From Department of Reading


Participants: Larissa Babij, Sönke Hallmann, Nikita Kadan, Lada Nakonechna, Inga Zimprich, Anya Zvyagintseva

October 8th to 19th 2011 (workshop)
Presentation: October 16th from 6 pm

In October Project artists and theorists from Ukraine and Germany, namely Sönke Hallmann, Nikita Kadan, Lada Nakonechna, Inga Zimprich, Anya Zvyagintseva and Larissa Babij, will develop a public performance together, accompanied by talks and discussions, during a ten day-long workshop.
October Project takes a few decisive situations from the context of contemporary art in Ukraine as its starting point. A subjective selection of relevant situations of the Ukrainian artistic and institutional development of recent years will form the material the group will work with, as well as the preliminary subject of the performance. Though these situations are first and foremost singular occurrences – they may consists of major events as well as small personal anecdotes –, they nevertheless contain in a condensed form questions and conflicts that are paradigmatic for the development of contemporary art. In commenting and discussing these situations October Project unfolds a particular didactic narrative that will be presented as a rudimentary theatrical play, including elements of narration and acting as well as of discussion and commentary.
From the initial discussions of the selected scenes and situations, the group gradually begins to write, edit, rehearse and perform these situations and the related discussions in short sequences. An important element to develop these scenes consists in the negotiations amongst the participants themselves – diverging opinions, doubts, misunderstandings and questions should filter into their eventual presentation. Instead of a scripted theatre play the group will try to conclude towards performing and staging small scenes, by making use of elements common in artistic discourse, such as the artist talk or lecture, the public discussion or debate. Following each other, these small acts, gestures and interventions, will unfold as a mosaic-like narrative. The public presentation of October Project will take place on a round stage in the center of the gallery space. But instead of a strictly theatrical performance, we think of October Project rather as a staged, extended discussion, including elements of the invisible theatre (developed by Augusto Boal), in which commentaries from the audience are as much part of the performance as well as the performers’ merging with the public, using their subjective criticism and questions as elements to interfere with the performance. Throughout the workshop advising guests are asked to assist the group by giving practical trainings, rehearse and comment on the projects progression, also to facilitate this work that is set in a medium that the project participants have not previously been working with.
Next to focusing on the Ukrainian artistic development, October Project intends to concentrate as well on its own condition as a production between participants from different artistic contexts: Which processes of translation – literally as well as conceptually – are necessary to understand specific local conditions and the artistic practices that are developed in them? Which specific didactic demands are posed by a local audience in comparison to a larger international context? Are these exemplarily selected situations from the Ukrainian artistic context telling beyond their local significance? Can they be seen as symptomatic for larger-scale developments in art production and can they be made productive in this sense? How does lastly the production of October Project itself, its organisational and financial conditions and background, fit into this narration?
The October Project’s workshop as well as its public performance will be recorded on video in order to later result in a documentation that can be presented at different locations in Ukraine and internationally. October Project will be announced with a bi-lingual poster, that, when it is folded, will at the same time function as a text-booklet accompanying the performances, including excerpts of essays and research materials, that the group itself will work with.
Viktor Misiano will speak about the artistic production context in post-perestroika times, additionally contextualizing October Project.
Initially it has been the difficulty of language, narration of experience and its translation in international collaborations as well as in the Ukrainian artistic context in particular, which has lead to the idea of working with the format of the theatrical performance. The thought that each project participant would in the course of the workshop develop his or her subjective account of significant events and situations, could also result in later performances at other occassions of October Project as a whole or in fragments.
With the participating artists mostly being engaged in two independent collective practices / art projects, namely R.E.P. group and the former CCCK (Center for Context and Communication Kiev), October Project also means the attempt to create a joint situation in which the individual artists and theorists produce a work together, that neither coincides with R.E.P.’s actual nor CCCK’s previous practice. For the participants this may as well mean to explore a new modality of working, entering from visual practices into the act of speaking and performing themselves. Lastly October Project aims to try out, whether it is possible to initiate a one-off constellation that produces new work in the frame of an international project. October Project thus also aims to work on a possible modality of collaborating internationally as artists in changing contexts.

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