THE ANTHROPOLOGICAL MACHINE
powered by Beethoven
GALLOP THROUGH BEETHOVEN’S NINTH SYMPHONY. FROM ABSOLUTISM TO SOCIALISM… FROM DEFEATISM TO OPTIMISM… FROM POPULISM TO VULGARISM… WELCOME IN THE STABLE OF HUMANISM.
The Ninth runs through the entire sound landscape of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, a “masterpiece of the western civilization”, “giant and complex”, “sublime”, “triumphant vision of brotherhood.” And in the middle of this “striking example of human spirit” here’s us. Naked and suspicious. Not complex but reduced. Not sublime but explicit. Nothing great about us. Nothing triumphant. Blind by the images that we see, deaf by the sounds we hear. Looking for a connection with The Animal.
The Ninth is based on Giorgio Agamben’s reflection on humanism as an anthropological machine. In his book “The Open Man and Animal” Giorgio Agamben addresses the boundaries between man and animal, and questions the logic of Western civilisation, which justifies the procedure of “humanization of man” in the first place on a systematic suspension of animal. Man is defined only in the difference from the Animal. Animal slowly fades away, and in the identity of modern individual grows bigger and bigger emptiness, which we try to fill up with different ideologies. In this way civilisation becomes increasingly heavy ideological baggage, an individual gradually collapses under the burden of their imperatives.
Or, as Peter Sloterdijk says: “The taming of man has failed… Civilisation’s potential for barbarism is growing; the everyday bestialisation of man is on the increase.”
Duration: 75 minutes
Performed in English.
Conceived and devised by the group.
Performers: Loup Abramovici, Grega Zorc, Jaka Lah, Anita Wach, Magdalena Tuka
Concept and direction: Bojan Jablanovec
Choreographic supervision: Anita Wach
Music: Ludwig van Beethoven, Symphony No. 9, Herbert von Karajan, Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, 1983
Horse masks: Barbara Stupica
Light design: Igor Remeta
Video: Ana Čigon
Stage manager: Igor Remeta
Producer: Špela Trošt
Production: Via Negativa
Co-producer: JaJaJa NeNeNe Association Warsaw
Partners: Bunker Ljubljana / A Part Festival Katowice / Fundacja Ciało/Umysł Warsaw
The project is supported by the City of Ljubljana and the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland.
15 JUNE 2016, A Part Festival Katowice / work in progress
8 OCT 2016, Body Mind Festival Warsaw / premiere
22 – 23 OCT 2016, Old Power Station Ljubljana / premiere
27 NOV 2016, Sacred: Homelands Festival London
28 – 29 JAN 2017, Old Power Station Ljubljana
2 APR 2017, Polish Dance Platform Bytom
15 – 16 MAY 2017, Old Power Station Ljubljana
The word is not a horse
Dnevnik Ljubljana / 3 FEB 2017 / Pia Brezavšček
“Via Negativa is clinically clear and does not accumulate redundancy in the structure of their latest performance The Ninth. Bojan Jablanovec and performers have created the performative comment of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, musical work on the values of humanism, which is in stark contrast with reality and therefore today it sounds pretty cheesy. Its fourth sentence, better known as the Ode to Joy, became the anthem of the European Union – you know, this is a union of biopolitics and the state of emergency, which today with a cutting wire demarcates the people who are “worthy” of the good life, from those who are reduced to the bare life…”
In the stable of humanism
Radio Študent, Ljubljana / 27 OCT 2016 / Nenad Jelesijević
“The Ninth symphony plays unstoppable. Horses are playing, they are flirting with it, and – inevitably – dance to it. They dance to the Ode to Joy in Equine manner, with characteristic variations on the theme of horse gallop, calm and elegant trot, solemn walk, and finally unbridled rampage. Dance of five bodies reduced on the movements of their legs is a virtuoso, full of semantic power and expressive, trash-sublime quality. (…) Dance of horses derives from dressage, from the artificial moves which choreograph primal animality and try to civilize it. Civilization is precisely choreographed mechanism of legislated canons, rules, dogmas. Effective choreography and excellent execution.”
-isms and corpses of Europe: Via Negativa, roll over Beethoven!
Fokuspokus Ljubljana /28 OCT 2016/ Jedrt Jež Furlan
“Grandiose Ninth Symphony makes all bare, reduced, explicit. Five naked performers sit in chairs and gallop with legs. Ode to Joy. Performers who think horses. Half men and half horses. Magnificent. (…) Half an hour-long scene: Video projection of all possible –isms, performer picks up the body, announces one of the -isms and throws the body on the floor. Among the “capitalisms” “socialisms,” “individualisms,” I hear “voluntarism”. What are you doing here “voluntarism”? This is not an ideology!? Strong scene.”
taniecPOLSKA.pl / Piętnaście edycji, dwadzieścia jeden lat / 20 DEC 2016 / Hanna Raszewska
“The stage slowly becomes a ghastly scenography of battlefield full of sculls while performers carefully put dozens of horse masks all over the space. Listening to the profound sounds of the symphony and lyrics of the poem speaking about brotherhood of humankind, about hands friendly tangled, about world where “all creatures drink of joy” and pleasure is given even to a worm, we watch endless slaughter of non Humans, non Ours, not Us. And we cannot do anything to stop it.”