W&A PERFORMANCE-VENICE BIENNALE 2022
WORDS IN BLACK INK
Any strong artwork can be put in a specific context and get a “new” meaning. Artworks are like open doors to a wide range of issues. A work about domestic violence can become a statement about war crimes, a work about abuse of women can become a statement about the murderous Russian war on Ukraine. In fact any strong artwork of today can be seen through the context of this war and the statement: VLADIMIR PUTIN WAR CRIMINAL.
Is a text-based video-work setting side-by-side the tyrants Caligula, Pol Pot, and Putin. We hear the three tyrants discuss their ideology and their strategy, and we hear the voices of their victims. A video of a young man reading. It is a voice in the darkness.
Preface: The play is about an ongoing dramatic conflict. A war. We are overwhelmed by articles, analysis, images, and news about this war. This play is not an attempt to be another scientific investigation about the actual political and military situation in Russia, Ukraine, or in Europe. It is an attempt to mix our present time of international crises and the time of the Roman empire. The play intertwines the two dictators Caligula and Putin to say that war and tyranny are timeless phenomena. The performance: “CALIGULA 2022” is meant to be some sort of “theatre of emotional therapy”.
The play is not realistic in any way but playing with realistic quotations and facts from both ancient Rome and today. The eclectic text is written in an innocent naïve style. It is humorous and ironic. The formal and visual references are silent movies of the 1920s. When reading one must try to imagine the aesthetics of those films: black and white, expressionistic, over-acted, and very beautiful carefully designed images and poses. As director I see it on an empty stage, a grey projection screen as back wall, the actors dressed in black suits, and evening dresses of the time of the 1920s. We will also use jazz- and dance-music of the time for the physical scenes. The actors are all the time present on stage. Those who are not speaking with each other in dialogs, form a chorus that carefully monitors the action on stage like a group of spies. There is a video camera on a tripod at one side where the actors can make live close-up images for the back projection. In this performance there is only one stage-effect and one colour, and that is the red blood at the end.