Process_City: Vacation From History

Written by on 2008-02-01

“If we concede (if for no other reason, then out of ironic predilection for Francis Fukuyama’s thesis, at present obviously naïve and inadequate) to the idea that history has already reached its end, and we manage at once to avoid the “post”- trap, then we might claim that what we live today is a non-historic time. In a way this is not far from being true. History is nothing else than an agglomerate of dominant perceptions of the past; hence, an agglomerate of those subjective views on past events that have prevailed all other views, usually by force. The principles ruling today’s world are those of acceleration and expansion; all major phenomena and processes are affected by their vertiginous dynamics. Production, consumption, wars, truces, natural and men-made disasters, the wealth of ones and the poverty of the others, concealed truths and public lies – they all grow and spread with a speed that is ever harder to follow, or rather, a speed that increasingly obstructs the perception of reality. The amount and frequency of everything is too abundant – and in dramatic dimensions – to survive in either collective or individual memory longer than the interval between two editions of TV news or daily newspapers. The satiety of perception leads to the loss of criteria for classification of information according to importance, which is followed by the loss of sense for importance itself. Losing importance gradually brings the loss of sense. Is this not an ideal chance for those who (think they) administer the acceleration and expansion of the world to (think they) tailor history by their own whim, amid over-sense and over-significance, when everything turns anyway into non-sense and in-significance?

Fighting against the domination of official history, determined explorers would nevertheless always find a way to discover traces of personal histories, those that would reveal new facts on the hierarchy of significance and sense of events in a certain period, thus becoming parts and particles of a mosaic of parallel history/ies. This was so until recently. If one imagines from the present-day perspective the forensic investigation that some future detective-archaeologist would have to perform on the sample of our reality, one might also imagine a somewhat different outcome: exposed to acceleration and expansion, the lives of today’s individuals remind more and more to a delirium thick with excessive drives, unrealistic dreams, unfulfilled desires, burning ambitions and even more burning frustrations. They are similar to an ailing tissue, helpless in its efforts to resist the furious metastasising of everyday life. Even personal information succumbs to the overall inflation of information, while the personal time for processing them disappears by geometrical progression. The paradox is almost painful: there have never been more opportunities for recording and distributing personal views of reality; yet there has never been less possibility for them to become relevant. Inflation of information + time deficit = entropy of relevance criteria and sensible substance. Amid this diabolic equation, how should one shape his/her personal history – one that, in the sum of a multitude of personal histories, provides with utmost certainty a different view on an époque – so that its criteria overcome this entropy?

The price paid for seeking an answer to this question is not lower than the one paid by Franz Kafka who sought to find answers to this and similar questions. The trilogy process_city, inspired by Kafka’s Trial, is an endeavour of Shadow Casters to speak of this question through Kafka’s work (paying an adequate price naturally comprised) from at least three different viewpoints and in a non-chronological sequence. Thus, the third part of the trilogy, process_in_progress, was the first to be realised as a synthetic interpretation of the entire corpus of Trial, on the crossroads of two media – theatre and film – submitted to multiple live editing spanning from VJ-ing to spectator’s gaze. Having the Parable on the Law as its starting point, the second part, Ex-position, opens the gate of journeys into personal histories and the subconsciousness of The Other, through a series of one-on-one encounters that promote spectators into “sensators”, exchanging their institutionalised passivity for compassion, exposing them to public view in moments of their utmost dedication to the intimate, also offering them a bird eye’s view of the situation lived moments earlier, all this accompanied with the possibility for the “sensator” to pass through all the positions, stories and phases. At the end of the trilogy, which is in fact its beginning, stands Vacation From History, which tackles directly the mentioned question. Behind the transparent title there hides an oneiric voyage through a Kafkian day yet deprived of clichés on Kafkianism and even on history. Kafka’s metaphysical distance that deprives the tragic dimension of pathos in a humorous manner consists of a paradoxical blend: on the one hand, the categorical rejection of the imperative to leave a mark for eternity; on the other hand, the cheerful complying with the imperative if it proves to be truly inescapable. Indifference towards history makes it irrelevant in a way that saves the relevance of personal experience. From this perspective, personal experience travels through time and space by unrecorded trails: leaving its trace as a view that inevitably alters that which is being observed; as a thought that, spoken or not, alters that which is being reflected upon; as an emotion that gives birth to a tone by which all imminent emotions of others will be tuned or counter-pointed; as an entire presence in a particular time-space sequence, unique and unrepeatable, and as such utterly irrelevant as the food for the entropic devourer of historical relevance. What is the shape in which this experience might materialise?

While I lie in the darkness, on the bridge between two days, I let the silence be filled with images, voices, sounds, feelings of the past hours, days, the parallel time-space of thoughts, desires, recollections, fears and hopes… associations fly among them, weaving the net; momentary sensations bounce from the net, only to be caught again in it and bounce once again… My head is a running night train. In a lit wagon, two men play ping-pong with a multitude of balls. While the train-head slashes the softness of the dark, people-associations whip the balls-thoughts that fly back and forth, back and forth… Or not? Can you imagine the movement of ping-pong balls in the running train?

If we concede (if for no other reason then out of ironic predilection for Francis Fukuyama’s thesis, at present obviously naïve and inadequate) to the idea that history has already reached its end, and we manage at once to avoid the “post”- trap, we might easily imagine this movement. And/or experience it.”

Katarina Pejović

Autor koncepta i redatelj / Author of concept and director: Boris Bakal

Scenarij / Script: Katarina Pejović

Autori i suradnici / Authors and collaborators: Jelena Lopatić, Marija Škaričić, Damir Klemenić, Bojan Navojec, Stanko Juzbašić, Ognjen Bogojević, Kristina Gavran, Martina Karla Franić, Željko Zorica, Iva Aras, Ena Schulz, Stjepan Filipec Ges i mnogi/e drugi/e.
Produkcija / Production: Bacači Sjenki u suradnji s gradskom knjižnicom "Bogdan Ogrizović", Gradskom četvrti "Donji grad", DSZS-om Republike Hrvatske te Hrvatskim Crvenim križem.

Koprodukcija /Co-production: Orchestra Stolpnik - Bologna

Financijska potpora / Financial support: Ministarstvo kulture Republike Hrvatske i Gradski ured za obrazovanje, kulturu i šport grada Zagreba.

Posebne zahvale / Special thanks to: Nina Violić, Zagrebačko Kazalište Mladih, G. Vitas, Plesni Centar Tala, Makrobiotički Centar Nova, Miona, Jaga i ostali, a posebno Mativo d.o.o.

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