The fourth edition of the festival Performa&Platforma zooms in on women artists. Our decision to focus on female authors in the area of performing arts and call this festival’s edition Woman’s Domain was motivated by our wish to open up a series of different questions. We are namely interested in how women artists perceive artistic creativity, what is their social and economic position within contemporary art practices and what effects does a gendered body have on artistic creativity.
Can we say that a specific field of action/engagement is in the domain of a specific gender? How does gender influence the (re)shaping of a domain that belongs to no one? What does it mean when we define something by ascribing it to a specific group only? What approaches and relations are being constituted by women artists?
The festival is well-considered and aimed at offering a reflection of the fact that contemporary dance in Slovenia and elsewhere is predominantly in the domain of women.
That "cultural policy" in Slovenia still understands dance, as well as non-institutional performing art practices, as ‘alternative’ is more or less self-evident. Perhaps, Pia Brezavšček, president of the Slovenian Contemporary Dance Association, was right when she stressed in her opening speech at the 2017 Gibanica Festival of Slovene Dance that "it is no coincidence that the field never really managed to establish itself, as it has always been far from being considered on equal terms". So, how do women artists establish themselves? Where are the boundaries of their expression? What is their message?
The invited artists respond to the above situation in very different ways. Their expression spans from being subtle and sensual to being bold and rebellious … We have observed that many of them have made considerable progress in the development of their processes and specific methodological tools in connection to in-depth exploration of the most evident elements. And this is also what we are offering to you this year. A heterogeneous body of captivating performances that will imprint on the spectator and shake her out of her established perspectives with an aim of opening up to new ones by reflecting on the messages communicated by the artists as well as by taking a glimpse into the artists’ work, their purpose and goals.
The festival will open with Video:Performa, which will reveal to us Proximities by Enya Belak Gupta and Ajda Tomazin and walk us through the subtle performance by Petra Kapš (alias Or poiesis). The next on the programme is a performance by Kaja Lorenci, searching for, researching, provoking and enveloping relations with others. The autobiographical book debut by Simona Semenič Do You Hear Me? is an engaged and uncompromisingly witty confrontation with sociopolitical systems. Veronika Valdés and Ana Romih aim at the technology of corporeality and beyond. Dancers coming from the Dance Academy in Budapest open up the question of the female body and stereotypical representation. The Israeli choreographer Reut Shemesh and her collaborator Hella Immler explore the bizarre relation between a military uniform and lost dreams. Pia Brezavšček, Barbara Krajnc Avdić, Saška Rakef created an interdisciplinary performance about the (un)changeability of perspectives on motherhood. Butoh choreographer Tanja Zgonc weaves a dialogue between the pure physical body and spiritual enlightenment. The festival will close with the project Awakening of a Sleeping Giant – Second Chance by Mojca Kasjak.
Women artists and their creative work can be an inexhaustible source of creative inspiration. The vision of the world as reflected in their works underlines far-reaching social changes, which – although they can presently be seen only on an intimate, personal level – may dismantle the deceptive idyllic perception of life and the acquired stereotypical values.
We hope you will enjoy our selection of performances, enjoy in thinking about, listening and reacting to what this year’s festival has to offer!
Mojca and Jasmina