People reading out loud, together, on the street. Such a simple form of collective demonstration. Perhaps the purest way of expressing common will and the most basic strategy of claiming the space. Being together, acting together and wanting together – naivety to the extent of being suspicious if not embarrassing. And rare.
It did happen, in Poznań. People stood together and they read. Nothing more. It was a public reading of the text of Rodrigo Garcia’s performance Golgotha Picnic and a protest against censorship. But these readings were also a claiming of a space, and a performative gesture of speaking-to-possess. At the same time, the taking over was executed as a theatrical performance with the use of the most ephemeral tool – voice.
The disturbance in the public sphere by an act so modest seems symptomatic. It reveals the background of the question "who owns the public space". How does the space become owned, even possessed and fixed with content? What are the strategies of spreading the message and reaching the others? And who are the others? How efficient - performative if you like – can people get with their voices? Can they reach universality? Can voice strategies become universal?
Voice-over, a city tour and a live presentation, will form a two-chapter performative tale on owning, possessing and appropriating the space. The execution by Wojtek Ziemilski and Michał Libera will use techniques of reenactment, impersonation, playback and different forms of electrical and acoustical amplification to highlight the importance and ambiguity of the voice in claiming the space.
Playing with the idea of voice as the ultimate human property, a signature and a proof of reality, they will explore the agency of the speakers (in the double meaning of the term). Referring to the neutrality and transparency of the air – voice's medium – we will deal with the politics and proxemics of open spaces.
The walk in the city will relate to owning and possessing and take as its stage one of the most crowded spots in Prague - the square in front of St. Salvador church. Can we take any of the Golgotha Picnic Poznań voice strategies and use them in this particular environment? Once in the conference space, this question will become a more private and intimate one.
Michał Libera (born 1979)
Sociologist working in sound and music since 2003, now mainly involved in producing and staging sound essays and other experimental forms of radio art and opera which brought him to collaborate with Martin Küchen, Ralf Meinz, Rinus van Alebeek, Alessandro Facchini, Joanna Halszka Sokołowska, Komuna// Warszawa and others.
Libera is a producer of conceptual pop label Populista dedicated to mis- and over- interpretation of music as well as series of reinterpretations of music from Polish Radio Experimental Studio (Bôłt Records). He curates various concerts, festivals and anti-festivals, music programs for exhibitons and received honorary mention at 13th Venice Architecture Biennale.
Other regular collaborators include National Art Gallery Zachęta, Centre for Contemporary Art in Warsaw, Polish National Museum (Królikarnia), Galerie West in The Hague, Satelita in Berlin. His essays on music and listening „Doskonale zwyczajna rzeczywistość” were published by Krytyka Polityczna.
Wojtek Ziemilski (born 1977)
Theatre director and visual artist. In his work, he moves between the areas of theatre, visual performance and choreography. He started his artistic career while living in Portugal, where he created and taught devised theatre and contemporary performance. His first show, Hamlet Light (2007), was awarded with the national JAJ award. In 2009, he moved back to Warsaw, Poland. His Polish debut "Small Narration" (2010), has been shown in over 20 cities around the world.
His work is often an inquiry into spectatorship and the possibility for action. In "Prolog", premiering at the Krakow Theatrical Reminiscences Festival, and shown, among others, at the Ruhrtriennale, the spectators create the show by answering questions about their experience of theatre. "Social Flirt", shown as an installation and performance at Warsaw's Centre for Contemporary Art Zamek Ujazdowski, visitors play a social game using cards with quotes from parliamentary debates about partner relations.
He collaborates with the BWA Warszawa art gallery and is part of the collective Centrum w Ruchu. As a critic and writer, he collaborates with several cultural reviews in Poland and abroad, e.g. Krytyka Polityczna (Political Critique).