The past decade has been marked not only by numerous activist movements and gatherings but also by a wide range of assemblies within the field that tried out and challenged social and political procedures with which societies can be imagined, played, performed, enacted, tested, or even invented.
But while activist assemblies are generally considered to be a space of authenticity, the power of artistic assemblies lies in creating situations that are real and not real, actual and symbolic at the same time. Theatre is a paradoxical machine where we can observe ourselves while being part of it – an art form that is socially immersive but also, always, self-reflexive.
The ways in which art is used for assemblies that give room for radical imagination as well as pragmatic utopias are manifold and not seldom contradictory in their aesthetical as well as their political positions. But what unites them is the aim to expand the field of theatre, to find ways of engaging with the social and political issues of our time and to thereby inspire activism and political thinking beyond the artistic realm.
Florian Malzacher is a curator, dramaturg and writer. He was the artistic director of Impulse Theater Festival (Germany) from 2013 to 2017 and a co-programmer of the multidisciplinary arts festival steirischer herbst (Austria) from 2006 to 2012. He has (co-)curated numerous events, often on the intersection between arts and activism, including Dictionary of War (2006/07), Truth Is Concrete (Graz, 2012),Artist Organisations International (with Jonas Staal & Joanna Warsza, HAU Berlin, 2015) or Training for the Future (with Jonas Staal, Ruhrtriennale 2018/19). He has edited and written numerous essays and books on theatre and performance and on the relationship between art and politics. His latest publications include Gesellschaftsspiele. Politisches Theater heute published by Alexander Verlag Berlin.
- Judith Butler at Occupy Wall Street. (2011)
- Public Movement “Make Art Policy” (2014) & “Macht Kunst Politik” (2016).
- Jonas Staal. »Assemblism«. e-flux journal 80 (March 2017)
- Jonas Staal. „New World Summit“ (since 2012).
- Jonas Staal & Florian Malzacher. „Training for the Future” (Ruhrtriennale, 2018).
- Milo Rau. “General Assembly” (Schaubühne Berlin, 2017).
- Oliver Marchart. »Auf der Bühne des Politischen. Die Straße, das Theater und die politische Ästhetik des Erhabenen«.