Balancing Conflicts / Conflictual Balance


Balancing Conflicts / Conflictual Balance

Theatre Conference JAMU 2023

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The main topic of the 12th Theatre Conference JAMU 2023, which was held on November 9–10 in Brno, Czech Republic, was Balancing conflicts / Conflictual balance. We explored topics such as: Certainty vs. uncertainty in the life of theatre groups/institutions: desirable degree, adaptation strategies and options of dosing; Consciously entering into conflict: willingness, courage, fears, and potentialities; or Working with risk: conceptualization of uncertainty, conscious creation of the environment of controlled “danger”, creative strategies avoiding replication of proven composition schemes. After two years of exploring the frontiers of the theatre and beyond, we returned closer to the centre of performing arts, aiming to identify and explore various layers of the word “conflict” in the world of contemporary theatre and audio‑visual creation. Conflict is often studied as a dramaturgical and aesthetic theme. But what role does it play in the lives of today’s independent theatre groups and institutions? What do conflicts mean to us – a mere necessity, a draining burden, or a nourishing opportunity? And what is their role in the never-ending quest to keep theatre up-to-date and alive? At the conference, we explored these questions in connection with obtaining funds, day-to-day functioning of theatre communities, shaping artistic visions, the creative work itself, and other issues. 

Our two-day gathering included papers, performative lectures and work demonstrations which covered topics such as an intimate insight into the creative work of an artist focused on the theme of a productive conflict (with oneself); conflicts which may happen when creators from outside collaborate with a public institution; the position of an individual theatre‑maker or performer in an institutionalised theatre company compared to uncertain independent work; ethically problematic cases in Polish theatre institutions; artworks reflecting the war conflict in Ukraine. The second day of the conference was focused on the presentations of our invited guests. We explored in detail several unique artistic projects which revealed many layers of the object under our examination. Katrīna Dūka spoke about a cross-disciplinary piece titled In The Name of Love. Þóranna Dögg Björnsdóttir and Antonín Šilar put the topic of this year’s conference in the context of cultural and historical conflicts depicted in the theatrical adaptation of the novel Moonstone. Our gathering was closed with a presentation of a very special performance, Prompt Dancer, which was created for the conference itself and sought to understand the implications of using AI tools in performing arts and especially in dance.