In the theatrical research project Inventory of Powerlessness (2013-16) hundreds of inhabitants of five European cities: Amsterdam, Poznan, Berlin, Prague and Athens bundled their lived knowledges about powerlessness. A wide array of individual situations was articulated and brought into relation with each other by the participants, prompting questions about the structures – physical, social, political, economic – which constitute or give context to their lives. The project aimed to create time, focus and a brave space for collective study by people with a broad range of backgrounds and experiences, who might otherwise never meet. Ensuring that it also remains a safe space presented different challenges during the process than at the moments of encountering an audience.
Why does the (often too) safe space of theatre feel unsafe for many of us? What can be learned from the experiences of the Inventory about entanglement and unfixing positions? How could moving beyond control allow for braver spaces in the field, which, though more unsettling, may also be more welcoming?
Theatre maker Edit Kaldor is a unique voice in the contemporary performing arts landscape. She collaborates mostly with people from outside of the arts, often over extended periods of time and across various projects, creating works that address seemingly unspeakable experiences, like extreme isolation, statelessness, abuse or the dying process. Her performances, which stretch considerably the boundaries of theatrical conventions, have been presented widely in Europe, the Americas, Asia and North Africa. She tends to integrate in her work digital media and interfaces, focusing on the theatrical possibilities in the daily use of technology. Born in Budapest, Kaldor immigrated as a child to the United States, where she lived for ten years before moving back to Europe and eventually settling in Amsterdam. In the past years she has taught and lectured at (performing) art academies across Europe. She is currently completing her artistic PhD in the context of the Norwegian Artistic Fellowship Programme, and together with Joe Kelleher co-editing the book Theatres of Powerlessness – Acts of Knowledge and the Performance of the Many, to be published by Bloomsbury / Methuen in 2023. From next year she will work as artistic director of the new Master’s Programme in Performing Arts as Social and Critical Practices at the Malmo Theatre Academy at Lund University in Sweden.