ON TRIAL TOGETHER (COMMUNITAS NA ISPITU)
ANA VUJANOVIć AND SAŠA ASENTIć Ć
“Examining Communitas” is an art project composed of theoretical-artistic research and the performance, “On Trial Together.” The research is focused on different historical and contemporary forms of social, cultural and artistic performances that “spectacularize” the collective and mass body, as well as on contemporary dance as an artistic discipline that emancipates and grants visibility to the liberated individual body. The project is contextually-based, and we observe these body images within the framework of social systems that have characterized the 20th century, as well as those within our own life experiences in eastern socialism and western neoliberal capitalism.
“On Trial Together” is a hybrid public event that is a cross between a theatrical play, a choreographic score, a social game and a happening. It takes place in a theater venue, thereby reaffirming the role of theater in the symbolization of the social. However, the stage is re-appropriated and transformed into a public space where citizens discuss issues important to their society and speculate about its future through fictional constructions. We base this performance on principles of social, live action/role-playing games and simulations, open for all audience members to take part. This concept invites the audience to create fictional situations out of the initial plots: Up and Down, Then Up and Again Down of the Workers’ Self-Management, The Others and Collective Intelligence Test. The performance ends with an open forum for discussion about experiences related to participation and the stories that are created within the performance.
The stories and social choreography are temporary, changeable and largely depend on the participants. Thus, “On Trial Together” becomes a theatrical story, “we tell ourselves about ourselves,” and a choreographic spectacle, created for no one’s eyes. Each performance is a unique event (episode) that starts off with the situation created in the previous event in the chain, thus constructing an open series with unpredictable results.
After its first performance episode in Novi Sad in Serbian National Theatre, “On Trial Together” was recreated at Sophiensaele during the Tanz im August festival in Berlin.