"Weaknesses of friendships. Performed by two."
By Ewa Majewska and Wojciech Kosma
November 6th, 2015
7:00pm (doors) 7:30pm (performance)
Duration 2 hours. Please arrive on time.
At Interstate, Ewa Majewska and Wojciech Kosma will present their new performance collaboration. The piece’s central element is, similarly to Kosma’s other works, the affective and emotional basis of human relationships. On this occasion, remaining close to Majewska’s theoretical writing, the collaborators will accentuate the frailty of those relationships in the neoliberal organization of production. Confronting the traditional perception of a scholar and an artist with their own biographies, and reversing the standard gender divides, they will consider the paradoxes of contemporary identity making. They will stage a two-hour long intense emotional interaction, by both combining and contradicting academic knowledge with artistic competence. Their encounter will explore how precarity becomes an universal issue due to the recent changes within capitalism, particularly in the context of two Polish emigrants, whose semi-peripheral, Slavic backgrounds collide both with the Western culture and various incarnations of the excluded otherness.
Earlier performances of Wojciech Kosma, originating in 20th Century avant-garde performance, improvisational theatre and Post-Modern dance, emphasized the boundaries of human experience and its inevitable affective imbalance. In those works the performers attempted, either successfully or not, to negotiate those pitfalls with love or friendship. Such strategies of dealing with weakness and crisis are obviously common in many other emotional scenarios. By exploring them, one generates knowledge, establishes bonds with the self and others and comes out of alienation. However, as proved by critics like Sara Ahmed or Lauren Berlant, those gestures are not innocent. Solidarity sometimes leads to hatred, e.g. towards immigrants, and love for the other—to withering of the self. These conflicts and the ways of overcoming them are the primary interest of Majewska and Kosma.
As performers, in response to the shift of art towards immateriality, its breaking away from direct reproduction of social relations, the collaborators don’t insist on communicating “the truth” of their
friendship. Instead, they focus on what bounds and what separates the contemporary human beings, conditioned, as suggested by feminist authors, by a symbolic bulimia obligating to an ever-increasing consumption and self-control. They take a closer look at “cruel optimism,” Lauren Berlant’s terms suggesting that any human ties, even if promising pleasure and fulfillment might, and often do, change into an unbearable burden. By performatively exploring their own relationship, Majewska and Kosma want to ask how, in the age of “wasted lives,” prophesied by Zygmunt Bauman, strong bonds between adults are anyhow possible.
About the collaborators
Ewa Majewska is a feminist philosopher of culture. She studied Philosophy, French Literature and Gender Studies at the University of Warsaw, Poland. Since 2003 she has lectured at the Gender Studies at the University of Warsaw. She was a visiting fellow at the University of California, Berkeley, University of Orebro, Sweden and at the Institute of Human Sciences in Vienna, Austria. Since 2014, she’s a postdoctoral fellow at The ICI Berlin Institute for Cultural Inquiry with a project “Chasing Europe, or on the Semi-Peripheral Publics.” She is an author of two books and numerous articles in e-flux, Signs and other journals and collected volumes. She is an activist and a candidate in the upcoming Polish parliamentary elections from the newly created leftist “Razem” party.
Wojciech Kosma is an artist. Since 2011, he has developed an ongoing, performative practice in close collaboration with Dwayne Browne, Sjoerd Dijk, Sofia Lomba, Llewellyn Reichman, Brian Doose, Ingrid Sattes, Timothy Murray, Ligia Lewis, Paulita Pappel, Judith Vrancken, Dylan Aiello, Gordon Douglas, Irene Moray, Jessica Lauren Elizabeth Taylor and Yunuen Rhi. Their performances have been held at Chisenhale Gallery, London; Schinkel Pavillon, Berlin; Galerie Kamm, Berlin, Germany; Human Resources, Los Angeles, USA; Transmission, Glasgow, UK, among others. He’s a 2015 recipient of Scholarship for Visual Arts awarded by the Berlin Senate. Since September 2015, he’s an artist in residence at the Triangle Art Association in New York.
Supported by culture.pl
Hayley Silverman, "An Old Friend,": 2015, laser-transfer, canvas, 52 in