Núria Güell’s artistic practice continuously challenges moral and legal conventions when, for example, she offers herself as a bride to random Cuban man who wants to get a Spanish passport, or when, in reverse, she tries to become stateless herself. Her lecture revolves around the use of provocation in contemporary art practice, and in her own practice in particular, closed and open meanings, political art, moral imperatives and the ethics of consequences.
Inspired by People’s Tribunals like the one organized by philosopher Bertrand Russell in 1966 to investigate American war crimes in… Read more XX: Nous Accusons! People’s Tribunals between Politics, Activism & Art (with Lisa Ito-Tapang / Concerned Artists of the Philippines, Wolfgang Kaleck / ECCHR, Madlyn Sauer & Florian Malzacher)
Bring Down The Walls looks at the prison industrial complex through the lens of house music and nightlife, proposing the dance… Read more PHIL COLLINS ° Bring Down the Walls
As Lady Bitch Ray, Reyhan Şahin pioneered feminist sexualised German rap in a clearly male-dominated hip-hop scene. As an Alevi… Read more REYHAN ŞAHIN aka LADY BITCH RAY ° Siktir lan amına Germany, bend over!
Punk in the GDR was characterised by a search for freedom and self-assertion that, unlike in neighbouring countries in the… Read more ANNE HAHN ° Pogo on the Altar – Punk in the GDR
This talk threads through different historic people’s tribunals in the Philippines and by Filipino compatriots abroad against state terrorism and… Read more LISA ITO-TAPANG ° On Trial: The Performance of Justice
When discussing new means in the context of human rights, one must also talk about the arts. Art has become the most important part of the human rights scene and has enriched the scene in many ways. Human rights issues can be expressed through art in a variety of forms and thus can have a very different impact: from documentation and clarification to exposure and accusation, as a search for clues and as evidence, to communicate different perspectives, as an empowerment practice or a (re)construction of memory and identity, to creating disruption or feelings. How closely artistic and human rights intervention are intertwined can be seen in the theatrical tribunals of recent years. From the Russell Tribunal on Palestine to the Bartleby House Capitalism Tribunal to Milo Rau’s Congo Tribunal, to name but a few, they are only substitutes for real trials, but they are dedicated to overarching discussions on justice, enable civil society actors to participate in the global creation of justice, serve to establish truth and inform the public.
When in May 2017 the action alliance ‘Unraveling the NSU-Complex‘ held their first self-organized Tribunal at the Schauspiel Cologne parallel to the official court trial in Munich, the confusions were quite big: Is it actually theater, a congress or a tribunal? And if it is a ‘real‘ tribunal, why it had so little in common with legalistic peoples’ tribunals like the renowned Russell tribunals or the trials of the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal?
Contemporary stages have often become places to exhibit one’s own injuries, traumas, or shame. Theater as a safer space – in the spirit of a concept that emerged in the USA in the 1960s in feminist and civil rights movements: A protected sphere in which one could communicate about one’s own experiences, goals, and strategies without already being confronted with permanent opposition from those who already dominate all discourses. But as important as protection against insult, injury, and re-traumatization is – doesn’t theater also have to be a space where there are no limits to freedom of expression, where everything can be discussed openly and radically? Perhaps, however, this oft-repeated juxtaposition is already following the wrong path.
“Racism and structural racism are parts of my everyday life as an artist. They have shaped me and my work since the beginning. These experiences, as well as others forms of discrimination, have shaped my artistic identity just as much as other educational and professional developments. Everyday stereotyping, fetishization and exclusion in education and theater have generated a lot of traumata. To stay healthy and in theater, I first had to find better ways of working and living. The deconstruction of social structures, creating new practices and new spaces/formats shaped my work as a director and dramaturg.”