Michał Libera & Wojtek Ziemilski
Charles Bridge, Prague
People reading out loud, together, on the street.
Such a simple form of collective demonstration. Perhaps the purest way of expressing common will and the most basic strategy of claiming the space. Being together, acting together and wanting together - naivety to the extent of being suspicious if not embarrassing. And rare.
It did happen, in Poznań. People stood together and they read. Nothing more. It was a public reading of the text of Rodrigo Garcia’s performance "Golgotha Picnic" and a protest against censorship. But these readings were also a claiming of a space, and a performative gesture of speaking-to-possess. At the same time, the taking over was executed as a theatrical performance with the use of the most ephemeral tool - voice.
The disturbance in the public sphere by an act so modest seems symptomatic. It reveals the background of the question "who owns the public space". How does the space become owned, even possessed and fixed with content? What are the strategies of spreading the message and reaching the others? And who are the others? How efficient - performative if you like - can people get with their voices? Can they reach universality? Can voice strategies become universal?
"Voice-over", a city tour and a live presentation, will form a two-chapter performative tale on owning, possessing and appropriating the space. The execution by Wojtek Ziemilski and Michał Libera will use techniques of reenactment, impersonation, playback and different forms of electrical and acoustical amplification to highlight the importance and ambiguity of the voice in claiming the space. Playing with the idea of voice as the ultimate human property, a signature and a proof of reality, they will explore the agency of the speakers (in the double meaning of the term). Referring to the neutrality and transparency of the air – voice's medium – they will deal with the politics and proxemics of open spaces.
The walk in the city will relate to owning and possessing and take as its stage one of the most crowded spots in Prague - the square in front of St. Salvador church. Can we take any of the Golgotha Picnic Poznań voice strategies and use them in this particular environment? Once in the conference space, this question will become a more private and intimate one.