Festival of performance art curated by tranzit.org and organized by tranzit.cz/Biennale Matter of Art in co-operation with Divadlo X10
Emotion is an intensity which takes place between people, concepts, and objects. Both cognitive and sensory, it moves around and sticks. It arises in a crowd, originating from no particular consciousness. As it circulates in the world, it is difficult to define: #metoo, climate change, fascism, antifascism, racism, refugees, cancel culture. We feel empty, anxious, angry, fatigued, harmed, violated. It seems we live in an era of heightened emotions which are often labeled as toxic and appear not to lead anywhere. Emotions – be they high or low – are coded into the social media platforms on which we spend so much of our lives and which thrive on our emotional engagement as our own emoticons remind us everyday. The boundaries between the private and the public move too fast for us to track. We react emotionally to what is happening around us but sometimes it seems as if the ways in which we react make us incapable of dealing with the problems at hand. We shift from the political to the personal. Yet, can the two be separated? On what kind of emotions could politically meaningful solidarity rest? Are political passions that were associated with twentieth-century revolutions and social strife exhausted? Can we feel hopeful again? Can we forgive each other? And whom should we not forgive? What emotions can unite us and what emotions divide us? This program of activities invites artists to question the agreed ways of thinking about emotions and think about what gestures could create conditions for shared empathy. Emotional works may be difficult works in that emotions are messy, contradictory, complicated. Can we keep company with vulnerability, intimacy?
The event will take place on May 6–7, 2022 at Divadlo X10 in Prague. Originally, the festival was supposed to take place in November 2020 but had to be canceled due to the pandemic of COVID-19. It was later rescheduled to December 2021, but it had to be canceled again due to the ongoing pandemic. In the meantime, we decided to connect with the artists through a series of interviews thematizing emotions in difficult times. The interviews were published continuously throughout 2021.
Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara
Anetta Mona Chisa & Lucia Tkáčová