Fictional and imaginal practices
DAS Theatre has invited Silvia Bottiroli to curate the Block Anywhere, Anywhere Out of This World for the academic year 2016-17, a ten week study programme. Philippe Quense, Christophe Meierhans, Zapruder, Mårten Spångberg, Daniel Blanga-Gubbay and Livia Andrea Piazza are some of those who will be working with the DAS Theatre students.
We look forward to sharing the artistic outcome of our activities with you at our public presentations, lectures and film screenings. If you want to stay updated on all the latest developments, please follow us on Facebook.
Anywhere, Anywhere Out of The World was the title of an exhibition by artist Philippe Parreno at Palais de Tokyo, in 2013. A very similar sentence appeared earlier in a short text by the poet Charles Baudelaire, in which he imagines a dialogue with his soul about his desire to move; his obsession with changing his position in life and within the world. ‘It seems to me that I should always be happier elsewhere than where I happen to be, and this question of moving is one that I am continually talking over with my soul’, writes Baudelaire. On several occasions he asks his soul where she’d like to go. He suggests Lisbon, even Holland, and other more exotic and tempting destinations, but gets no answer until the moment where the soul finally cries out: ‘Anywhere, anywhere, as long as it be out of this world!’
Move anywhere, anywhere out of this world
This DAS Theatre block is an invitation to move anywhere, anywhere out of this world. It is a call to go on a journey into the territories of fiction, of the fantastic, the imaginative, the utopian, the invisible. A call to experiment with a radical imagination, to let go of so-called reality and the world as we know it, and to dive into fictional universes, beyond critique and pure fantasy and towards an attitude of ‘prefiguration’.
Art is the realm where narratives are produced and shared; where different worlds are imagined and navigated; and where reality is traversed with a spirit of attentiveness to what is not there, to what is not present but is possible – which is to say, to what is merely present as a possibility. Claiming the potentiality of fiction also implies a leap of faith into art as a form of reflection and speculation that has a value in and of itself and that doesn’t necessarily generate something else, while being strongly bound to the construction and the institution of reality.
Liberated from any function and disconnected from a binary relationship with existing narratives, fiction becomes a space for radical imaginal practices – and the art school becomes a frame in which it’s possible to shape the current and future world and nurture an individual and collective capacity to cultivate hope and to think the world anew.
The block will be formed of several axes that develop complementary trajectories from this research question. The block as whole has been conceived and designed in dialogue with the artists and guests leading each trajectory, who will propose various kinds of practices, forms of reflection, devices and adventures. The dramaturgy of the ten weeks has been designed to allow the participants to dive into each artist’s world, theoretical landscape and practice, and navigate them as a whole.
Philippe Quesne will start his workshop with a distinctive aspect of his theatrical practice: the creation of other (im)possible universes, of parallel worlds, of alternatives to the current narrative that are nonetheless able to affect what we call ‘reality’. Working with space, construction and temporary architectures, he will articulate his workshop into two sessions, one in Amsterdam and one in the theatre he runs in Nanterre Amandiers, the suburb of Paris where we will also engage in a cross-course work session with students at SPEAP, the Programme d’Expérimentation en arts et politique directed by Bruno Latour at the University of Sciences Po.
In the second part of the block, alternative forms of generating change will be explored with Mårten Spångberg. Prefiguration correlates with notions of aesthetic experience and with layers of fiction or imagination. It is in those interstitial sites that contingent change can take off, and it is this space that will be explored with the practices of auto-fictional writing and of dance. If we understand prefiguration to be ‘a regime of attentiveness to what is not present, a mode of relating to what is merely present as a possibility and of engaging in a specific kind of imaginal activity’ (Chiara Bottici), it may also be a conceptual tool to tackle and redefine the politics of artistic practice.
Christophe Meierhans’ research interests revolve around the possibility of using art as a form of speculation about reality and of making choices – in the artistic realm or under artistic conditions –that can affect reality. As part of the block, he will propose an artistic undertaking which aims to bring Money (an entity that, as is often said, rules the world) before a court of law. The workshop will thus explore possible means to use the fictional framework of the theatre to generate a real legitimacy for just such an unorthodox tribunal.
Zapruder filmmakersgroup is a collective of independent film artists who are interested in researching the technologies of the image and the gaze and in investigating the conditions of representation and vision. Their proposal for the block, titled ‘Fine della Specie’ (‘End of Species’) is an invitation to consider a particular cinema work as an escape from genre, format and the contemporary. Sergei Eisenstein’s unfinished movie Que viva Mexico! will be the starting point – or rather the landscape – for a practice that deals with a basic, pivotal question: What happens when we watch a film? How, as artists, can we deal with existing yet open and unfinished material and imagery? What can montage be about, as an artistic device?
The block will be accompanied by a line of work titled Fictional Institutions, conceived and conducted with researchers Livia Andrea Piazza and Daniel Blanga-Gubbay, and enriched by the participation in The Fantastic Institution symposium at BUDA and by a couple of curator seminars, one of which will host Gundega Laivina, director of Homo Novus Festival in Riga.
Fictional Institutions again takes fiction as its departure point to tackle institutions. Can we think of institutions as spaces for action, reflection and production rather than dismissing them as symbols and agents of a power system? If every institution is fictional to the extent that it is a social construct created by human beings (and is often treated by those human beings as if it were a natural phenomenon) then the act of creating a fictional institution could have consequences for our reality.
The block’s public programme will consist of movie screenings, curator seminars and informal presentations marking the departure of each guest teacher.
If you want to stay updated on all the latest developments, please follow us on Facebook.