PSR Publication Within Time, Beyond Time
The publication was designed as celebration of the 10th CoFestival anniversary, but at the same time as a publication which would not serve only for promotional purposes but also for the dance community and scholars in large with text moving far beyond the ‘CoFestival frame’. We presented our idea to colleague and one of the CoFestival followers from its beginning to take this role and directions in which artistic, theoretical and historical visions would overlap and would present CoFestival in its pure mission and vision.
The process was long and intensive and the result is a publication of 280 pages (in English) + additional booklet published in Slovene.
From the editorial text written by Nika Arhar.
1. In 2012, CoFestival came into being as a merger of three festivals, establishing a creative and production context that operates on several fronts, but as a whole.
2. Its collective leadership and the production alliance between a public insti- tution and a non-profit organisation are a polygon of collaboration, which requires constant negotiation and consideration for the other. They are also a commitment to community and co-living, often foregrounded as a concern and a proposal in the festival, with all the temporal, physical and other mate- rial conditions, the different forms of presence of bodies and dance practices, and diverse sensibilities involved.
3. In the Slovenian context, CoFestival stands out for its issue-based and analytical reflection of dance work and its precise detection of the artistic, cultural, social and political symptoms of our times.
4. All these layers are not separated, because its management understands the cu- rating of festivals as the creation of communal spaces that are not neutralised intersections, but permeable organisms, expanding into the context from which they emerge and crossing its antagonisms and vulnerabilities. It is for this rea- son that, by questioning the role of the festival through its curatorial strategies and decisions, it is able to inscribe choreography, dance work, dance discourses and practices, as well as their diverse bodies, into the public sphere, and thus co-shape the ecosystem of the dancing, the cultural and the socio-political. And even though we know that nothing fought for is won permanently, CoFestival’s position, in its evolution, but also in its precarity, vulnerability and openness, has always tenaciously defended this ethical and political gesture.
5. How to capture the ten-year-long story of CoFestival on the threshold of its 11th edition? What did become embedded in this decade, in which the narratives, knowledge and experiences of numerous people, different ideas and projects, festival and other expanded production formats, various educational and advocacy initiatives, regional archiving research, different local, regional and international networks and alliances, both previous and simultaneous, seem to be a part of, in one way or another?
6. With this publication, we are returning to a certain period which, despite its proximity, is already eluding personal memory due to the saturation of time and the burden of the present (not to mention the shortness of social memory!), in order to add to the things, in this condensed form, possible reflections of the present and perspectives of the future. This volume reviews and documents our recent past, partly because there is no historicisation without self-historicisation, but above all in order to support and strengthen the traces of what will – and what we would like to see – remain with us in the future. It also extends into the broader field of festival-related reflections, notions and practices, entering into a commitment and dialogue with the festival and the environment in which it/we is/are creating and co-living.
7. We open this story with an expanded chronology of CoFestival (with key production and content highlights, as well as attendance statistics), which we layer with the personal perspectives of its protagonists: today’s curatorial team and its two long-standing members, without whom CoFestival would not be what it is today. We delve into the potentials of the (festival and choreographic) collective (Pia Brezavšček), the ways in which CoFestival builds its dramaturgy of concept, movement, vulnerability and exchange (Maša Radi Buh), and what CoFestival means in the Slovenian cultural, political and social space (Janez Janša). We draw on personal experiences of participation in different creative processes in the intertwining of artistic work and life (Katja Legin) and accounts of how an individual life can manifest a deeply woven connection with the festival and its people, how stories are archived in our bodies and experiences are inscribed beneath the body’s surface (Marko Milić). We ask how to make festivals in the given social conditions and consider curatorial practices, their principles, methods and the relations they form, in line with the understanding of the festival as a critical and democratic practice (Biljana Tanurovska - Kjulavkovski and Alexandra Baybutt).
8. We also include short personal and artistic interventions by choreographers who have been guests at CoFestival, in which they reveal bits and pieces of their artistic practices and perspectives on dance. Although they are not necessarily directly related to the festival, they enter into it and intersect with its bodies, just as our stories are inextricably intertwined with many others, to paraphrase Katja Legin’s introductory note.
9. The publication is rounded off with an inventory of the programmes of all CoFestival editions to date.
10. We move between the view from within and outside, between theoretical, experiential and artistic contributions, between past, present and future, be- tween realities and possibilities. We peel away images and questions, we hunt for meanings and purposes. Did we do enough? Where else could we go?
11. This volume is “desires, plans and, last but not least, pleasures,” as Rok Vevar says referring to bodies. It is the sum of invitations, proposals and responses. It includes proximities and distances. The set and the unexpected. An open space, as Nomad Dance Academy calls it, or an open work, where the editorial choreography of different voices and materialities will be comple- mented by the reader’s perspective. In a period that is not supportive of close attention and its decelerated time, nonetheless, without appropriating this time, our bodies are unable to coexist with other bodies in a way that is not destructive. Be it in regard to wars, political power, capital, health crises, attitudes to the environment, to others or to ourselves. Or as the curatorial team addressed the audience at the opening of the 2019 CoFestival: “The current global political reality seems futureless, perhaps precisely because we are giving up our lives in the struggle for survival. Renouncing life is renouncing what is fundamentally available to us, but at the same time often incomprehensibly foreign: our own body. Our bodies are often merely the site of the disease symptoms produced by contemporary reality, making it easy to dismiss the possibilities of empathy, politics and social solidarity.” Let us therefore listen to the creases of our bodies in order to reconstruct the bodies of a common future. Nika Arhar
01.01.22 - 30.11.22