Performance. Activation. Eighth Days of Performance Art in Lviv took place on 2-6 of September, 2015

Traditionally, the festival combined the School of Performance and displays and attracted unexpectedly vast audience not only to the shows, but also to the School’s studies. In unison with the stated theme, the festival boosted environment up, and, as organizers said, this year it reached its peak within the accustomed format. Performers from Belarus, Israel, Germany, Poland and Ukraine participated in the festival. Altogether, in four days 18 performances took place, and more than 20 students demonstrated their work on the School’s final.

The School of Performance, after submitting applications during August, accepted 50 people. Most of them were completely new scholars, who had never attended previous Schools. For four days they had four morning hours with Waldemar TATARCZUK – for novices, Zygmunt PIOTROWSKI – for all students, Sandra JOHNSTON – for experts. Lecture-performance «Iconic Symbol in The Art of Performance» by Janusz BALDYGA became a specific educational format of the School.

Many students decide on coming to the School from other cities and cover travel expenses from their personal funds; they appreciate opportunity to get extensive and broad experience in such a short time. Although the School doesn’t charge fees, students are supposed to provide themselves with accommodation facilities for this period. Many students keep returning to the School year by year, because every year at least one new lecturer with specific focus and stylistic is being invited – thus, the range of proposed practices is expanded and new experience is attracted. This year such a fresh academic stream has been achieved due to participation of Sandra JOHNSTON and Waldemar Tatarczuk; and it has been very productive.

More than twenty students demonstrated their works during a final show. The organizers claim that students’ shows always give an idea, how they have been affected by the School. As it happens every year three or four students will almost certainly go on working within the genre. Direct communication with artists is a key experience provided by the School, and this year it was successful, for sure.

Lecturers have been satisfied both with process, and results. It’s complicated to get satisfaction from work in such a short time; however Sandra JOHNSTON is sure that students’ incredible desire to learn is a key feature of SCHOOL’S success in Lviv. Art of performance is not represented in the academic education in Ukraine, due to this fact participants truly want to discover something new. You won’t find random people here, though not all participants have a degree in the Arts. Performance as a genre of unlimited technological palette attracts a variety of researchers from the field of the humanities and enables an access to the technologies applicable to many other areas.

Progress of the SCHOOL is noticeable – if in early years mostly light sketches used to be presented in the final shows, this year students demonstrated extremely powerful pieces, which could be claimed as self-sufficient; remarks had mostly technical character and didn’t deal with the idea of the work.

Vlodko KAUFMAN, curator of the DAYS OF PERFORMANCE, emphasizes, that the festival has featured a few issues for future. First of all, it is a promotion of the DAYS. We have never attracted such a big audience before –the festival’s attendance has tripled since last year. «Performance – is a very intimate genre, and requires a deep contact with the audience. Performer can keep up with more or less one hundred people – this is a normal contact audience. Depending on those factors location is being chosen and space is being organized.Now, we have to rethink the problem. How opened to the audience should it be? Where it should be shown? After all, performance must take place here and now. If the number of spectators destroys format, the meaning itself is destroyed, too», Kaufman shares with his observations and comes to conclusion that till next year changes in format and space will have to be rethought, because for now restriction of audience access is not acceptable.

Provocative intervention of outside performers into the body of festival was also a novelty of the DAYS. Such practice is common for many well-known festivals and organizers accept it positively; it also demonstrates the success of the festival among artistic community. The very format of the event provokes those decisions, so such spontaneous expressions of creativity aren’t taken for bad.

Lida DUDA and Vlodko KAUFMAN have summarized that festival is reaching its peak, and its future strategy must be rethought. Perhaps the next step will be to limit the range of genres – chosen direction or technological format will help to outline clearly the concept of the future DAYS. Niche trends, like sound, voice, power, plastic and etc., currently look promising.

The SCHOOL is being developed all the time. This year it has reached its allowable maximum of participants, thus if we strive for productive work, it’s time to think of rearrangement in educational system and organization of studies. This year for the first time we have had four lecturers; format «lecture-performance», chosen by BALDYGA, was very interesting – this is more responsive way of presentation. However, it’s well too soon, as it seems to organizers, to speak about preliminary selection of candidates.

Important achievement of the DAYS 2015 is a catalog, summarizing its work in 2008 – 2014. Practice of regular retrospection is crucial for such a delicate genre as performance. To be able to summarize, analyze, look back, we need a constant fixation and publication of results. Video versions of each performance of the DAYS are now being prepared. Catalog could be found in the gallery Dzyga.

Event organizers:  Institute of Conemporary Arts, Dzyga Art Assosiation

Partners:  Lviv City Council, Polish Institute in Kyiv, Embassy of Israel in Ukraine, Goethe Institute in Kiev, Foundation TransKultura, The Palace of Arts, Guest house in the spiritual and cultural center Arkhystratyh, Hotel George.

Participants of The DAYS were experienced and novice artists from Ukraine: Pavlo KOVACH, Yuriy SOKOLOV, Myroslav VAIDA, Oleksiy SALMANOV and Petro RYASKA, from Israel: Meir TATI, Ernesto LEVY and Tamar RABAN, from Great Britain: Sandra JOHNSTON, from Poland: Zygmunt PIOTROWSKI, Janusz BALDYGA, Waldemar TATARCZUK, Przemyslaw BRANAS, Szymon KULA, from Belarus: Yuras’ BORISYEVICH, Kostyantyn MUZHEV, group EKZARTSYSTYCHNY GESAMTKUNSTWERK, and Germany: Dorothea SEROR.

Locations of the festival were The Palace of Art end guest house Arkhystratyh” (20a Vynnychenka St.)

Curators of the Days of Performance Art are Vlodko Kaufman (Ukraine), Tamar Raban (Israel), Janusz Baldyga (Poland).  Project Manager: Lida Savchenko-Duda

Partners and organizers