PSR "Failure As A Practice"

PSR "Failure As A Practice"

Failure as a Practice and performance by the author Darko Dragičević in collaboration with Martin Sonderkamp Tontrager

Working process:
September 1-10, Moj Korak, dance studio
October – a development of ideas by selected local artists (self-planned and coordinated by Dejan Srhoj and Nina Meško)
November 21 and 22 2019 (art – Lab – final preparation), presented at Kino Šiška in the frame of CoFestival

Public presentation: November, 23 2019
Darko Dragičević and Martin Sonderkamp: Tontrager, presented at Mladinsko gledališče Ljubljana in the frame of CoFestival

Public presentation / performance: November, 26 2019


In neoliberal global economy where everyone is looking and aiming only toward success, one of the primal and necessary elements– failure is trying to be eliminated, while forgetting its value and necessity. For this reason, NDA Slovenia decided to invite Darko Dragičević with his project Failure as a Practice. The aim of the invitation was to empower the local artistic community and provide some insight through the transformed Slovenian context. With an aim to have a wider overview of the multimedia artist’s work, next to the multi-layered project Failure as a Practice (video installation/documentation, book and art laboratory with final presentation) NDA SI implemented in the CoFestival programme his last performance Tonträger that the author created in collaboration with Martin Sonderkamp. 

About Darko Dragičević:

Darko Dragičević is a Serbian multimedia artist, who lives and works in Berlin. He is active in the field of visual art, film and contemporary performing arts. His film and video works were awarded at several prominent international festivals. In his creative work, he is dealing with trans-positioning and combining of artistic methods to address socially stigmatised issues. He is interested in the potential of unusual bodies and presences, weirdness, uncommon perspectives and deviations.

Short overview on Practice as a Failure:

Concept & Artistic Direction: Darko Dragičević
Artistic collaboration and Performance (City Guerilla Belgrade): Dragana Krtinić
Artistic collaboration and Performance (Ljubljana artists): Nina Meško, Radharani Pernačič, Ajda Tomazin, Katja Legin, Mateja Bučar, Maja Kalafatič

With the help of Dejan Srhoj (coordinatior), Jana Jevtović (outside eye) and BOAR – Bor Pungerčič (facilitating and creating the space for the performance)

The project Failure as Practice was formed on this basis already in 2016 with the group City Guerilla from Belgrade and with the support of Goethe Institute in Serbia, with the aim to open up the act of failure (also) as a form of a positive currency in artistic processes. Failures, slips and fiascos are not only a part of artistic practices, they are an integral part of business, science and life itself for that matter. They have a negative value in contemporary world. Failure is the opposite of success, when its choreographer is capitalism, it needs to be removed. In some instances, it is possible to employ it as a strategy.

In art, failure is present in different ways with its several variations (mistake, slip, experiment, openness, taking risk, etc.). It is an integral part of artistic practice that is being born in the space between the intent and its realization. It is a crucial part of artistic practice also because it addresses the art and plays with the unknown/obscure. In the wish to search for and open up different ways of seeing, knowing, existing and how to be placed in the world, failures and fiascos are the only possible condition of change. On the other hand, failure can also be an artistic strategy: conscious decision and direction of the artist to face the unknown. For the end we need to mention Samuel Beckett’s thought that says: “To become an artist, you have to fail even more than anyone else would allow themselves to fail.”

After successful executions of the project in Belgrade and Berlin, Darko Dragičević continued to develop artistic practices of failure in collaboration with Mestna gverila representative from Belgrade and local artists (Nina Meško, Radharani Pernačič, Ajda Tomazin, Katja Legin, Mateja Bučar, Maja Kalafatič). They presented the work in the form of spatial interventions to create different, parallel forms of community with the resources that resist the general evaluation of success. In addition, the local participants engaged in the discussion between the two interventions and Darko Dragičević presented the book that he developed for the occasion with an aim to share the experience of artists, curators and participants and their view and reflection on failure. 

The work was coordinated by Dejan Srhoj, Jana Jevtovic helped the local artists during the absence of Darko Dragičević and Bor Pungerčič helped with space arrangement.

Personal experiences of participants:

Nina Meško: “ 

It was a great pleasure to collaborate on the project Failure as Practise under the artistic direction of Darko Dragičevič. The project was realized in the frame of Cofestival which was a great host and supporter of the project.We started our collaboration with Darko Dragičević and the group of dancers/performers/choreographers that he formed for the project Failure as Practise already in the beginning of September and then again in October before final work and presentation in November in the frame of the Cofestival. The work was very enriching for me as an artist and challenged me a lot. Darko Dragičević is very sensible and intelligent artistic leader, who awaked in a group trust to not be afraid to fail and to show our weaknesses and transform them into creative act.

The presentation of the work in Kino Šiška was quite successful and all I can say more is the important quote from the book Failure as Practise that it is important for artistic creation: »Doubt killed more dreams that failure ever will. «


Ajda Tomazin: “Methodology of the project was very innovative and refreshing, as a part of temporary group of failures. It put as into the spacial modus, for which usually we need a lot of time to reveal - honest vulnerability. 

The process was too short, because we were “hungry” for more. For-most it is reversed logic of success which I love to practice. To me, the high light was sharing Curriculum Vitae of failures. 

On the several layers is also tackling the problematic of the social expectations and cultural politics, which is alway intriguing and way for further development of oneself and the scene. 

Thankful to be invited and hope we “Try again. Fail again! Fail better!” (Samuel Beckett)«


Maja Kalafatić: “In August 2019, I was lucky enough to be invited by Darko Dragicevic and Jasmina Zaloznik to participate in the project Failure as Practice. I was very excited to become a part of that project since I was already a guest in a round table on the same subject in Belgrade earlier same year. I know Jasmina Zaloznik and Darko Dragicevic for a long time and I am an admirer of their work, so this was great opportunity for me. The preparations for the project began already in September and October in the form of mails and skype session, brainstorming and just being in touch with the whole group of artist and collaborators, while part of the group was meeting in the studio. The final event took place in November in Ljubljana in frame of three days’ workshop/laboratory and a day of performing the tasks.  It was very rewording to be a part of this project and to collaborate with the wonderful crew of creators and organizers.”


Tonträger (about the work)

Martin Sonderkamp and Darko Dragičević are known among the Ljubljana dance audiences due to their pedagogic or choreographic work. In their new duet Tonträger (2019), the choreographic procedures or fragile movement, light and sound images are the carriers of magnifications that are supposed to make visible the translations of sound, word or light into movement and with it also reveal the unusual relations between the materiality of bodies, spaces and objects.

Choreography and performance: Darko Dragičević, Martin Sonderkamp
Voices: Shannon Cooney, Mika Hayashi Ebbese
Artistic collaboration: Zeina Hanna
Lighting design: Catalina Fernandez
Sound design: Vera Pulido
Technical assistance: Jochen Haker, Andrea Parolino
Production: Darko Dragičević and Martin Sonderkamp
Co-production: Tanzfabrik Berlin
With the support of: SKH Stockholm University of the Arts

Sonderkamp and Dragičević are turning around the logic of the process of man’s self-narration, which is employed by the human to place himself into real places which he needs as a carrier of time, to turn them into spaces and prevent the collisions in them with his time. They turn the consistency of the self-narration, composed of language, into an exhibition: of movements, sound and corporeality. In this way, the dismantlement of subject in Tonträger turns into a choreographic process, into a configuration of bodies, space and objects. “The body that does not understand itself as a subject enables the visibility of hidden spaces,” they write. We already hosted the Sonderkamp and Dragičević tandem at CoFestival in 2016 with their performance Approximations #5. In their shows, they research the elementary choreographic fragments that were the focal interest of the American postmodern choreography of the 1960s and the 1970s, but they process them with fresh procedures derived from the myriad of contemporary technological possibilities.

21.11.19 - 26.11.19

Lublijana (SI)

supported/organized by Nomad Dance Academy Slovenia