Reclaiming the Obvious. On the Institution of the Festival
Our fundamental rationale here is to sketch a map of contexts conducive to thinking about the contemporary festival as one of the crucial contemporary art institutions. The book contains texts drawn from a variety of sources: manifestos, scripts, programme materials, interviews. All the texts were conceived by outstanding practitioners, curators, artists, and researchers analysing and critiquing the mechanisms of art production and reception from diverse points of view.
Their proposals not only make us rethink what seemed obvious, but also let us ask a question how – in the face of social and economic complicities – we can appropriate festivals as a space of critical undertakings; how, to evoke McKenzie Wark, to hack them with a view to creating a space for new solutions: in particular, for ones that seem inconceivable for now.
The festival is invariably a political institution: it puts in place a certain way of perceiving performing arts; it defines individual trends; it arranges artworks in a certain order and determines the requirements and criteria for producing new shows. After all, the very act of selection, and deciding how productions are shown, is in itself a political gesture – as is the shaping of context or formulating the festival message in conjunction with the audience. The choices made by those responsible for festival programmes are neither “innocent” nor neutral.
published by: Zbigniew Raszewski Theatre Institute; Konfrontacje Teatralne – Centre for Culture in Lublin
edited: Marta Keil
graphic design: kilku.com (Idalia Smyczyńska, Robert Zając)