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Workshop III

Record of downfall

Writing as political act
20/10 – 25/10/2008

By Edith Draxl (A)
With Helgard Haug (Rimini Protokoll) (D), Ulrich Peltzer (D), René Pollesch (D), Uwe Schutte (D) & Stefanie Wenner (D)
In German language

We live in realities that are fragmented and distorted by the media and that increasingly cause the subject to disappear. Political conditions are increasingly becoming de-politicised. The privatisation of politics by no means brings the individual additional room for manoeuvre, but rather the very opposite. As a result, art that sees itself as a place of freedom in bourgeois tradition, is being questioned and challenged. No surprise that art is currently becoming political once again.
The workshop examines this process for artistic forms and working situations whose fundamental medium is language. Language generates and obfuscates political circumstances. In the field of politics it serves the purpose of agitation and manipulation, to assert lobbyists’ interests. How can and should ‘language artists’ react – is there a different way out to mere deconstruction of language and, associated with this, mere agitation, the absolution of mere rhetoric? How can the individual locate itself in this field? Does the subject that struggles for freedom still exist, or has it disintegrated and, with it, any kind of narration? But what, then, are we fighting for in the re-politicisation of art? What about power – the central category of politics? Do not all language-critical and subject-critical discourses and positions serve to mask ###
power, thus making them nothing more than its servants? The workshop focuses on these and other questions – associative, fragmentary and questioning.

Co-produced by steirischer herbst & uniT Graz

Edith Draxl studied German studies, theology and psychology. After gaining work experience in education and psychotherapy, began working in the cultural sector. First directing work and teaching posts, then founded uniT in 2000. In this context, development of models of author promotion with an emphasis on drama.

Helgard Haug studied at Giessen’s Institute of Applied Theatre Studies. She works with Stefan Kaegi and Daniel Wetzel in various constellations under the Rimini Protokoll label. Among her plays, “Shooting Bourbaki” received the NRW-Impulse-Price in 2003, “Deadline” (2004) and “Wallenstein – eine dokumentarische Inszenierung” (2006) were invited to the Berliner Theatertreffen, and “Schwarzenbergplatz” was nominated for the Austrian Nestroy theatre prize in 2005. “Mnemopark” received the jury’s prize at Berlin’s “Festival Politik im freien Theater” in 2005 and “Karl Marx: Das Kapital. Erster Band” won both the audience prize at the Stücke07 festival in 2007 and the 2007 Mülheimer Dramatiker-Preis at the Stücke07 festival. In November 2007, Haug, Kaegi and Wetzel received a special prize of the German theatre award “DER FAUST”, and they were awarded the European Theatre Prize, in the New Realities category, in Thessaloniki in April 2008.

Ulrich Peltzer moved to Berlin in 1975, where he studied philosophy and social philosophy until 1982, graduating in psychology. Since then he has worked as a freelance writer and has ###
published five books. Four deal with his experiences in Berlin and one in New York. A characteristic feature of Peltzer’s city novels is that the author does without a conventional realistic description of the outside world. Instead, the focus is on reproducing the protagonists’ processes of consciousness. He has received the following prizes, among others: the Bertelsmann scholarship at the Ingeborg-Bachmann competition in Klagenfurt in 1992, the Berliner Literaturpreis from the Stiftung Preußische Seehandlung in 1996, the Anna-Seghers prize in 1997, the SWR-Bestenliste prize in 2000, the Niederrheinischer Literaturpreis of the city of Krefeld in 2001, the Bremer Literaturpreis in 2003, and the Berliner Literaturpreis for his complete works in 2008.

René Pollesch studied with Andrzej Wirth and Hans-Thies Lehmann at the Institute of Applied Theatre Science in Gießen from 1983 to 89. He took part in various projects supervised by the visiting professors Heiner Müller, George Tabori and John Jesurun. After several sojourns at German theatres, including Theater am Turm in Frankfurt am Main, Pollesch received a working scholarship at the renowned Royal Court Theatre in London in 1996. A scholarship from Akademie Schloss Solitude in Stuttgart followed in 1997. In the 1999/2000 season he was director at the Luzerner Theater, and in autumn 2000 at the Deutsches Schauspielhaus in Hamburg. Since 2001 he has headed the small Prater der Volksbühne theatre (part of Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz in Berlin). René Pollesch was awarded the Mülheimer Dramatikerpreis in 2001. In 2002, a critics’ survey held by the Theater heute magazine voted René Pollesch best German playwright for his “Prater-Trilogie”. In 2006, René Pollesch received the Mülheimer Dramatikerpreis for his play “Cappuccetto Rosso”, in the Volksbühne Berlin / Salzburger Festspiele production, for which he also received the audience prize. [1] He was awarded the Nestroy theatre prize for Best Play for “Das purpurne Muttermal” in 2007.

Stefanie Wenner studied philosophy, sociology, art history and comparative literature in Cologne and Berlin. Assistant to the director at the Zentrum für Literaturforschung in Berlin.
In addition to her research in aesthetics and politics, she is co-founder of the »Diskursive Poliklinik«, that focuses on performativity research (science) with the means of art. She is currently working as a script editor at HAU in Berlin.

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