Secret Theatre: Off-The-Grid Performance Practices in Socialist Poland and Czechoslovakia. Supervisors: Kati Röttger and Artemy Kalinovski | 9 October 2019, Aula, 11.00 hrs.
|Date||9 October 2019|
This study investigates off-the-grid performance practices that took shape in socialist Poland and former Czechoslovakia, between 1956 and 1989. The analysis challenges existing views on nonconformist creative practices as practices that are in binary opposition with topdown cultural initiatives. To unpack the network of interactions between the performances and their venues, I build on theorizing about deterritorialized spaces (Yurchak 2016) and heterotopias (Foucault 1971). Both terms, in distinct ways, refer to spaces that exist within the social system, but are not part of it; that ignore the system's narratives, yet do not actively oppose them – in short, spaces where dominant social narratives cease. My analysis reveals how performances blend with specific venues to create late- Soviet instances of deterritorialization or heterotopia. I thus refine our understanding of the Eastern Bloc experiment – an aim that is particularly urgent against the backdrop of contemporary media framing of the Cold War era and a so-called New Cold War.