Program! 1: Soiree
, first in a series of open performances, singular actions, experimental situations and research workshops, was realized in August 2006 at the festival Tanz im August in Berlin as an event performed by Janez Janša and a clairvoyant from Berlin Gül. In the context of recurrent debates among the experts in the area of art (artists, theoreticians, critics, producers,…) about the future of art, Janez Janša invited an expert for the future to participate in the project – clairvoyant Gül, who became famous when she accurately predicted the winner of the Football World Championship in Germany in 2006. Based on past financial reports of the festival Tanz im August, Janša and Gül foretold its future.
August 30 2006, Tanz im August, Berlin: Janez Janša and Gül
Program! 2: In Between
was a research with an international group of eight dancers and performers from Austria, Germany and France in Tanzquartier, Vienna in March 2007. The project’s focus was the positioning of contemporary dance and performance art in the context of an individual’s reality (family, friends and non-artistic working environment). The point of departure for the research was the question “how to explain contemporary art to your mother?”. In what way does someone who is not familiar with contemporary art but is close to a person involved in contemporary art, communicate with a contemporary performance? Most of the project’s participants make a living with non-artistic professions (a hostess, a door-to-door salesman, a cleaning woman, a teacher, a commercial model, a saleswoman, a journalist…). They enter with partners from their second work environment into situations in which they form a language, through which contemporary dance communicates with the unlearned audience. Through their own situations, they examine the position of the artist as a model of the subject in the neoliberal society. The project produced a number of interventions in public space, video works, short performances and presentations.
March 24 2007, Tanzquartier, Vienna
Program! 3: Over and OVER,
took place in August 2007 at Tanz im August in Berlin. The project deals with the moment in the creative work of a performer when s/he realizes that s/he crossed her/his limits. This brings up a number of questions: How does one work with limit(ation)s? How to define them? What happens once you cross – set up new limits? Do you take a step back? Do you impose limitations on yourself, and if so, which ones? Limitations of the body, limits of time and space, politics, aesthetics, relation between the audience and performers, expectations? These questions were posed to choreographers Meg Stuart, Xavier Le Roy, Olga Pona, Felix Ruckert and Giselle Vienne and were performed in the form of demonstration dialogues.
At a wider level, the project dealt with the question of limit(ation)s in the conditions of neoliberal capitalism, which does not place limits on expressions of artistic freedom. The slogan of neoliberal ideology is “you can do whatever you want!”. How do artists and people in general respond to such conditions? Are they facing new limit(ation)s? Do they oppose the idea of limits and their transgression?
27.8. 2007, Tanz im August, Berlin: Janez Janša and Meg Stuart
29.8. 2007, Tanz im August, Berlin: Janez Janša, Xavier Le Roy and Giselle Vienne
1.9. 2007, Tanz im August, Berlin: Janez Janša, Felix Ruckert, Olga Pona and Alice Chauchat
Program! 4: Pelican
was realized by Janez Janša and Helena Golab in October 2007 in Hamburg as a reconstruction and demonstration of the famous dance performance Pelican by the neoavantgarde artist Robert Rauschenberg. The reconstruction took place in the context of the festival dedicated to the Polish dancer and choreographer Veronika Blumstein, who emigrated to the West in the sixties and was later active in the New York dance avantgarde scene. In the year 1966, Robert Rauschenberg invited Blumstein to choreograph the adaptation of the performance Pelican in the Judson Church. Because of an injury, Blumstein was in the last moment replaced by the dancer Carolyn Brown. Program! 4: Pelican reconstructs Blumstein's involvement in the performance Pelican, as perceived by Veronika's sister Valentina, who visited New York at the time. Moreover, it demonstrates the differences in meaning construction between Pelican danced by Veronika Blumstein, the dancer from the East, and the famous realization by Cunningham's dancer Carolyn Brown. The project is one part from a series of four performances Four Pelicans for Rauschenberg.
October 19 2007, Veronika Blumstein - Moving Exiles, Hamburg: Janez Janša and Helena Golab
Slovene National Theatre
is the fifth part of the project Program! The performance comprises four different approaches to the question of crossing the limits (in terms of politics, the body, time and with the audience), which Janez Janša researched and developed in the previous four manifestations of the project. Slovene National Theatre reconstructs actual events from Slovene reality: political demonstrations that broke out in 2006 in several villages across Slovenia. It stages the story of a clash of two communities – a story that attracted prime time media attention – through a theatre form of Antique chorus, radio drama and television and radio broadcasting. The combination of classical theatre form and contemporary mediality creates a shattering event and reopens the question of tragedy in contemporary world.
Premiere: October 28 2007, Old Power Station – Elektro Ljubljana; Ljubljana
The starting point for the project Program! 6: Fake it!
are contemporary dance performances that Slovenia never saw and will probably never see: if not because of the economic facts marking off the programmes of both the houses presenting international works from the area of performing arts as well as of performing art festivals, then because of the bare, factual biological transience of artists themselves. In a similar manner as immitations can be found at the black market, the contemporary dance market will also encounter immitations of works of certain key choreographers from the second half of the 20th century. The project thus directly reflects one of the prevailing interpretations of Slovene national culture – the theory of lagging behind.
November 29 2007, festival Exodos (Studio Viba film) , Ljubljana
In the format of an open laboratory, Program! 7: Rehearsing Freedom
investigated the principle of “freedom” in dance and performing arts. The idea of dance as an art of dance includes the concept of freedom in itself, which is a consequence of the fact that contemporary dance emerged during the time of modernism. Twentieth century was a century of emancipation of the subject and the body. The body was the bearer of great ideological concepts – “emancipation”, “truth”, “freedom”, etc. The question is which are the ramifications of these concepts, which are so heavily grounded in the Western idea of history as progress and continual emancipation, in conditions where our personal freedom is ensured and protected by constitutional laws? Or, to translate the question into a stage situation: if we perform freedom when we dance – the freedom of the body, the freedom of the subject – how do we rehearse this freedom? Which are the limitations that we confront? What kind of limitations do we impose on ourselves?
January 16 2008, Tanzquartier, Vienna
With their performance Program! 8: Signature
in Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Janša, Janša and Janša reflected on the status of the signature in the art world. The act of signing every copy of the Transmediale publication on the page where the reproductions of art works are usually presented constitutes the signature as an original work of art and at once as a manual reproduction of this same work. The signing of each of the one thousand copies turns the book into a performance space – performance as a space which can only leave the traces of its own disappearance.
January 29 2008, Transmediale, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, Germany