Accepted paper:

'Bastardos of all countries, unite!': On international theatre exchange and an aesthetic of transformation


Jonas Tinius (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin)

Paper short abstract:

This paper explores the ethical significance of international cooperation through theatre. Focus is the German 'Theater an der Ruhr' and its unique 'international theatrelandscapes' project, which has initiated pioneering aesthetic dialogue, among others, with Iran, Iraq, or Syria.

Paper long abstract:

This paper traces the emergence, conceptualisation, and provocative transformative potential of the international theatrelandscapes project developed by Roberto Ciulli and his companions. I discuss their first project, the 'Theatrelandscapes Yugoslavia' and their enormous UNESCO supported project 'The Expedition Silk Road', which broke new ground for many of the countries' cultural politicians, artists, and audiences. Since Ciulli's company always highlighted more than the logistical achievements, I also explore what I call their 'aesthetics of becoming' and the transformative significance they attribute to theatre dialogues across borders. Describing their aspirations, I investigate how their work could be described as creating a "dynamic relational matrix within which human subjects are constantly interacting in ways that are co-productive ... and through which they come to know the world they live in and find meaning within it" (Long and Moore 2012: 42). The international theatre exchange lived and institutionalised by Ciulli and his company presents embodied forms of enacted and contemplated enquiries into subjectivity, society, and sociality. They are critical and reflexive because they constitute theatre as a public space for alternative, aesthetic imaginations that has the capacity to encompass the world in its own world, and therefore also to mock and rethink it.

panel G50
'All the world's a stage': the social and political potentialities of theatre and performance