Former Art Rebels – Returning to a Haunted Place
Seminar on the impact of the performing arts and the lessons that testing boundaries can offer. A collaboration between Göteborgs Stadsteater and the research platform Public Life, Arts and Critical Engagement.
Liv Kristin Holmberg and Anders Carlsson are doctoral students in artistic research. While their backgrounds differ, they share experiences of having co-created disputed performances which transgressed borders and challenged audiences as well as the contextual institutional frameworks of theatre and performance. As artist-researchers Liv and Anders have reasons to return to the site of impact – the stage – to reflect and learn from past experiences. In differing ways, such a return entails to face what is haunting.
In a retrospective and self-reflective dialogue about the ethical and artistic dimensions of transgression, the two artistic researchers try to understand where the radicality of performing arts (and thus its transformative potential) is today, in a contemporaneity characterized by polarization and caution.
As avant-garde associated transformative art-tactics have been exhausted, appropriated, and commodified and eventually also rightfully ethically questioned from several relevant perspectives, in what kind of place is a radically minded performing art today?
A departure for an answer could be that the place of art's impact is the institutional, meaning that instead of critiquing from an imagined outside, art finds ways from an inside to impact the reality which artistic production and organization constitute. But how can a positionality of institutional critique be formulated, after the opposition between institutional outside-inside has lost its meaning? If art's position to the institution is now embedded, complicit and interdependent, with what tactics can art still exert a critical or a resistive impact?
These questions also concern the relationship between artistic research and its fields. In this case, its relationship to radical and boundary-pushing performing arts. Is the artistic research milieu an academicized sanctuary where radical perspectives are allowed to exist, precisely to the extent that they cannot exercise real political significance in the professional fields?
Through Anders and Liv's case descriptions of challenging art projects, the seminar opens questions for public discussion on arts impact and what lessons can be learned from going beyond the comfortable and even the ethically defendable.
The seminar is situated at the black box stage “Lilla Scenen” at the city theatre of Gothenburg. This place is here considered and reflected upon as a site of performing arts societal impact, in its ethical, artistic, and methodological dimensions.
About the researchers
Anders Carlsson is the former artistic leader of the theatre collective Institutet and the former professor in acting at the Theatre Academy in Helsinki, today he is a doctoral student in performance practice at the Academy of Music and Drama at the University of Gothenburg. Anders’ research investigates performative tactics of resistance which are rather parasitical than predatory. More about Anders Carlsson.
Liv Kristin Holmberg, scholar of artistic development work at the Norwegian Academy of Music, is an educated classical pianist and performance artist. Her research studies the relationship between faith and art in a series of art-liturgical experiments in both art- and church-spaces where methods from ritualistic theatre and performance art establish frames which investigates the church-rooms potential as arena for art, and vice-versa, the art room as a space for spirituality. More about Liv Kristin Holmberg.