↪ What do you mean by pause as resistance?
By pause as resistance we mean a radical reduction, or - where possible - a complete interruption of everyday activities in the Stage department of Tanzfabrik Berlin. We won’t use email, hold meetings, or have rehearsals. There will be silence, even if we* are all there, in the offices, in the studios, in the theater, and all working.
*We is intended here as inclusive. It implies whoever joins the pause. Staff of the institution, artists, audience members, partners…
pause as resistance is inspired by feminist literature (in particularly “Feminist for 99%”, “Wintering”), books about ecology and ecology of attention (e.g., “Down to earth”, “How to do nothing”) and the concept of Anthropause.
↪ What is the ”Anthropause”?
The term anthropause refers to the reduction in human activities caused by the first lockdown in March 2020 and the consequent increase in wildlife in urban areas. The term was coined in an article which appeared in the journal “Nature Ecology & Evolution” to denote “a considerable global slowing of modern human activities, notably travel.” The decrease in activities also led to a measurable reduction in seismic noise - during the Great Seismic Quiet Period. According to researchers, this state of activity reduction, deceleration, and seismic silence is unique in recent history and even since (seismographic) records began.
↪ What has it got to do with art and Tanzfabrik Berlin?
We are planning an organic evaluation, transformation, and possible reduction of our own activities, in response to the current ecological, social, and economic crisis. We want to ask: How should an art institution position itself at a time of war and climate change? How can we ensure diversity, accessibility and the right distribution of power and resources in our institution? How can we resist a system (capitalism) that is entirely product oriented and requires us (and the artists) to be constantly productive?
↪ Great! But why don’t you address these questions while continuing with the normal program?
Transformation is a process that needs attention, time, and resources, if it is to be taken seriously. No serious analysis can be done while attending to day-to-day work. One idea, suggested by Agnes Quackels and Barbara Van Lindt from KAAI Theater, is that each publicly funded art institution takes at least one “Rest Year” every 7 years. By “Rest Year” they mean a period in which the organization’s work of is suspended, a time-out to open up and look around, rethink the fundamentals, acquire new knowledge, re-connect with the city and current developments in the arts field. A year “off” that should be part of the normal life of every institution. It’s issues like that we in Tanzfabrik Berlin Bühne want to address with PAUSE AS RESISTANCE.
↪ But how will you be “working” if you are not producing?
“When performance artist Alma Söderberg starts a new project, she first spends days lying on the floor, doing, in appearance, nothing. And because doing nothing is not easy, she’s not doing nothing at home. No, she’s applying for residencies, in well-equipped studios, to do, as well as she can, what looks like nothing. Then, one day, she stands up and makes a new stunning piece. Doing nothing, but in an excellent way, is for Söderberg the necessary first step towards something new. Something else.” – From “The Jello, the Nothing, the Something and the Rest(s)” by Agnes Quackels, in dialogue with Barbara Van Lindt.
↪ Isn’t it a luxury to be able to pause and, for example, simply decide to not answer emails for a month?
Yes, we are aware that pause as resistance is a privilege and we are willing to share our resources with as many people as possible to enable them to pause as well. At the same time, as a western European Art organization, it is our duty – now more than ever - to take the time to honestly assess our work, our outcomes, and our trajectories in order to do better. pause as resistance is inspired by several feminist publications that argue for “doing less” and using resources differently as key strategies for counteracting the stress of capitalist production.
↪ I am an artist and would love to pause as well. Can you help me?
We issued two calls to artists in January to pause with us. If you missed them, or if you didn’t get selected, you can pass by Studio 5 in Uferstudios any Tuesday afternoon from 2pm to 5pm and check if there is anything to interest you.
↪ I am an audience member and would love to pause as well! What can I do?
You can join us! Studio 5 in Uferstudios is open every Tuesday from 2pm to 5pm to anyone who wants to join in, talk to us, find out what we are doing. Since the institution is “on pause”, no program will appear on our website, social media, or printed media this May.