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Summary of Dialogi 3-4/2013

What has long been obvious in the West has recently been happening in Slovenia, too: informed reviews by experts of artistic works have been pushed out of newspapers. Presumably these are not in the interest of capital, writes Dialogi's theatre editor Primoz Jesenko in the editorial. In Slovenia we have an additional problem: due to the small space it is extremely difficult to maintain independence in the writing of reviews, editing of anthologies, or selection of works and artists for festivals, and for the sake of content-based selection to avoid well-known names and courtesies. Primoz Jesenko knows from experience what he is talking about, since he is currently the selector for the Maribor Theatre Festival.

Slovenian theatre director Tomi Janezic, together with students from the Novi Sad Academy of Theatre and members of the Serbian National Theatre ensemble there, has created a seven-hour performance of Chekhov's The Seagull. The production was sixteen months in the making, but the process, as Janezic calls the study of the performance, is still going on, and after the premiere it is expected to begin anew: it involves an exceptional understanding of theatre as a living entity and a precious meeting of actors and audience, whose relationships are established in a new and unique way each time. The director is interviewed by Zala Dobovsek about the performance and his approach to the psychology of acting. Next in this issue are three brief articles in the field of theatre arts. Marina Grzinic focuses on non-institutional theatre in a state of exception that has been a constant part of society in recent decades. Non-institutional theatre can be conceptualized today only if we delineate a broader framework for the relationships between contemporary art and the neoliberal global capitalist system. Grzinic draws on the theoretical support of Giorgio Agamben to do this, while commenting critically on the present-day activities of the Slovenian artistic groups that are probably best known internationally: Laibach, Irwin, and the three Janez Jansas. Aldo Milohnic describes the case of American artist and activist Steve Kurtz, who was prosecuted for wanting to provide information to the public about genetically modified foods and the interests of capital and the military so that biotechnological research in the country would be subjected to regulation and oversight. Kurtz is an example of a "public amateur" – an artist, activist or other socially engaged individual who problematizes established patterns in art, science, and politics. Milohnic introduces the distinction between the amateur and the dilettante using the example of the Brecht fragment on proletarian theatre. For Brecht amateurism is a positive concept, denoting a form of theatre which grows out of "a particular point of view and particular intention," whereas dilettantes are unable to develop their own approaches and usually just imitate (unsuccessfully) professional artists. Based on this Milohnic develops the thesis that Yugoslav amateur (not dilettantist) artistic and cultural praxes in the second half of the 20th century (the neo-avant-garde in the late 1960s and early 1970s, alternative culture in the 1980s) were a counterweight to the state-supported professionalism of the cultural elites at the time.

Barbara Orel examines the relationships between the theatre, the creation of memory, and the internet in the Camillo project by Janez Jansa, who was prompted to examine the theatre as an apparatus of memory by Giuglio Camillo's Theatre of Memory, in which the Renaissance polymath forecast the internet in a visionary way. The art of memory is treated in relation to the visual order of the internet, which establishes a new Panopticon, i.e. a system of omnipresent surveillance and exposure to the omnipresent gaze of the Other. In the 1990s Jansa treated it from the standpoint of the repressive mechanisms of (totalitarian) control, whereas a decade later he also sees in it an environment of freedom and creative collaboration.

In the iterary section we publish a short story by writer Lucka Zorko as well as one by first-time author Manka Kremensek Krizman, an excerpt from a novel by Robert Simonisek, and poems by Metod Cesek.

In Cultural diagnosis Pia Brezavscek reviews the Slovenian translation of Louis Adamic's book The Truth About Los Angeles. Adamic is the best known Slovene emigrant; his book was originally published in English in 1927 and consists of five essays in which the author cynically exposes the foundations of the American Christianity industry. Robi Sabec presents the third part of the trilogy In the Name of the State, in which investigative reporters Matej Surc and Blaz Zgaga expose the Slovenian weapons scandal. Matic Majcen writes about the book Disintegration in Frame: Aesthetics and Ideology in the Yugoslav and Post-Yugoslav Cinema by film historian and theoretician Pavle Levi. Marko Golja reviews the first feature film by director Matevz Luzar, Good To Go, describing it as a charming story about people's relationships. Katja Cicigoj analyzes film aesthetics in the politically resonant Palestinian-Israeli documentary 5 Broken Cameras, while Leonora Flis writes about the new film by Terrence Malick To the Wonder. Primoz Jesenko reports on the subtle and experimental reading of Strindberg's Miss Julie shown by English director Katie Mitchell in the performance by the ensemble of the Schaubühne am Lehniner Platz theatre in Berlin.

The full table of contents ofDialogi 3-4/2013


Published 2013-07-30

Original in Slovenian
Contributed by Dialogi
© Dialogi
© Eurozine

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