October 30th, 2021 – 20.00 CET
Kulturhuset / BIT Teatergarasjen, Bergen/Norway & online live stream
Gesellschaftsspiele: The Art of Assembly IX

With Ahmed Al-Nawas (Helsinki), Nora Sternfeld (Hamburg/Vienna) & Sarah Waterfeld / Staub zu Glitzer (Berlin)
Hosted by Florian Malzacher

Can institutions be driving forces of change? Or are they doomed to be bastions of the status quo, capable of slow reforms at best? Arguments about institutions, instituting and institutionalizing are at the core of many progressive movements. But what would it actually mean to imagine institutions in a radical democratic way? How can we understand museums, theatres, galleries, festivals, biennales as assemblies – not only symbolically but by consequently re-negotiating their organizational structures? Curator Ahmed Al-Nawas, focusing in his work on collaborative, anti-racist and de-colonizing practices, takes a close look at the role of authorship and representation within collectives. Nora Sternfeld, art educator and curator, negotiates the possibilities for a radical-democratic museum, imagining a future that is more than the mere extension of the present. And Sarah Waterfeld, spokesperson of the collective Staub zu Glitzer (Dust to Glitter) that occupied 2017 Volksbühne in Berlin with its transmedia theatre production B6112, demands a fundamental rethinking of the way the iconic ‘people’s theatre’ is run.

November 8th, 2021 – 19.00 CET
Laboratorio Occupato Morion, Venice / Goethe-Institut: Performing Architecture
& online live stream

Gesellschaftsspiele: The Art of Assembly X

With Anna Clara Basilicò / Rise Up For Climate Justice (Venice) & Antonio Negri (Paris)
Moderated by Marco Baravalle

November 20th, 2020 – 19.00 CET
brut Vienna & online live stream
Gesellschaftsspiele: The Art of Assembly XI

With Benjamin Foerster-Baldenius / raumlabor (Berlin) et al.
Hosted by Florian Malzacher

December 15th, 2021 – 19.00 CET
brut Vienna & online live stream
Gesellschaftsspiele: The Art of Assembly XII

With Frédérique Aït-Touati (Paris) & andcompany&Co. (Berlin)
Hosted by Florian Malzacher

January 22nd, 2022
NT Gent / School of Activism & online live stream
Gesellschaftsspiele: The Art of Assembly XIII

With Jay Jordan (The ZAD), Milo Rau (Gent) & Kasia Wojcik / School of Resistance (Berlin)
Hosted by Florian Malzacher

Past Editions

September 18th, 2021 – 19.00 CEST
Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz, Berlin & online live stream
Gesellschaftsspiele: The Art of Assembly VIII
With Judith Butler (New York City) & Max Haiven (Ontario)
Hosted by Florian Malzacher

About ten years ago the series of square occupations all over the world begun – after Tunis, Cairo, Athens, Madrid the wave swept over to New York. Mid-September 2011 the fist protest begun in the midst of Lower Manhattan’s bank towers: Occupy Wall Street became a symbol of resistance against financial capitalism and big corporations. And it’s assemblies set examples for a different way of discussing and decision making that influences activists all over the word but also resonated in theatre and art. On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the occupation of Zucchotti Square the 8th edition of The Art of Assembly takes a close look at its legacy: Philosopher Judith Butler, author of the probably most influential book on assemblies in recent years, asks how – in the light of recent pandemic experiences – an ethics of care can enter into our politics of assembly. Writer and activist Max Haiven summons the ghosts of Occupy and looks – in the the spirit of the late anthropologist and OWS key figure David Graeber – back at a haunted decade.

–> Podcast “10 Years Occupy Wall Street”

September 14th, 2021 – 19.00 CEST
Halle G / Wiener Festwochen, Vienna & online live stream
Gesellschaftsspiele: The Art of Assembly VII

With Didier Eribon (Paris) & Chantal Mouffe (London)
Hosted by Florian Malzacher

The assemblies of the numerous square occupations during the last decade have often been laboratories of radical forms of democracy, experimenting with non-hierarchical structures and consensus models instead of majority voting. While watching these movements with sympathy, political theorist Chantal Mouffe emphasises also the necessity of dissensus, of an agonistic pluralism in which adversaries openly fight for their hegemonic projects. Philosopher and sociologist Didier Eribon reflects on the conditions and the limits of such mobilisations and insists on the unsurpassable plurality of movements like the gilets jaunes in France, or more recently, the massive strikes and protests against the demolition of the public sector, as well as the demonstrations against racism etc. In the 7th edition of “The Art of Assembly” Eribon and Mouffe discuss how much agonism social movements can bare and how the diversity of democratic demands should be addressed.

–> Podcast “Agonistic Gatherings”

June 16th, 2021
Online Livestream
Gesellschaftsspiele: The Art of Assembly VI
With Radha D’Souza (London) & Sibylle Peters (Hamburg)

Discussions about representation in assemblies, democracies and legal cases are usually reserved to human beings. But recent discussions around the Anthropocene and new materialism have fiercely challenged such anthropocentric limitations. Professor for Law Radha D’Souza argues that the concept of rights is fundamentally flawed as it is always associated with private property, contracts, and contractual social relations. Drawing on insights from indigenous cultures and everyday practices, she points out the centrality of assembly for collective life among animals and humans. Performance maker and theorist Sibylle Peters deals in her practice as theorist and theatre maker since many years with concepts of assembling – recently also trying to create zones of companionship in which humans and other co-species can come together without food chains or zoo cages getting in-between.

–> Podcast “Assembling More Than Humans”

May 27th, 2021
Online Livestream
Gesellellschaftsspiele: The Art of Assembly V – Special
In context of the Action Day of “Die Vielen”

With Eduard Freudmann (Vienna), Gin Müller (Vienna), Philine Rinnert (Berlin) & Heidrun Primas (Graz)
Hosted by Florian Malzacher

On the occasion of the action day “Der Vielen” – a solidarity-based association of numerous art and cultural institutions in Austria and Germany – this special edition of The Art of Assembly takes a look at various artistic-activist actions in Austria’s public space. Heidrun Primas, director of the Graz Forum Stadtpark, is co-initiator of the “Camps for Moria”; artists Eduard Freudmann and Gin Müller protest with the “Schandwache” (“Vigil of Disgrace”) against the monument of the anti-Semitic Viennese mayor Karl Lueger; the stage designer Philine Rinnert is a central protagonist of DIE VIELEN (THE MANY) in Germany.

–> Podcast “Assemblies of the Many”

April 10th, 2021
Online Livestream
Gesellschaftsspiele: The Art of Assembly IV
With Claudia Bosse (Vienna), Alia Mossallam (Cairo/Berlin) & The Church of Stop Shopping (New York City)
Hosted by Florian Malzacher

Choirs are a very specific form of assembling – from representing “the people” in Greek tragedy via all kinds of religious choirs, political choirs, revolutionary choirs up to the legendary human mic at Occupy Wall Street and the iconic chants at Tahrir Square in 2011. Theatre director Claudia Bosse, art theorist Alia Mossallam, and the activists of The Church of Stop Shopping discuss the potential (and perhaps dangers), the tenderness, the precarity and the power of synchronised singing, chanting, shouting along concrete artistic and activistic practices in Cairo, New York and Vienna.

–> Podcast “Choirs of Precarity and Power”

March 20th, 2021
Online Livestream
Gesellschaftsspiele: The Art of Assembly III
With Jodi Dean (Geneva, NY) & Jonas Staal (Athens/Rotterdam)
Hosted by Florian Malzacher

“Assemblism” is a term used by Dutch artist Jonas Staal to describe the role of art, performance and theater in the performative assembly of mass protests and social movements, which is central to his own artistic work. US-American political theorist Jodi Dean on the other hand emphasizes in her writing that social movements need to be translated into a new communist party if they want to become sustainable. So, what is the potential of art in not only investigating or inventing new forms of assembly but also in contributing to the process of transforming them into sustainable organizational structures? And how do recent political mobilizations – from anti-mask-demonstration up to the storming of Capitol Hill – challenge romanticized notions of assembling precarious bodies in space?

–> Podcast episode “Assemblism”

February 19th, 2021
Online Live Stream
Gesellschaftsspiele: The Art of Assembly II
With Julia Ramíres-Blanco (Barcelona) & Oliver Ressler (Vienna)
Hosted by Florian Malzacher

The General Assembly has been at the core of many social movements during the last decade: A zone of gathering, of building community, of experimenting with the way democracy can function. A space not only for trying out but living a different kind of decision making. Art historian Julia Ramírez-Blanco just finished a book on the Spanish 15M movement, Oliver Ressler is one of the main documentarists of worldwide social mobilizations since many years. In the second edition of Gesellschaftsspiele – The Art of Assembly they reflect the crucial role of collective decision making for developing political alternatives.

–> Podcast “Assemblies as Backbones of Social Movements”

January 23rd, 2021
Online Livestream
Gesellschaftsspiele: The Art of Assembly I
With Oliver Marchart (Vienna) & Dana Yahalomi (Tel Aviv)
Hosted by Florian Malzacher

„Preenactment“ is a term used by choreographer and artist Dana Yahalomi / Public Movement as well as by political theorist Oliver Marchart to describe the artistic anticipation of political events to come. So, how can political or artistic assemblies become rehearsals or trainings for an unpredictable future?

–> Podcast “Assembly as Preenactment”