The last days our team around Sarah and Andrew has been busy with research and preparation for the performance today, so I am going to catch up on some thoughts now while writing and sitting in our “production office”.
I still feel a little lost in all that has happened in the last three weeks and will probably keep writing entries – it will take some time and reflection to really look at certain questions and see how they were dealt with. So for now it is maybe still an eclectic mix of thoughts and observations from interactions with people from FFT and Düsseldorf. There is so much to think about: In which ways can one combine artistic and sociological research? How does Düsseldorf function as a city regarding performance arts?
So today some loose thoughts (and many questions) on art and politics in Düsseldorf: The starting point for this research has been the question how a direct dialogue between art and politics can happen in the city of Düsseldorf. Why pose this question? The independent theatre nowadays more and more researches, explores and experiments with topics that are of sociopolitical interest (whether be it migration, terrorism or data protection) – in completely different ways than science or politics can do. Unfortunately, very seldom Düsseldorf politicians seem to take interest in those developments and experimentations. Of course this has an affect on the standing of the independent scene and on budgets. Are political structures in Düsseldorf too fixed? How can new impulses be given? How can art and politics interact more and do so in ways that don’t result in more dependency but rather focus on something else besides struggling over budgets? Even though this situation differs from city to city, it has a somewhat universal tendency.
What becomes clear is that it is actually really hard to talk to politicians – to have a somewhat personal not scripted interaction. With a camera and a microphone it seems even harder to have them speak openly in public. The public is a dangerous place nowadays – it seems. And thus the wrong place for direct dialogue? Rita McBride, head of the Fine Arts Academy, has made a somewhat related remark : “In my class there was this very specific desire to discuss… and it is kind of embedded… in Germany from my position as an American. This like “Lets meet and discuss”. This meeting culture – it is really amazingly strong here. And I am not sure if discussion ever happens, at least not verbal discussion. I think a lot of body discussion happens in those meetings, which I find valuable, but the discussion-discussion, the actual words and formation of argumentation is so constructed and is not very telling.”