These [compositions] are intentionally as difficult as I can make them, because I think we're now surrounded by very serious problems in the society, and we tend to think that the situation is hopeless and that it's just impossible to do something that will make everything turn out properly. So I think that this music, which is almost impossible, gives an instance of the practicality of the impossible.
Impossible Dances is a performative artwork that was initially created for the exhibition documenting the work of the US postdramatic theatre collective Goat Island and was premiered in May of 2019 at the Chicago Center for Culture. The work draws on the documentation and scores of the "Impossible Dances" sequence from Goat Island's The Sea & Poison and John Cage's notes to his Freeman Etudes.
In Impossible Dances we have explored the new ways of practising the impossible. The impossible emerges from the performative process of translation from choreography to choreography, from recording to movement, from poetry to performance. The impossible is necessary because, as we're hurtling toward hothouse Earth, nothing is more urgent that the encounter of a myriad of impossibilities.
Direction: Goran Sergej Pristaš
Dramaturgy: Tomislav Medak
Choreography and performance: Nikolina Pristaš, Ana Kreitmeyer, Zrinka Užbinec, Marta Krešić
Video: Goat Island,
Production: Lovro Japundžić
World Premiere: Friday–Saturday, 24.-25. May 2019, 7pm, and Sunday, 26. May 2019, 2pm
Chicago Cultural Center, Sidney R. Yates Gallery, 4th Floor North
Note: The 24. May performance is preceded by an artist talk at 7 p.m. with Erin Manning with the performance at 8pm.
Premiere: 01. June 2019 at 19:00
Hala V (Technical Museum Zagreb) – Part of the Platfroma.hr 20 Festival
The project was supported by Zagreb City Council for Culture and the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia.
The work of BADco. is supported by the Foundation Kultura nova.
"Prushevsky could have already foreseen what a work of static mechanics, in the sense of art and purposefulness, could be placed at the center of the world, but he could not perceive ahead of time the structure of soul of the residents-to-be in the all-proletarian home being built now in the midst of that plain and all the more therefore he could not imagine the inhabitants of the future tower in the midst of the universal earth. What kind of body would youth have then, and with what exciting strength would the heart begin to beat and the mind begin to think.”
Andrei Platonov The Foundation Pit
This unique project by Zagreb's theater collective BADco. - the performance-exhibition The Foundation Pit at the location of the villa at Vrhovec 38 in Zagreb, today known as the Vjenceslav Richter and Nada Kareš Richter Collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Zagreb - begins from research of utopian premises for the planning of the future of housing, socialization and exchange, but also the immediate interconnection of life expectancy and its realization. In the tension between imagination, labor, youth and death, BADco. and our collaborators from the fields of dance, architecture, design and music explore the contemporary role of artists in relations of production and art practices.
This performative exploration of the legacy of utopian construction of the twentieth century explores the mega-structures of Vjenceslav Richter from the late 1960s (Synthurbanism, Heliopolis), the conceptual meta-structures of American architect Lebbeus Woods, and the dystopian-satirical novel by Andrei Platonov The Foundation Pit.
Andrei Platonov was one of Russia's greatest and most intriguing writers of the twentieth century. His two most significant works, Chevengur and The Foundation Pit (written between 1926 and 1930) are an immersion into dystopic issues and depict the malformation of the utopian idea in the hands of man (who is ineffective, greedy or weak). The protagonists of The Foundation Pit are building a large tower, a proletarian home, one that will enable a communal life for all members of the working class. This home symbolizes a bright future and a utopian society, but by the end of the novel the workers fail to even pour the foundation of this building.
“But I didn't want to be born myself, I was afraid that my mother would be a bourgeois.”
Andrei Platonov The Foundation Pit
The performance-exhibition The Foundation Pit choreographically explores the specific structural principles and gravitational actuality of architectural design and the socrealistic representation of the body. Early Soviet socrealist depictions of accentuated physical strength, revolutionary fervor and the idealized future use precisely the figure of a young girl to represent the society as a whole.
The early works of Platonov often equate the adult woman with pre-revolutionary bourgeoisie - thus victory over sexual relations stands for victory over death, and desire for the female form is supplanted with desire for the future, the new, a communist society (Oxana Timofeeva). That is why the male characters of Platonov seem condemned to either a sentimental memory of the one who had walked by without stopping or the obscenity of a quivering hand in a pocket whilst watching the pioneer girls.
In the ironic turn of the end of the novel, the foundation pit of the never-completed building of a new society, the "uterus for the home of the future life", becomes the grave of the girl Nastya, the embodiment of the emptiness of the promise of future.
We enter The Foundation Pit through a performative reading room, while the whole project will be accompanied by workshops and lectures organized in cooperation with the Urban Design Platform.
Direction: Goran Sergej Pristaš
Choreography: Nikolina Pristaš
Dramaturgy: Ivana Ivković
Performance: Antonia Dorbić, Ana Kreitmeyer, Marta Krešić, Priska Pia Pristaš, Kalliopi Siganou, Evita Tsakalaki
Music and graphic design: Andro Giunio
Costumes: Silvio Vujičić
Space / Reading room: Dinko Peračić i Miranda Veljačić / Platforma 9,81
Translation: Rafaela Božić-Šejić
Technical support: Damir Prizmić i Miljenko Bengez
Production: Lovro Japundžić
Photography: Marko Ercegović
Public relations: Zrinka Šamija
Co-production: BADco. and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Zagreb
Croatian translation of Andrei Platonov's The Foundation Pit courtesy of Breza Publishing.
Lebbeus Woods quotes © Estate of Lebbeus Woods; translation into Croatian: Ivana Ivković
Thank you: Vesna Meštrić, Božo Dujmović, Leo Modrčin, Lana Pukanić, Aleksandra Wagner, Ante Pejić, Tomislav Medak, Zrinka Užbinec, net.culture club mama
Premiere: 16. November 2018 at the Vjenceslav Richter and Nada Kareš Richter Collection
The production of The Foundation Pit was supported by Zagreb City Council for Culture and the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia.
The work of BADco. is supported by the Foundation Kultura nova.
The production was prepared in Culture Center Novi Zagreb, POGON Jedinstvo – Zagreb Centre for Independent Culture and Youth and the Vjenceslav Richter and Nada Kareš Richter Collection - Museum of Contemporary Art in Zagreb.
Urban Design Platform is comprised of independent cultural organizations Art Workshop Lazareti, BADco., Drugo more, KA-MATRIX, Kontejner, Multimedia Institute, Right to the City, Platforma 9,81, and institutions Zlatna vrata Centre for Culture and Lifelong Learning, Multimedia Cultural Centre Split and the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Rijeka.
Each collective process in theater begins with an encounter, and so every circuit of relations between the authors, institutions and the public has the character of an outcome of an encounter – it could have not occurred, and yet it did. The principle of conditioning of an encounter is a permanent state of incompleteness, incompleteness not as state of un-done, but as a state of creation through disruption – that of a premiere, interpretive disruption, economic disruption… This principle does not start from the principle of necessity, the principle that elements of the theatrical process arise out of necessity, but become necessity themselves. All encounters, and their outcomes, are subject to chance thus their conditioning can only be determined by reverse engineering.
The relatively fast pace of production of performances, the focus of the artists primarily on future life and distribution of new works, and the subsequent chronic lack of time for consideration of past work and public traces of the work, all provoke the need for a look back, a slowing down, an interruption as an artistic gesture which, in turn, allows for a creation of conditions for new beginnings. This installation is one such pulling of a brake with a desire to: Re-think things. See how it works. Hear the sound interruption.
The performative installation Broken Performances is a writing “on the margin” of our primary artistic production and is named after his own formation process – it was necessary to tear apart the performance into a series of notes, impressions, experiences, perceptions, so that we would be able to look at it again not through an interpretation of meaning it produces, but through the way it produces, the encounters that could have happened, its weak power to determine something.
The choreography that we have subjected to this analytical process is Fleshdance (2004), a work conceived as a problematic study of the triptych paintings by Francis Bacon.
The installation results from a collaboration of performance collective BADco. with cinematographer Ivan Slipčević – Slipke, editor Bojan Perić and visual artist Igor Pauška. Texts resulting from analysis by Goran Sergej Pristaš and Zrinka Užbinec, with textual fragments by Marcel Proust, Samuel Beckett and J. G. Ballard. Music, costumes and video used in the instalation are part of the original choreography.
The installation uses ALVES – Algorithmic Live Video Editing System software by Daniel Turing. Video scripting (ALVES): Tomislav Medak. Technical associate: Anton Koch.
Authors’ team of Fleshdance are Nikolina Pristaš (choreography and performance), Pravdan Devlahović, Ana Kreitmeyer, Zrinka Užbinec (performance), Ivana Ivković and Goran Sergej Pristaš (dramaturgy), Silvio Vujičić (costumes), Helge Hinteregger (music), Oliver Imfeld (video).
The installation includes units of live performance every hour on the hour throughout the duration of the exhibition.
The installation opens Wednesday 04.12.2013. at 20:00 at Gallery Nova (Teslina 7, Zagreb), and stays open until Saturday 07.12.2013. 12:00-20:00.
Project supported by: Zagreb City Council for Education, Culture and Sport; Ministry of Culture of Republic of Croatia
The installation opening will take part in the Salon Exploded Views of Performance – Frontiers of Analysis, Frontiers of Poetics, a public event of LABO21 – European Platform for Interdisciplinary Research on Artistic Methodologies, a partner project of BADco. (Zagreb), Random Dance (London), Troubleyn (Antwerp) and International Choreographic Arts Centre (Amsterdam). With the support of the Culture Programme of the European Union.
Thanks to WHW – What, How and for Whom and Gallery Nova.
Products can be attacked only with counterproducts. Television criticism must set out from the historical corpus of the medium, namely, television as an industrial enterprise. What is more, any self-determination of the viewers, as the foundation of a possible emancipatory development of television, must measure itself against this industrial dimension: that is, by what cannot automatically be detected within an individual broadcast. Television can be transformed not on the level of the individual program, but of its entire history, which determines that program.
– Oskar Negt, Alexander Kluge: Public Sphere and Experience
Television is a public medium that has seen its golden era come and go. TV was a companion to the post-war trente gloriueses of democratic welfare states. Now it is again a companion to their dismantling. Throughout the 50s, 60s, 70s and well into the 80s it was a generator of shared experience, a mitigator of a bourgeois public sphere, an ideological apparatus reinforcing political hegemony. But since that period the commodification has slowly shifted TV’s social function from a public service to a marketing machine, replacing information with entertainment, expertise and education with opinionated and partisan commentary, public interest with attention-value. At the same time the proliferation of channels and programming has fragmented the collective experience, a development that has culminated in the rise of other screen technologies that make it easy for everyone to select a programme to suit their own taste and schedule, or even to create and broadcast information of their own. However, as internet is rapidly commodifying, creating an audience-commodity of its own, internet still won’t replace the television. TV will stay with us, this public medium that has seen its golden era come and go.
In April 2013 at SKOGEN, Gothenburg BADco. created a counterproposal to the television as we know it – a small-scale short-circuit television environment, fusing together in one location both the production side and the reception side of the TV medium, transforming SKOGEN into a very different kind of TV environment.
To run this TV environment we’ve installed our algorithmic live video system (ALVES) that was initially developed as a commission for the Croatian presentation at the 54th Venice Biennale. The custom-developed network with 6 computers and 6 cameras allows us to capture live action, to store it in a video data-base, to edit it together algorithmically, based on criteria we can set in advance, and perform various transformations during playback.
Using the system BADco. presented a short feedback loop between the act of production and the act of reception. This short and closed video circuit was then opened up to performative situations, joint TV viewing and interaction with the visitors.
In this project BADco. took the inspiration from the works of early television artists. In the early days of television, before TV became a colossal commercial closed circuit, these artists tried to construct a different circuit of television production and consumption, an open one. Thus, retracing some of the critical propositions in the work of these artists in their interactive environment, we reflect on the current state of television, create experimental setups and draw alternate futures for this late medium. TVolution will not be televised, its alternate evolution might however get performed.
TVolution will not be televised is run using the algorithmic live video system (ALVES) that was developed in collaboration with the German human-machine interface developer Daniel Turing. The performative installation presented in Gothenburg in April 2013 was a work in progress for BADco.’s theatre performance A Pound of Hysteria, Acceleration… – melodrama premiered in October 2013.
Coproduction: BADco. and SKOGEN
Supported by: Zagreb City Council for Education, Culture and Sport; Ministry of Culture of Republic of Croatia.
The present times, ridden with the sustained crisis of capitalism, environmental catastrophes and the depletion of common resources, require a reordering of economic and political relations on a global scale. As is repeatedly echoed throughout our work: When there is not enough for everybody, there is no equitable order that can be negotiated. It can function and be understood only on the basis of active policing of differential entitlements and exclusions. Yet attempts to fathom the ongoing reordering of the global space and to imagine a different course of social development to the existing capitalist system run aground at the limits of representation of systemic totality and the fragmention of agency within it. Even in the face of crass injustices, the collective capacity to imagine and project the common future remains captured in images, creating generalised desires, consumerist fragmentation of responsibility and a sense of public progress that are ultimately mobilised to sustain and maximize private profit. Our work reflects this conundrum using what’s most immediate to us as theatre makers: investigating strategies of representation, spatial orderings of representation, future scenarios and asymmetric acts of collective communication.
This work starts as a spatial gesture: an insertion of the outside space into the exhibition room. The back wall has been replicated in the space, and the non-space behind the original wall now populates the exhibition room. This non-space, found outside, might be any number of things – anything that can be imagined. For all we know it is a theatre scene, a stage – and this exhibition room might be just a backstage. But it’s not quite that – it’s a withdrawal of space, a double negativity: not quite this exhibition space, not quite a different place. Well, it could be anything that can be imagined, but many more things that cannot. Maybe a totality of global processes outside of this room that begs the question of how it can be represented.
This work endures as a temporal gesture: it records in images the comings and goings. Theatre, our line of work, always requires our presence. It cannot take place if we’re not there. Imagine if we miss a flight! And here we remain in our absence. In recorded images – as you will too. And in images on screens you will see the presence of your absent fellow-visitors, just as you will perhaps witness the absence of your own presence. Become co-present in time with someone who is not with you in the space. The image is a time machine, a transport in time. It opens and forecloses the imagination of the future.
This work demands a scopic act: the much maligned capacity of images to capture our imagination and to supplant our sociality by its simulation is only commensurate with our capacity to always produce new images, new configurations and new disfigurations of images. Here it’s no different. Produce images we did, attempted to create images differently we did. And, yet, things don’t stop here. There seems to be something incomplete in images that coax out our action in the receptive act of viewing: our intent capacity to become captured, our passionate passivity in surrendering to our own hijacking, our engaged absorption in the intimacy of images. And it’s not the sovereign, enlightened viewer that is the agent of this activity. Rather it’s a beholder that loses her hold as she becomes immersed in an image and the image loses its clarity as she starts deciphering its detail, unraveling a scene that becomes more and more impossible to relate to as she looks closer and closer, requiring a spiral of reading, a responsibility disturbed by the non-totalizable subject of the image.
Responsibility for the Things Seen is based on BADco.’s analytical performative principles. It is an evolving work, presented here in Venice as ‘theatre by other means’- through an installation and an intervention. It consists of following elements that form an integral work:
Presented at the 54th International Art Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia as part of the Croatian Exhibition, 2011
Curators: What, How and for Whom/WHW
Software and interactive installation: Daniel Turing
Light design: Alan Vukelić
Cinematography and still photography: Dinko Rupčić
Camera assistant: Hrvoje Franjić
Video editing: Iva Kraljević
Costumes: Silvio Vujičić
Architect: Ana Martina Bakić
Additional performer: Ivo Kušek
Architectural visualisation: Antun Sevšek
Draftsmen: Igor Pauška, Slaven Josip Delalle
Production assistant: Valentina Orešić
Modelers: Lidija Živković, Ivana Hribar, Barbara Radelj
Promotional photos: Dinko Rupčić, Ivan Kuharić
Props production: Zagreb Youth Theatre workshop
Supported by: City Office for Culture, Education and Sports – City of Zagreb