Presentation of the research projects by TkH/Walking Theory (Bojana Cvejić, Marta Popivoda and Ana Vujanović)

Part 1
Public Sphere by Performance, a talk by Ana Vujanović and Bojana Cvejić 
Yugoslavia, How Ideology Moved Our Collective Body, screening and discussion of film by Marta Popivoda
Part 2

Performance of the Self, introduction by Bojana Cvejić and Ana Vujanović
Caressing Machine, video by Marta Popivoda (and Bojana Cvejić) – work-in-process

Bojana Cvejić, Marta Popivoda and Ana Vujanović will present two Walking Theory productions that resulted from their transdisciplinary theoretical-artistic research “Performance and the Public” conducted in Paris (Les Laboratoires d’Aubervilliers), Belgrade (Magacin u Kraljevića Marka), Amsterdam (Het Veem Theater) and Berlin (Tanzfabrik) in 2011-2012. In the second part of their presentation, they will give an insight into the ideas and artistic proposition of their new research “Performing the Self”.

The theoretical and political perspectives of “Performance and the Public,” research stem from the discontinuous experiences of participation in the public sphere in former socialist Yugoslavia and contemporary Western neoliberalism. The point of departure for the book, Public Sphere by Performance (bbooks, Berlin 2012), written by Cvejić and Vujanović, is the recurrent problem of the public: the eclipse of the public sphere throughout the twentieth century as a marker of the crisis of representative democracy. The authors propose social choreography and social drama as well as an analysis of contemporary performance of the self as instruments that reframe the discussion on the public and its discontents. The documentary film, Yugoslavia, How Ideology Moved Our Collective Body (2013) directed by Popivoda deals with the question of how ideology performed itself in public space through mass performances. The author collected and analyzed film and video footage from the period of Yugoslavia (1945 – 2000), focusing on state performances as well as counter-demonstrations. Going back through the images, the film traces how communist ideology was gradually exhausted through the changing relations between the people, ideology, and the state.

In continuation of our theorization of the public sphere from the perspective of performance, the main concern in our new research – “Performing the Self” – is to investigated the contemporary practices of the self in search of a model that best describes and interprets their current form, basing itself on the contemporary theories of performance, dance and theater. The focus of this phase is the problematic relationship between the current expansion of individualism and the crisis of the social. It is regarded both as the withering of societal and collectivist visions in which individuals would invest their performance of the self – the waning of the social consciousness in individuals’ account of the self – and as the weakening of the social power of productivity and social modes of action.

TkH (Walking Theory) is an independent platform for performing theoretical-artistic activism based in Belgrade. It is initiated and run by the editorial collective whose members are theorists and artists coming from performance, theater, cinema, and visual arts.

Ana Vujanović (Berlin/Belgrade) is a theorist and cultural worker in the fields of contemporary performing arts and culture. She holds Ph.D. in Theatre Studies.
She is a cofounding member of the editorial collective of TkH [Walking Theory], a Belgrade-based theoretical-artistic platform, and editor-in-chief of the TkH Journal for Performing Arts Theory. A particular commitment of hers has been to empower independent scenes in Belgrade and former Yugoslavia. She has lectured and given workshops at various universities and independent educational programmes throughout Europe. She participates in art projects in the fields of performance, theatre, dance, and video/film, as a dramaturge, co-author, and artistic collaborator. She has published a number of articles in journals and collections and authored four books, most recently Public Sphere by Performance, co-authored with Bojana Cvejić (Berlin: b_books, 2012 / 2015).

Marta Popivoda is filmmaker, video artist and a cultural worker. She studied philosophy, holds BA and an MA in film directing from the Faculty of Dramatic Arts in Belgrade and Meisterschülerin postgraduate degree in experimental film from the Universität der Künste Berlin. Her work explores concerns with the discursive power structure of the contemporary art world, intersections between performance and film, as well as with the Yugoslav cultural and political sphere, through the production of films, video installations, and performance. Her works have been presented at numerous galleries, film festivals and museums (MoMA New York, Tate Modern London, M HKA Antwerp etc.). Her latest feature documentary Yugoslavia, How Ideology Moved Our Collective Body premiered at the 63rd Berlinale, and was later screened at great number of film festivals worldwide. In 2015 she received the Berlin Art Prize for the visual arts by Akademie der Künste, and Edith-Russ-Haus Award for Emerging Media Artists.

Bojana Cvejić publishes and lectures in philosophy, performance theory, and dance. She studied musicology and philosophy, and holds a PhD in philosophy from Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy in London. Cvejić has made many theater and dance performances since 1996 as (co)director or dramaturg (with a.o. Jan Ritsema, Xavier Le Roy, Eszter Salamon, Mette Ingvartsen), and has published several books, most recently Choreographing Problems: Expressive Concepts in Contemporary Dance and Performance (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015), Parallel Slalom: Lexicon of Nonaligned Poetics, co-edited with G. S. Pristaš (TkH/CDU, Belgrade/Zagreb, 2013), Public Sphere by Performance, (with A. Vujanović, Bbooks, 2012) and Drumming&Rain: A Choreographer’s Score (with A. T. De Keersmaeker, Mercatorfonds 2013). She teaches at contemporary dance school P.A.R.T.S. in Brussels since 2002, is associated professor of philosophy of art in FMK Belgrade, and is member of TkH collective. Her latest works are exhibition Danse Guerre at CCN Rennes (2013) and Spatial Confessions at Tate Modern (2014).