01. december 2008
If theatre is the privileged interpreter/carrier of political potentiality, then contemporary performing arts practices are the privileged place of demonstrating the effects this potential has; as long as the issue of responsibility of the viewer to be the interpreter is not transformed into the responsibility of the viewer to co-create the performance. Performing (of) the body exposes the body as something, which is always (in-)a-process, transient, weak and vulnerable. Exodos Festival of Performing Arts had always in one way or another included political potentiality into its program, but this year the program primarily focused on dealing with the weaknesses of the body as weaknesses of a different kind – with performing (of) speaking and moving bodies on stage, the festival exposed the discriminating nature of the cultural practice, which designates particular movements and speech (that are of a different kind) as a »handicap«.
The audience was treated as a much more open community [compared to Raimund Hoghe, BH] in Ricky Seabra's multimedia performance Empire, Love to Love You, Baby with the embodiment of a bosomy blond – the Empress of the USA. Here we were again confronted with an obvious contradiction between the character and the body on stage but performing a different role: instead of building a cult historical personality manifested in a weak body, in Empire we had a fictional character in a young body, mockingly representing the body of America and exposing its hidden weakness. The audience was much more engaged not only due to excellent dramaturgy, but also because the artist was constantly addressing the audience directly, learned some Slovenian words and made references to simultaneous locations of the performance. Most important however was a general anti-American attitude of the audience, which on the other hand – being widely popular and fashionable around the globe - exposes a deep paradox of globalization, namely rejection of American culture (and not only the culture itself) had become global – a double paradox, embodied by Seabra's critique of American pop culture performed as a pop-performance, which in this way tackles the issue in a critical manner and performs a kind of auto-critique that is lacking in American culture.
translation: Barbara Hribar