Accepted paper:

Poïetic art: political theatre as micro-utopia

Authors:

Jonas Tinius (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin)

Paper short abstract:

This paper describes how a political theatre project with refugees from Germany's postindustrial Ruhrvalley struggled to create rehearsals as a form of relational micro-utopia in which refugees could reflect and (re-)make their political subjectivities in art.

Paper long abstract:

According to Michael Lambek ('The Sakalava Poiesis of History', 1998), Plato crudely opposes mimesis ("identification with the content of what one is performing or imitating", "an immersion in the concrete") with rational, reflective thought. Mimesis here opposes reason, which "distantiates, enabling abstraction and freedom from time conditioning in order to reflect upon it". Aristotle offers an alternative to this dualism: contemplating (theōria), practical deliberation or doing (praxis), and productive creation or making (poiēsis) are seen as complementary practices. In this paper, I describe how a political theatre project with refugees from Germany's postindustrial Ruhrvalley struggled to create rehearsals as a form of relational micro-utopia in which refugees could reflect, abstract, and (re-)make their political subjectivities in art. The project rejected the idea that refugee actors in political theatre need to mimic and identify with their supposed identity as refugees. Instead, the project participants created rehearsals as a space for the abstraction and freedom of refugees from such identities, exploring what an ideal political theatre utopia could be. This paper discusses how we can conceptualise the artistic process of self-transformational rehearsals as concrete micro-utopias.

panel P002
Micro-utopias: exploring connections in anthropology, relationality and creativity