Tomasz PlataRemixes. What are they? What are they for?
One could probably try and create a theory for it. The very concept of the remix opens up many possibilities. The remix is a repetition of a pre-existing original, but a repetition that introduces changes to the original, sometimes far-reaching changes. Deleuze and his theories of repetition and difference comes to mind. The association would not be revelatory, but it would be meaningful and justified. Deleuze has been a point of reference, directly or indirectly, for whole swathes of performance and theatre artists, who have taken an interest in the problems of identity or presence in recent years, while using the strategies of quotation, copy, footnote. As part of the RE//MIX cycle we recalled several of them. For example, The Wooster Group, post- modernists par excellence, who have probably remixed everything: from Shakespeare to Grotowski. At komuna they were remixed themselves – by Wojtek Ziemilski in the opening remix Poor Theatre.
But this cycle was not about theorising. I get the impression that komuna//warszawa is not about theory, but about practice. The komuna has for a long time existed in accordance with the healthy Marxist conviction that base is more important than superstructure, action than rationalisation. Or, at least: theory must follow practice, not the other way round. The idea for the cycle RE//MIX came from the will to resolve a very specific problem. The opening question was: how to make the most interesting Polish artists, operating on the borderlines of theatre, visual arts, performance art and social activism, to meet in one space, work together? Without false modesty: how to create a new milieu? Or, perhaps, to state that a new milieu has already emerged, but as yet insufficiently noticed.
More than ten artists got an offer from komuna: create a brief performance in our space, in which you can refer to a past performance of particular importance to you. At the beginning we selected both the artists to invite and “remixed” pieces together in order to create a sort of a lexicon or a memoir. It was to be a list of exceptional theatrical experiences, not too distant in time, not always recognised by a wide audience, but which we remember well and which somehow define our sensibilities. In other words, it was to be a selection of points of reference. We knew straightaway that it must include The Wooster Group, Akademia Ruchu, La Fura dels Baus, Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker, Pina Bausch. We also wrote down the names of Xavier Le Roy, Tim Etchells of Forced Entertainment, Jérôme Bel. In time the Polish artists Tadeusz Kantor and Miron Białoszewski were added to the list. The project was also expanded to include music performances.
Was the project successful? Did it uncover the potential of a new artistic circle? Did it really practical? I am not clear on that, it would be perhaps premature to judge. (…) Can one build an artistic circle around purely aesthetic choices? Do several artists who admit to fascination with Forced Entertainment or Xavier Le Roy really have anything in common? Is there no risk that, if one digs deeper, they will turn out to have more differences than similarities? Does not creating an artistic circle another dimension: a commonality of ideas, not just aesthetic, but also political, social, generally human?
As has been said, it perfectly fits komuna’s logic that such questions emerge in action, not before it. What has been done – more than ten brief performances and events (…) with more to come soon. The time to reflect on this. Not for the first time in komuna’s history, the motivation to work was the desire for common, group action. Not for the first time in komuna’s history this experience forces further thinking, digging, theorising.