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DOCH OPEN LECTURES: Janez Janša

On Reconstructions: what to we do when we reconstruct/reenact?

- Every act of historicizing is a construction of the past. We construct the past through the gaze of the present, with the gaze being constructed by a set of social, political, cultural, methodological, interpretative, and other factors. We historicize the past in the present, but we do it for the future. Every historicizing includes, on the one hand, the opening of the overlooked and concealed; it brings and strengthens the unheard voices, while, on the other hand, it closes or, better yet, uses this operation to package a certain chapter of the past.

I will present some of the works he created, which are based on the performances made by artists in the 60’s and 70’s and show different strategies in dealing with the past and history. The presentation will reflect terminological questions in dealing with history such as re-enactment, reconstruction, appropriation, quote, translation, remake.
Janez Janša

Om Janez Janša

Janez Janša is contemporary artist who in 2007, together with two other Slovenian artists, changed his name to the name of the conservative, two times prime-minister of Slovenia. Before and after this radical artistic gesture Janša has been working as theatre director and performer of interdisciplinary works that focus on the relation between art and the social and political context surrounding it, reflecting the responsibility of the performers as well as the spectators. Many of his works deal with the very status of performance in neoliberal societies. He created e.g. (together with Peter Šenk) a Refugee Camp for the Citizens of the First World (2004) and devised We are all Marlene Dietrich FOR (with Erna Ómarsdóttir, 2005) as a performance for soldiers in peace-keeping missions in the tradition of famous army entertainment shows. In his exhibition Life in Progress (2008) the audience itself reenacted famous historical performance art actions.

For Janez Janša artistic practice, theoretical reflection and political involvement are not separated. He is also the director of Maska, a non-profit organization in publishing, artistic production and education, based in Ljubljana, Slovenia and has edited several books on contemporary dance and theatre. He is the author of the book on early works by Jan Fabre, (La discipline du chaos, le chaos de la discipline, 1994).

He is currently fellow at the International research center Interweaving Performance Culture at the Freie Universitaet in Berlin and Honorary Visiting Professor in the Department of Drama, Theatre and Performance at the University of Roehampton, London.