Udeleženci o VN Lab-u
SARA HORŽEN, igralka, producentka, dramatičarka
VN LAB je prostor, kjer lahko svobodno raziskuješ, kaj je sodobna performativna umetnost in koliko performativnega imaš v sebi; je priložnost, da se naučiš kritičnega razmišljanja in analitičnega opazovanja; je spodbuda za neprestano iskanje novih idej; je laboratorij z mentorjem iskrenega, neposrednega, a spoštljivega duha z izostrenim občutkom za posameznika; je svojevrstna, dragocena izkušnja in jo privoščim vsakomur, ki rad raziskuje, preverja in prestopa meje svoje ustvarjalnosti.
LANA ZDRAVKOVIĆ, performerka in filozofinja
VN Lab – ena zelo redkih vadbenih platform na tem področju – je zame zelo dragocena izkušnja, saj na radikalno zavezujoč način omogoča razvoj strategij ustvarjanja in gledanja performansa. Proces dela je zasnovan tako, da razpre prostor za iskanje lastnega performativnega izraza, na konceptualni (miselni) in uprizoritveni (telesni) ravni. Do udeleženk_cev je neusmiljen (v dobrem in v slabem) in skorajda zasvoji z natančnostjo, premišljenostjo in brezkompromistnostjo. Udeleženci_ke so v položaju, da se sami_e potiskajo ob rob lastnih zmožnosti s tendenco, da ta rob prestopijo ne glede na dejstvo (oziroma ravno zaradi njega), da ne vedo, kaj je na drugi strani. Priporočam vsem, ki se želijo resno ukvarjati s performansom.
ANDRAŽ JUG, igralec
Razumevanje in refleksija drugih udeležencev je prav tako pomembna kot gradnja in izvajanje lastnega materiala. Simple and clear decisions. Na delanje gledališča sem pogledal iz kota, ki ga prej nisem dobro poznal. Ne pravim, da je lahko, je pa lepo, ko se sprostiš in začneš uživati.
JAKUB ČERMAK, performer, Prague
I often think of my stay in Ljubljana workshop, even though it had been several months ago. Although I had a lot of experience in the world of theater, this experience was very significant and important for my future work. And I’m extremely grateful for that. Workshop gives many opportunities for artistic development, you can use them successfully but also you can fail in using them. I have failed many times and I succeed sometimes. I learned to trust in the reduction of artistic expression, authorial approach, to trust myself on stage. I learned about how viewers read what is happening on stage in different ways. I met some fantastic colleagues and I personally met Bojan Jablanovec. I was a fan of him and I am a super fan after the workshop.
PS I think to visit a complete workshop has more sense than individual lessons. The continuity of the work was really valuable for me. I traveled about 700 km each time, and it paid off.
STANE TOMAZIN, igralec
“VN Lab je bila zame očiščujoča izkušnja. Začel sem se spraševati o svoji lastni percepciji gledališkega in artikulaciji le-tega. Spoznal sem, da se da delati drugače, da ti npr. ni treba biti prijazen in všečen, ko komentiraš prizore drugih, ampak samo iskren in to sem dobival tudi od drugih. Ni opravičevanja svojih prizorov in iskanja izgovorov. Zdi se mi, da tukaj lahko res napreduješ, predvsem v praktičnem smislu, ne moreš se skrivati za drugimi, samo ti si, sam. Moraš iti na sceno in pokazati svoje, tukaj ni nobenega kalkuliranja, nobenega čakanja. In potem se začneš čistiti, začneš filtrirati stvari, začneš odmetavati svoj balast. Prideš na svojo ničlo in začneš znova. Mislim, da bi moral vsak mladi igralec iti čez takšno izkušnjo, kot je VN Lab.”
VITO WEIS, igralec, performer
“Via Negativa dobiva v mojem odrskem ustvarjanju posebno mesto. Predstavlja način razmišljanja, način gledanja in način uprizarjanja. Z delom Vie Negative sem se redno srečeval zadnja leta, ko sem spremljal njihove performanse. Iskrenost in lucidnost, obravnava tem, odnos performejev do lastnega telesa in uma kot praktično edinih izraznih sredstev so me kot gledalca vedno znova pretresli in mi nastavljali ogledalo. Ta občutek popolnega avtorstva, svobode in javne fizične eksplicitnosti me je privlačil najbolj od vsega.
Delo v laboratoriju VN je potekalo zelo produktivno, vsak dan je bilo treba pripraviti in pokazati najmanj dva prizora. Na eni točki se mi je sicer zdelo, da sem pokazal in videl že vse, kar se o tej temi dá pokazati, vsakič znova pa sem bil presenečen, da nismo niti blizu temu. Največja vrednost takšnega raziskovanja je zagotovo sprotno preverjanje, ki ti daje takojšen odgovor na to, kar ponudiš. S tem Via Negativa goji princip gledanja in komunikacije. O tem, kar gledaš, moraš govoriti in deliti svoje mnenje. Ne gre za kritiko, v ospredju ni to, kar ne funkcionira, ampak iskanje tega, kar deluje, trenutkov, ki razprejo prostor in dajejo odrskemu dogajanju drugo dimenzijo. Tako se počasi oklesti, kar je odvečnega, in prihaja do izčiščenosti. Tak princip dela mi je pisan na kožo, ker gre za iskanje temeljne prisotnosti na odru in enostavnega pripovedovanja zgodbe, ki svoje sporočilo razkriva postopoma.
Via Negativa pri svojem delu vedno aktivno vključuje gledalca, tudi če ne pričakuje njegovega neposrednega sodelovanja. Odnos do gledalca je ključen. Vzeti ga moraš s sabo in ves čas neposredno komunicirati z njim. Gledalcu je treba dati občutek, da ve, kaj gleda, in mu s tem dati navidezno prednost, tako si ustvariš manevrski prostor za presenečenje, obrat, ki ga razoroži in mu vrže novo kost. Stati pred gledalci, jih gledati v oči in imeti njihov odziv ves čas na pladnju je zame postalo nujno. To mi daje večjo gotovost kot karkoli prej, ker vem, kje se gibljem, pa če je gledalec z mano ali ne.”
NIKA ROZMAN, igralka
“VN Lab je zame zelo dragocena izkušnja. Osebno zato, ker sem bila soočena s stalnim preizkušanjem lastne vztrajnosti, odločenosti in zaupanja vase. Profesionalno pa, ker mi je proces razprl pogled iz mojega istitucionalno-igralsko-akademsko-realizatorskega v samostojno-ustvarjalno-celostno-performativnega. Všeč mi je, ker je brez recepta in spodbuja težavno iskanje sebi lastnega gledanja in izražanja. Toplo priporočam.”
POLONCA PODGORŠEK, producentka
“Kako v gledališču govoriti zgodbe, ki jih je treba slišati? Kako jih uprizoriti tako, da jih je potem preprosto treba kontradiktorno misliti? Koliko interpretativnega prostora pustiti, kje se predati, kje se opustiti? Kako nagovoriti zahtevno publiko, ki od umetniškega dela pričakuje, da jo pretrese, destabilizira? Kako se raznolike javnosti intimno dotakniti in spodbosti refleksijo umeščenosti v družbena razmerja moči, biti kritičen, aktualen in kako tematizirati osebne in družbene horizonte, ki jih lahko razumemo tudi drugače? Laboratorij je izziv razumevanju gledališča kot forme, vsebine in Odnosa.
Bom kar iskrena, v tem laboratoriju ni nič pretirano lahkotnega in na trenutke človek res ne ve, ali bi jokal ali se svoji preproščini samo nasmejal, pa sentiment nekako zmeraj povozi pomembnejše razumevanje principov na videz zelo preprostega početja, a v resnici zelo subtilnega umerjanja sveta besede, podobe, giba, glasu in sporočila v tvar, ki jo je gledalcu, tistemu prebirajočemu Drugemu, mogoče v srži začutiti. No place to come, if you can’t handle the truth…. A če je tvoje vprašanje, kot je bilo moje, Kako se zgodi teater, ki gledalca ceni dovolj, da mu dovoli in ga spodbode, da sporočilnost predstave dojame z lastnimi sredstvi?, potem je odgovor na dlani. Prodoren učni proces pod mentorstvom izjemnih pedagoških vodij, Via Negativa Lab, zaključujem s prostodušnim občutkom, da je upodabljanje zgodb ne le stvar tehnike, temveč odpiranja prostora za sporazumevanje, za dialog, simpatijo, rahločutnost in dotike tam, kjer smo bili prepričani, da jih več čutiti ne zmoremo. Vse je upodobljivo. In morda je laboratorij še najbolj namenjen tistim slehernikom, ki menijo, da bi bilo najbolje, da bi zgodbo povedali sami.”
RIINA MAIDRE, performerka, Tallinn
“i am absolutely thankful and happy about it… the first affirmative feedback i want to give to you is actually about Via Negativa homepage – it is rich, informative and clear enough for me to get the grasp on what you are doing or what you might be doing, even if i haven’ t seen any of the VN performances. and also the description for the Lab – what is the goal, what is the way, what is the challenge – is complete and understandable, inviting to make the outgo.
the working-method of the Lab – showing a scene and then feed-backing on it – didnt strike me as sth completely new, but it was clearly pointing out the aim that an idea, and the presentation of it, has to stand for itself, it has to be complete in its action, and there is no additional explanation possible.
there is an extra-attentive audience in the Lab, yes it is not 100 persons, but it is 8 persons, who give their time and attention and good-will to see what i am after, so this actually is creating an effect that i feel even more responsible for what i am using their time … and for example, when it happened that i was presenting and “ok” scene, but didnt have an ending, then actually later – while hearing people talking about the complete/or potentially complete idea – i felt super stupid, for not making the full effort to take it until a clear framing end.
being in a feedback-situation, where spectators describe what they saw and understood, mention the links what they emotionally or intellectually had, but then also discuss the potential which they saw as unused or undeveloped – this is a learning situation anyway, and for me especially cause the analyzing-articulating side is not my strongest. so it is good to be again and again pushed to it in a sharing mode.
so yes, i appreciate the whole experience a lot… if a foreign-person can afford a flight to visit the Lab even for one weekend is worth it…”
ERIC DEAN SCOTT, newyorški performer, igralec in pisatelj, ki živi in ustvarja v Ljubljani
I highly recommend the VN Lab to anybody interested in challenging themselves to making meaningful work – meaningful for themselves as well as for others, that is. We started out with an overall theme to work with. A starting point. The basic working method was to then come up with an idea, an action, something to show the working group, every day, at least one thing, with which to articulate that overall working theme.
This seemingly simple task turned out to be not so simple. Or to rephrase – whereas it was somewhat doable to present something that was somewhat clear to myself, when showing it to the others and then hearing their feedback…what THEY got from I was presenting….it became clear where the cracks were, what wasn’t so clear, what was perhaps merely habitual ways of behaving on stage that had no anchor in the reality of the room itself, what was perhaps relying on assumptions about the audience–performer relationship that perhaps should not so easily be assumed, what was avoiding dealing with the other, the spectator, and myself, in a very real way. And things like that.
I found this very challenging and very useful to explore. It challenged me to find a clear and logical way to build the event I was working on, to create to conflict in the room for real. Without assumptions. Or, if there were common assumptions, to use them in a different way, to problematise them, to make them conscious, conscious tools in the game. No sleight of hand, no magic tricks. A sort of full disclosure from moment to moment, leading to – hopefully – some surprise, something real, something that meant something real in the room. At least that is what I found myself going for. And I failed time and again.
The ideas of what to present became more and more difficult of come up with, because the criteria for these ideas, the bar we were aiming for was slowly revealing itself to be quite high. But not quite impossible. That was the maddening part at times. For sometimes, some simple little idea would pop into the mind – after hours, days, weeks of hitting the wall again and again – some simple little action to do onstage would drift through my consciousness…perhaps just something to buy myself some time until I could think up something “really deep” to do…and that little off-hand idea would end up hitting on something gold. Nothing huge. Just a seed. Something true. Which was enough. Because it turned out, at least for me, that this seed of an engine, of a game engine, a real game, would be the real starting point. From there, something could be developed. And this is what we all did. We dug around, we tried everything we could think of, we failed, failed again, failed better – until we had gathered up enough of these seeds of real stuff – stuff we could use. Then the developing started. Again, another mountain to climb,but at this point we at least knew, for the most part, what mountain we were climbing. Just as difficult, but quite exciting.
So a creative process. A rigorous one. Which I am very grateful for. Not least of which because of my Lab mates. For as the Lab went on, we all became more and more committed (and able) to giving the clearest feedback we could. This was most definitely because of the tone set in the room from the very beginning by Bojan and the other mentors, in our case Katarina and Grega. They asked for and gave committed, rigorous, insightful, human feedback from the beginning and in doing so showed how to do the same, how to be rigorous and clear and human and real. To not beat around the bush. That in itself, for me, is pure gold.
I guess I’m making it sound like it was some sort of Shaolin training, performance boot camp. Maybe so. But really, I could also say that the only thing I really needed to do was to show up. Every day. Completely. To be in the room and rack my brains and try my best ideas out. The rest just follows.
In the end, I developed a performance piece, which I presented to the public – with the help of committed support from Lab group pals and Bojan. A performance I’m very proud of.
I highly recommend the VN Lab to anybody interested in challenging themselves to making meaningful work – meaningful for themselves as well as for others, that is.
CSABA FORMANEK, performer
TESZT Festival blog, 27 May 2015
Back to the basics
Straight after the premier of Manipulations, the workshop held by Bojan Jablanovec, within the frame of TESZT Festival, began which is over by now. I’ve been waiting curiously to see what kind of an experience it will be to start from scratch again with Bojan, after going through a whole creation process. Who will attend? I wonder how they will react on this radical working method. What could three (half) days be enough for from this?
Bojan has developed the method of Via Negativa for many-many years. He has gradually left the inevitable routines of the institutionalized theatre behind. He has left behind the narration, the engagement in the written text, the acting in its conventional sense, and the burnishing of skills. Primarily, his work doesn’t focus on achieving aesthetical qualities, neither his method aims at this. It stimulates and strengthens creativity and makes the participants have a substantial commitment.
It takes you back to the basics of the theatre if you endure. It is not easy. Because there is nothing mystical in it. It’s not the alleged ritual roots of the theatre that Bojan has on the brain. He doesn’t aspire to bring his co-authors, the ones who take part in the work, into an ecstatic mood or state. Just the opposite: he teaches soberness, vigilance. To query and redefine our patterns in our thinking and taste. We need to think about what we are doing, about what we are seeing. We have to define ourselves as a performer and a spectator. To find a way to creative work, fruitful reception. We need to help each other in the difficulties of manifestation. Get rid of the unnecessary illusions, expectations.
Perhaps it is harder to tell about a presented etude, what we see in it, what our associations are, what it is about to us, than to come up with one. How should we watch theatre? How to watch each other, ourselves, our things? Do we think about what is happening for real, or we make categories following our schemes, compare and evaluate them? It is not that easy to speak about theatre at all, when we let go of our habits of expectations in theater, e.g. to be entertained, to delectate, to satisfy our sense of time, to admire the skills of the authors. What is left?
What do we do and why do we do it? This is the most frequent question of Bojan, to which it is not easy to answer. It is not easy to define us as authors. This is what these three days are about. What do we do, why and what do we think about what happened?
Everything can be shown. The theme is: the anger. Is there (personal) anger in us? Can we use it? How do we cover it up, hide it? Is anger really such a bad thing as we generally think about it? Why is it important to control the anger? What could anger mean in the society, etc.? Many questions open up and new questions show up along these questions.
At Via Negativa the theme is just a sort of a starting point. During the working process it can change in many way, depending on what we, the authors, bring into the common space. Through the theme everything that we would like to speak about gets a new light thrown upon, and what we would like to talk about – either consciously, either intuitively – throws a new light upon the theme.
For instance, Radu draws the contours of the shadows of the chairs in the room, then also the shadows of the people – who move away of course. Now he jots the precise time down, too. He does this until he runs out of chalk. He scrapes up the chalk-powder left from the previous drawings in order to be able to continue. Is this theater? No. It is a visualized thought, which opens a very deep relation to time and the questions of our presence. This is what we talk about and not the “performance” we could see from Radu.
Bojan is looking for these perspectives, thoughts, games and questions. The theatre can wait. We don’t know anything about theatre as long as we don’t know anything about ourselves. As long as we don’t know what to think about what we see, what we experience. As long as we can’t speak about it.
On the third day Bogdan seats us on two lines of chairs, facing each other, and builds a wall around us from folding screens. We sit, giggle and make jokes. He appears above our heads, walks along the beams of the gallery. That’s the place from where he musters us. “Are you angry?” – he asks. I am angry, because I am afraid that he will fall from there. The helplessness creates anger. In the others it doesn’t. How could we sharpen the focus of our attention, our imagination, so that the game won’t fall apart?
Obviously this type of work is not for everyone’s taste. More thinking, less joy. No one tells you what to do, no one tells you what to think. But isn’t this the reason why one attends a workshop?
We go to school, as well, in order to learn. Whereas attending the workshop of Via Negativa is worth to the one, who would like to deconstruct their knowledge and start the creation anew from this perspective, this poverty. Because often our (putative) knowledge is what shrouds the really significant things. Where our real self is, rather than the “stage” one. This deconstruction, this renouncement of our achieved results or the descent from the high tower of our skills is really painful. Uncomfortable. Sometimes a dry, meticulous work. It demands discipline, an inner driving force.
Time was very short. It ran out. It has just begun. Or everything is only about to begin…