A meeting dedicated to EEPAP dictionary edited by Joanna KrakowskaPlatform. Why Do We Need Common Terms?
Performative Centre is conceived as a research and artistic practice laboratory which creates and elaborates discourse around contemporary performing arts practices. One of the core tasks of the Centre is to build and develop discourse and critical reflection related to contemporary choreographic and performative practices. The programme of the Centre will consist of research and residency projects, seminars, discussions and workshops with the participation of Polish and international creators and theoreticians, always combining critical and artistic practice in the field of contemporary performing arts.
Platform. East European Performing Arts Companion
ed. Joanna Krakowska
The idea for Platform: An East European Performing Arts Companion arose over years of working with critics, historians and theorists of theatre from the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, who have been meeting since 2008 at conferences and workshops devoted to questions of Theatre After the Change in postcommunist countries. In particular, we have examined the question of how the performing arts – from the artistic and organisational side – in each country handle issues such as elaboration of the past and responsibility for the present. These debates, held first in Budapest and later in Kraków, and taken up during various academic and festival meetings, concerned both the history of theatre in academic discourse and historical narrative conducted in the theatre; both the political entanglement of theatre in the past and its contemporary engagement in public life. All of these questions were considered both at the level of possible general statements and taking into consideration local contexts and the specifics of a given country.
It appears that many historical and political questions which can be discussed in relation to the theatre are similar in the former communist countries, and are conditional on similar contexts. Still, they are not similar enough to minimise the differences and ignore the historical, political and national specifics of the region’s individual countries. This tension between the common political and cultural experience, and the differences in identity, history, language and mentality, which make cross-border treatment of the region’s theatre impossible, gave rise to a need to create a glossary of fundamental concepts that would capture and name both the similarities and the differences. For we realised that certain words, concepts and terms that we use have quite different meanings depending on who uses them, where they are used, what background and experience determined their content. This observation led directly to the idea of a book that could establish a platform of mutual understanding by explaining the most important and widely used terms: how they function in different countries, their historical context and why they are frequently misunderstood. So this Platform is needed in order to give us certainty that when we talk about institutional, critical, national, independent or avant-garde theatre in the context of social, political and economic transformation, as well as about the role of theatre in public life, we are talking about the same thing, or we at least understand what we’re talking about.
Platform. East European Performing Arts Companion has two fundamental and clearly defined aspects, historical and contemporary, which relate reflectively to the past and critically to the present. Thus it allows us to raise fundamental questions: Do historical circumstances entitle us to be convinced of a commonwealth of experience that finds its reflection in the theatre? Do there exist regularities of emergence from the systemic crisis in the countries of the region that would entitle us to formulate general statements? Finally, does there exist something like a Central European identity? Here it seems particularly important to reflect on the way theatre has functioned under the political rigours of communist times and under economic pressure in capitalism – and the accompanying question of the nature and effects of the limitations that result from these conditions. In some sense this project is also a methodological proposal in the social sciences – that theatre and the performing arts be used as a lens through which historical experience, systemic generalities and the discovery of identity can be described and analysed. Last but not least, the purpose is also simply to learn something about theatres and their situation in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe – concretely, substantively and not superficially.
Joanna Krakowska, from Introduction to
Platform. East European Performing Arts Companion
Joanna Krakowska is an assistant professor in the Institute of Art of the Polish Academy of Sciences, deputy editor-in-chief of Dialog, co-owner of Errata Publishing House. Specialises in the history of contemporary theatre, in political theatre and dramaturgy, as well as in social changes and their reflection in contemporary art. Author of monographs, among others, Mikołajska. Teatr i PRL, co-author (alongisde Krystyna Duniec) of: Soc i sex. Diagnozy teatralne i nieteatralne (recipient of the Kultura Foundation Award) and Soc, sex i historia (2014), and co-editor of anthology of Polish drama (A)pollonia. Twenty-First Century Polish Drama and Texts for the Stage. In the Zbigniew Raszewski Theatre Institute in Warsaw, Krakowska conducted Teatr Publiczny. Przedstawienia and HyPaTia, two multimedia collective projects whose aim was to re-tell the story of the Polish theatre, to tell herstory and to re-claim the important – and often sidelined – role (and agency) of women in the development of theatre in Poland.