The Politics of Performance // Warsaw, 2011

full title: Jan Ritsema, Ana Vujanović, and participants of the dramaturgical workshop Politicality of contemporary performance medium: dramaturgical and anti-dramaturgical principles and procedures: "The Politics of Performance", performance-presentation powered by Générique tool from Everybodys Toolbox

Institute of Music and Dance / The Museum of Modern Art
March 26-3o, 2011, Warsaw

Performative turn. The Politics of Performance. (english) from Muzeum Sztuki Nowoczesnej on Vimeo.

Vita performactiva

Ana Vujanović (2011)

It is easy to note that politics has become a keyword in the contemporary international performing arts world. However, this immediately poses a more difficult question: why do we speak so much about politics in art, about art and politics, political art, the politicality of art, etc. today? Why has politics indeed become a keyword? What has been the driving force of all those books, texts, presentations, conferences, festivals, grants? What does the metaphor of politics qua theatre mean and, more broadly, what does teatrum mundi mean? On what grounds, on the basis of what historical references and conceptual frameworks do we have this “theoretical intuition” that artistic performance and politics are close? What I find particularly challenging in reflecting on these questions is that, in parallel with the performing arts’ keen interest in politics, we are facing their societal marginalisation and ever more limited access to the public over the course of the 20th century, which, at the macro-social level question the relevance of this topic.

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What Do We Actually Do When We … Make Art?

Ana Vujanović (2009)

If the death of art is its inability to attain the concrete dimension of the work,
the crisis of art in our time is, in reality, a crisis of poetry, of ποίησις.
Ποίηις [… is] the very name of man’s doing, of that productive action
of which artistic doing is only a privileged example,
and which appears, today, to be unfolding its power on a planetary scale
in the operation of technology and industrial production.
(Giorgio Agamben, The Man Without Content)

This essay is conceived as a critical overview of the concepts supporting the principles and procedures of work in art, and their numerous and non-linear transformations throughout the history of Western culture. It is, accordingly, established as a kind of introductory assessment of the ways of work and cooperation in contemporary performing arts, without dwelling on their particularities and elaboration of the resulting collaborative modes. Indeed, my intention is not to come up with a universal ‘glossary’, but to critically focus on the concepts much too often taken for granted in the contemporary performing arts world. The central problem is, consequently, outlined from a macro-social perspective: I start from the economic/political contexts, since the 18th century’s Industrial Revolution to the current frameworks of post-Fordism and cognitive capitalism. Against this backdrop I am looking at a number of artistic paradigms which have considerably contributed to the changes in perception of artistic work throughout the 20th century: Benjamin’s concept of art in the age of mechanical reproduction (photography and film); Duchamp’s ready-made; Warhol’s pop art; digital art and (Bourriaud’s) post-production. The anticipated result from thus conceived piece of writing is sharpening of concepts frequently employed within the contemporary art scene – like immaterial work, creativity, practice, cooperation, process, reproduction, intervention etc. – in reference to their origins in Western philosophy, political theory and, particularly, material social circumstances.

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