HOW TO DO THINGS BY THEORY (2010-2012), platform for performing theoretical activism

The project is conceived as a long-term initiative, the goal of which is to empower the contemporary performing arts scene towards a critical self-reflection, self-organization and alternative methods of knowledge-production and sharing. It operates by connecting actors of the local (Île-de-France) and international scenes who are challenging their openness, curiosity and ability to transform themselves, being based on common goals and objectives.

HOW TO DO THINGS BY THEORY is both a research project and a regular program of visible public events involving local actors from the community and visiting audiences. This regularity is meant to secure a vivid and reliable, albeit unimposing, praxis of thought-action – the actors may vary but the imperative is that the practices consistently develop. The program features various formats of which the most recognizable are: reading groups, theoretical lectures, cultural policy discussions, research of different medias of documentation, publications, and a practice of mobilizing (wider) community through self-organized film screenings and discussions. Local artists and theorists are included as active participants of the platform, so that over time the role of TkH in the platform should “fade out”, while local initiatives gradually take over certain programs. All the programs are kept small-scale and low-budget. That way they can be followed up in various contexts and under various production circumstances.
 
The mission of this theoretically activist platform is not to resolve social problems but to incite the contemporary art scene to become more aware of its social context and production conditions, to re-think its own position, place, practice and discourse and, above all, to be more active in transforming a feeling of “cannot” – within the limits or horizons of possibility – into its own, self-organized “can”. We are looking to stage scenes of dissensus (mésentente), in the Jacques Rancière sense, that will performatively reconfigure debates and orders of the possible.

In 2010 the focuses of our research were the cultural context of Paris (through the research laboratory Re-Hallucinating Contexts and cinema program illegal_cinema) and immaterial labor in performance (through Public Editing sessions and publishing a joint issue of TkH journal and Le Journal des Laboratoires). The focus of our current activities – inter-disciplinary research, illegal_cinema program, and a series of public events in Aubervilliers, Amsterdam, Berlin, Belgrade, Novi Sad, and Zagreb – are the issues of performance and the public.

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Members of TkH - Walking Theory: Ana Vujanović, Bojana Cvejić, Marta Popivoda, Bojan Djordjev et Siniša Ilić
Blog: www.howtodothingsbytheory.info

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Project realized with the support of the INHA (2010), the Allianz Cultural Foundation (2011) the international program of residencies of the Ville de Paris/Institut Français aux Récollets, and in collaboration with Périphérie (Montreuil) and b_books (Berlin)