


    Anka Lanka 2015

(Text: do we really understand only by carrying in front of us a historical horror image? Our glances meet at a point to where we have taken refugee, since we do make a picture of reality. But what about the reality of the other? With those parallel lines, our guidelines, our paths, our border lines?)

The artist Anka Landau has imposed a text upon Picasso's Guernica, see Work process with refugees - Anka Landtau She seems to suggest that this famous mural as response to the violence enacted upon innocent citizens of Guernica back in 1937 has become by now such a world wide imagine into which many flee once they cannot stand any longer reality. However, she goes on to say that perhaps not from this particular picture, but from others into which many flee new lines are drawn to link up with reality. This allows people to reconnect with themselves while searching for a possible way out.

However, these lines can become at the same time the new borders drawn to keep that out what is feared the most. This is mostly the case since adults tend to prejudge everything by moral postulates amounting to an over simplification of friends in contrast to enemies i.e. the Germans made into the bad guys after WWII. In a positive sense, these lines will show paths illuminated new forms of peace making effort. The latter depends upon seeing and realizing the pain caused by all the false decisions.

Hybrid art works

Most decisive is that these new images of reality are hybrid art works. They reveal diverse and different influences so as to allow the making of such cultural synthesis as to sustain a democratic way of living together. Such hybrids will be the aesthetical images which shall like Altdörfer's Alexander Battle decide over the outcome of the battles between those who attack and those who are forced to flee. Somehow those causing all the pain have yet to be taken into consideration as to the need for their share of responsibility in world governance or how cohabitation in this world shall look like in the 21st century. As long as there is merely the flat analysis of those fleeing and those attacking, there cannot be brought about a realization of the complexity involved all the time when entire societies alter their dispositions towards state structures partially impeded by international forces and partially at liberty to redefine the so-called Wilson doctrine of self determination. It seems that the delegation of responsibility to single states to keep their populations under control i.e. not forcing them to flee in order to save literally their own skin, that this no longer works in this global setting. The global economic forces have contributed to many localities exploding and imploding at one and the same time due to having accumulated all too many contradictions at one and the same time.

The various influences upon any specific locality are as ridiculous as the assumption that the individual alone must be responsible for everything. This local-individual correlation has overburdened people. At the same time, it has led to underestimating the need for such imagined communities which can sustain living and working together. Obviously new ways have to be found, ways which allow needs to be satisfied without endangering thereby the lives of others. This excludes automatically such businesses like weapons trade.

What is so odd about all the confused forms of assertive policies being practised nowadays, and Putin's acts a good example thereof of what Kapucinski had anticipated a long time ago, namely the nostalgia of Mother Russia asserting itself as Soviet Union empire, is that nineteenth century models are being applied. That does not make at all sense in a world context which has moved far away from national state sovereignty and beyond any single set of determinants which could be influenced by such politics based on a mix of economic benefit and control through the secret police. Naturally one begins to wonder what could be the new international binding force?

Habermas thinks it could be the value premise with which everyone agrees and therefore needs no further justification, and that would be the cultural aspiration to uphold the human dignity of everyone. It would in effect replace the old binding forces known until now as empires and colonies with the two making up the local-international syntax. That is clearly outdated but nothing formidable has replaced that until now.

Europa is momentarily heavily burdened in terms of its nervous system going through the European spine. Indicative of that is the nervousness of the authorities which can lead to an over response to a terrorist threat. This was the case when the Cultural Forum meant to be held in Brussels in November 2015 was cancelled due to the Belgium police fearing a similar attack as had been the case in Paris on November 13. Security reasons even when clearly hyperbolic lead to an over reaction without knowing the real cause as the driving force has become fear.

No doubt, the arts can dispel fear. They do so by showing creativity is still alive and cannot be so easily killed. Having this spirit in mind, the question becomes what can be the contribution of further festivals, exhibitions, literary criticisms etc.? Insofar as Jan Brüggemeier has described them as a subtle selection process as to who shall be recognized, who not, it is still a matter of who will be empowered in what way to influence events according to what this art form is being recognized for?

Differences the arts (film but also theatre) can make

Given recent experiences with all kinds of performances too often succumbing to the common trend of info-tainment, it seems that the opus of works has to be much more differentiated to be still convincing. Naturally a film showing a boy becoming a street fugitive differs from a theatre play showing again a modern interpretation of Beckett's 'Waiting for Godot'. After all society and its various audiences have different ways of reading into what is being performed on stage.

For example, the handling of these projections by the audiences upon the actors placed in a certain context on stage, that became an explicit art form by Grotowski. Hence one can wonder how shall he be remembered by Wroclaw being in 2016 the European Capital of Culture? At the start of the year there shall be a photograph exhibition depicting Grotowski on his numerous vogayes to specifically India, Haiti and Mexico. Before that he had been in England and the United States. The Grotowski Institute plans to hold in January 2016 a performance training course, but one can wonder if the term 'tradition' is really adequate to do justice to Grotowski's own achievement in the direction of 'audience engagement'?


Practising Tradition in Performer Training: a Critical Approach
January 28-31, 2016

Organized by The Grotowski Institute, Wroclaw, Poland.

During the upcoming 2016 Wroclaw session of International Platform for Performer Training we would like to put into critical consideration the topic of tradition. It often works as legitimization and a mandate of trust for rising artists but at the same time it is used as a means to discredit others. It is considered valuable heritage or old-fashioned mannerism. That way or another it can serve as an easy label both in performing and teaching. In the Grotowski Institute, which is an institution strongly linked to a very specific tradition, we are all deeply aware of that fact. We are guided by the conviction that we train not to preserve tradition, but rather in order to create valuable art and educate outstanding performers. We would like to discuss real current situations and modes of operation in training and transmitting (or maybe overcoming) tradition. As the Grotowski Institute is not an academic institution, it is crucial for us to hear from international colleagues representing many differently set institutions and their views.“

Source: https://performertrainingplatform.wordpress.com/upcoming-events/wroclaw-2016/


Conclusion – what lies ahead in 2016 and beyond

Art and culture have to do with crisis and conflicts just like any other social form of engagement, but in the process of creating art works redemption is aimed for when the imagination is set free so that another look at man's activities is possible. Adorno in his incomplete writing about Aesthetics would emphasize the importance of telling the story as it happened for only then those who read or see it being performed have a chance not to repeat the same mistakes.

Given this ethical vision of non violence and the collective work towards peace, it is of interest that the World Poetry Festival in Medellin, Colombia in 2016 will celebrate the peace treaty to be signed in that country. The agreement will mark a peace form of outstanding quality since it has not only to be agreed upon by the fractions which had been in armed conflict with each other until now, but by an entire population since asked to give their signal of approval by means of a referendum. Only then the agreement shall be in force.

Likewise it is of interest that Spyros Mercouris intends to continue what he has organised in 2015, namely by taking the Symposium "The need of a constructive dialogue", 1 -7 Sept. 2015 first to Goa, India in November 2016 and then if possible to Ireland. Given also that a new READER about Greece will ask poets and non poets to reflect about the outcome of the crisis which has dominated the country since 2008. This year is the latest, if not already before that. For the crisis developed in conjunction with how entry into the EU, the introduction of the Euro and the holding of the Olympic Games had been handled. To reflect upon all of this efforts shall be undertaken to bring about such a gathering of people who can relate to candidate city Eleusis 2021 while preparing something for the poetry festival in Medellin along those lines as expressed best by Jan Brüggemeier's notion of 'poetics of responsibility'. Complementary to that is naturally friendship as if a river connecting past, present and future as revealed on the home page of www.poieinkaiprattein.org

Hatto Fischer
Athens 6.1.2016

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