29. January 2022
19:00 CET

Online live stream

In collaboration
with NT Gent
Gesellschaftsspiele: The Art of Assembly XII
Milo Rau, School of Resistance & The Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination
Hosted by Florian Malzache
Numerous theater makers and artists have been inspired by the concept and the performative reality of assembly in recent years, creating, directing, initiating trials, parliaments, congresses, summits and assemblies in white cubes and black boxes, on proscenium stages and public spaces. But the relationship between theatrical and political representation remains complicated. What are difference and proximity between physical presence within an art institution and on, for example, an occupied square? The 12th edition of „The Art of Assembly“ looks at the often productive, often ambivalent relationship between art and activism, inviting three very different initiators of assemblies: Theater director Milo Rau believes in staging and realistic representation in his plays, while for his tribunals and trials he invented what he calls „symbolic institutions“; the School of Resistance uses theatrical settings but understands itself as an activist, not an artistic project; and the activists Isabelle Fremeaux and Jay Jordan believe: If you truly want to do politics, you have to desert the institution of art and entangle insurrectionary imagination into the everyday life of movements.
10. February 2022
20:00 CET

Neumarkt Zurich
& online live stream
Gesellschaftsspiele: The Art of Assembly XIII
With Edit Kaldor & Julian Warner
Hosted by Florian Malzacher
Contemporary stages have become often 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 brave 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: This episode of The Art of Assembly asks how a theatre can be safer and braver at the same time – behind the scenes as well as on stage. Theatre maker Edit Kaldor’s Inventory of Powerlessness created a brave space for people with a wide range of experiences, which also had to remain a safe space when encountering an audience. Curator and artist Julian Warner, working on the long breath of colonialism, demands complexity in the highly charged discussions around identity politics. This episode of The Art of Assembly askes how a theatre can be safer and braver at the same time – behind the scenes as well as on stage.
9. March 2022

Münchner Kammerspiele
& online live stream

In collaboration with
Goethe Institut: Performing Architecture
Gesellschaftsspiele: The Art of Assembly XIV
With David Mulder van der Vegt et al.
Hosted by Florian Malzacher
Times may change but not so the shapes of parliaments: Opposing benches, a horse shoe, a circle, a semi-circle of frontal class room style – nearly all plenary halls across the world follow one of these spatial logics. And not by chance: Legislature buildings not only create manifest metaphors of representation, they also organize and influence very concretely how disagreement, deliberation and decision making of legislative bodies work. The circle, the preferred setting of activist assemblies, is – perhaps tellingly – the least common among them. The 14th edition of The Art of Assembly looks at what we can learn about how architecture shapes decision-making – and at what alternatives there might be.
17. March 2022

Goethe Institut New York
& online live stream
Gesellschaftsspiele: The Art of Assembly XV
With Tania Bruguera, Ann Liv Young et al.
Hosted by Florian Malzacher
Ever since the audience light in most Western theatres has been turned off in the 19th century artists have tried to push spectators out of their comfort zone again. Artist and activist Tania Bruguera has always challenged her audience to become active participants not only in her performances but also in society. The stage personas of theatre maker Ann Liv Young tend to come too close – physically as well as psychologically – attacking her audience and making herself attackable at the same time. The 15th episode of “The Art of Assembly” looks at radical approaches to audiences, turning them from spectators into participants, witnesses, collaborators, and enemies.

Past Editions

20. November 2021
19:00 CET

brut Vienna
& online live stream

In collaboration with
Goethe Institut: Performing Architecture
Gesellschaftsspiele: The Art of Assembly XI
With Merve Bedir, Benjamin Foerster-Baldenius / raumlaborberlin & Marina Otero Verzier
Hosted by Florian Malzacher
Hospitality – with all its seeming generosity – is a complex concept: Who is invited into our societies, our assemblies? What are the relationships between guests and hosts? Is unconditional hospitality possible? The architecture of public space, the infrastructures of coming together, the borders and thresholds around them inform how we come together, what is prevented from happening, what is possible. The 11th edition of “The Art of Assembly” looks at the physical relations of gatherings, how bodies and objects are organised, how radical concepts of democracy can be represented in space. Architect and researcher Merve Bedir since long researches infrastructures of hospitality and mobility as well of the residue of solidarity in urban and public space. For raumlabor architecture is a tool, in search for a city of possibilities, considering themselves activists, operating within the urban landscape. And for architect and scholar Marina Otero Verzier is concerned with how the work of architects, in coordination with other social and institutional techniques, produces differential spaces that either facilitate or prevent their encounter of bodies.

–> Podcast “Architectures of Hospitality”
8. November 2021
19:00 CET

Laboratorio Occupato Morion, Venice
& online live stream

In collaboration with
Goethe Institut: Performing Architecture
Gesellschaftsspiele: The Art of Assembly X
With Anna Clara Basilicò / Rise Up For Climate Justice & Antonio Negri
Moderated by Marco Baravalle
In Italian language with English translation

Multitude is a „multiplicity of singularities acting together“ (Antonio Negri/Michael Hardt), „the many, seen as being many“ (Paolo Virno): a network that is neither homogeneous nor self-identical. The concept of the multitude is a counterproposal to the idea of the people, a revolutionary subject that is difficult to grasp or to define – and has been both praised and criticized for this openness. The 10th edition of The Art of Assembly looks at the role of the assembly as a tool and strategy for the multitude to make decisions and to communicate. Political theorist Antonio Negri revisits the concept he – together with Michael Hardt – popularized in the earl 2000s while climate activist Anna Clara Basilicò looks at its potential for current movements.

–> Podcast “The Politicis of Multitude” (English)
–> Podcast “Politiche delle moltitudine” (Italian) 
30. October 2021
20:00 CET

BIT Teatergarasjen Bergen/Norway
& online live stream
Gesellschaftsspiele: The Art of Assembly IX
With Ahmed Al-Nawas, Nora Sternfeld & Sarah Waterfeld / Staub zu Glitzer
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 Waterfield, part of the collective Staub zu Glitzer (Dust to Glitter) that occupied 2017 the Volksbühne in Berlin, demands a fundamental rethinking of the way the iconic theatre on Rosa-Luxemburg-Square is run.

–> Podcast “Reassembling Institutions”
18. September 2021
19:00 CEST

Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz, Berlin
& online live stream

Supported by Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung
Gesellschaftsspiele: The Art of Assembly VIII
With Judith Butler & Max Haiven
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”
14. September 2021
19:00 CEST

Halle G / Wiener Festwochen
& online live stream
Gesellschaftsspiele: The Art of Assembly VII
With Didier Eribon & Chantal Mouffe
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”
16. June 2021
19:00 CEST

Online live stream

In collaboration with Münchner Kammerspiele
Gesellschaftsspiele: The Art of Assembly VI
With Radha D’Souza & Sibylle Peters
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”
27. May 2021
19:00 CEST

Online live stream
Gesellellschaftsspiele: The Art of Assembly V – Special
In the context of the Action Day of “Die Vielen”

With Eduard Freudmann, Gin Müller, Philine Rinnert & Heidrun Primas
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”
10. Apri 2021
19:00 CEST

Online live stream
Gesellschaftsspiele: The Art of Assembly IV
With Claudia Bosse, Alia Mossallam
& The Church of Stop Shopping
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”
20. March 2021
19:00 CEST

Online live stream
Gesellschaftsspiele: The Art of Assembly III
With Jodi Dean & Jonas Staal
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”
19. February 2021
19:00 CET

Online live stream
Gesellschaftsspiele: The Art of Assembly II
With Julia Ramíres-Blanco & Oliver Ressler
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”
23. January 2021
19:00 CET

Online live stream
Gesellschaftsspiele: The Art of Assembly I
With Oliver Marchart & Dana Yahalomi
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”