How to live together? Theatrical Worldmaking in Immersive Performances
Talk by Theresa Schütz at the IFTR World Congress 2022 "Shifting Centres. In the Middle of Nowhere" (New Scholar's Forum) on the 22th of June 2022 in Reykjavik
Against the backdrop of current crises, especially feminist theatre and performance collectives are more often concerned not only with a performance as a singular result, but are simultaneously working with artistic strategies on alternative ways of working, living and being-together.
In Germany-based artists collectives like Henrike Iglesias, Swoosh Lieu or Chicks* this includes non-hierarchical, solidary or sustainable producing as well as queer forms of care-work, parenting, polyamory, collaborative networking or activist living. Based on this observation, I consider in my contribution which concrete "life-forms" they performatively produce beyond their performances. What distinguishes them?
According to philosopher Rahel Jaeggi, life-forms are "complexly structured bundles (or ensembles) of social practices directed toward solving problems" (Jaeggi, 2014, p. 58, translated TS). In this context, my further thesis is that (temporally) realized life-forms by contemporary artists collectives can also be understood as productive (re)negotiations of the several power relations between center and periphery.
For example, the Danish performance collective Sister’s Hope has recently shifted its focus from the center of Copenhagen to the rural periphery, embarking on a long-term feminist project called "Sister’s Hope Home" for the duration of five years, in which members and guests together test the vision of a post-economic community in which the sensual and poetic are privileged over the competitive and exploitative. With Haraway (2018) and Berlant/Warner (in Warner 2005), I analyze alternative life-form experiments like the realization of a conceptual "Sensuous Society" by Sister’s Hope as counter-hegemonic "worldmaking" processes. What alternative strategies of "making kin" to overcome the Anthropocene and racist, patriarchal capitalism do collectives like Sister’s Hope at the intersection of art and activism produce? How do they institutionalize themselves? And how can their artistic interventions be made ‘useful’ for other social contexts?