Critical Practice (Made in YU)

Critical Practice is a programme oriented toward empowering discursive reflections on contemporary performing arts and their breakthrough to the larger public. As one of seven participants I am part of the 2nd cycle of the programme which took place from April 2015 – March 2016 with meetings in Belgrade, Skopje and Amsterdam.

In September 2016 CP 2nd cycle participants released our publication “A Problematic Book” during the BITEF festival in Belgrade. The book collects texts written by the participants along with contributions by Ana Vujanovic, Bojana Cvejic and Mårten Spångberg. You find the PDF here: problematic-book-web-final.

“When one is gifted with time, the question must then be asked: what would I do with it? Between the time of the present and the time not yet lived, there
are preparations to be made. How can we begin to define critical practice if not through this lens? To critically practice a form of collective cooperation as resistance to capital, against politically brutal circumstances, we could try embodying principles of reflexivity and accountability into our daily lives, as practical symbols of a meaningful future at a time when we have to learn of a social world that doesn’t yet exist.” (Aisling Marks, introduction to “A Problematic Book”)

In contextual terms, Critical Practice is focused on, but not restricted to, the post-Yugoslav region. Among the reasons for such an orientation are, on the one hand, a lack of continual and publicly visible critical writing about contemporary performances and performing arts events in the region and, on the other, the strong recent development in performing arts theory coming from this context. Therefore, this venture draws on the already existing platforms generated by the magazines TkH (Belgrade), Maska (Ljubljana) and Frakcija (Zagreb), as well as the Nomad Dance Academy (The Balkans). Its purpose is to advance the professional development of emerging authors (writers, critics, researchers, theoreticians) from the region and elsewhere and to encourage a more profound, more visible and more accessible critical reflection on the contemporary performing arts, enhancing their visibility and stimulating dialogue with audiences. With such an ambition, the disciplinary framework of the programme is predicated on issues, questions and knowledge coming from critical theory, artistic practice and cultural policy. Commonly seen as separated fields of knowledge and expertise, here theory, artistic practice and cultural policy are considered interconnected constituents of the performing arts scene. In our view, there is no critic who can profoundly reflect on a piece of art without being aware of the cultural context or the theoretical debate that surrounds it or that it provokes. Against this backdrop, our programme is envisaged to produce a vivid transversal discussion within and about the performing arts – among the participants as well as in public. Read more about the programme here.