Marking the 10th anniversary of Homo Novus, we have gathered 11 Latvian artists from various genres for a production of new small scale performances, installations or actions. These works will be based in the British theatre scholar Alan Read’s theory of “theatre as the last human venue” and structured as an event, unified in time and space.
In his book ‘Theatre, Intimacy and Engagement’, Alan Read writes: “The last human venue marks the location and moment of human beings’ awareness of their own eventual extinction. Performance, on the contrary, explores ways in which performance operates as an exciter of sentience, kick-starting our sense of being alive, acting as a pleasurable lengthening of device to extend our inevitable faith. Humans in this venue distinguish themselves from other animals through their experiencing of an extended childhood, in their ability to sustain a controlled, unbroken outward breath and by their unique capacity to aesthetically disappoint.”
‘The Last Human Venue’ programme includes performances by theatre directors Pēteris Krilovs, Vladislavs Nastavševs and Valters Sīlis, and the exhibition by directors Andrejs Jarovojs, Viesturs Meikšāns, set designers Monika Pormale, Izoldes Cēsniece, Reinis Suhanovs, fashion designers MAREUNROL’S and artistic collectives Nomadi and umka.lv.
3, 4, 6, 7 September 18:30-21:30 | Gardens / Departure from Strēlnieku square | 7 and 5* Ls
Christine Umpfenbach from Munich, works as a freelance director. She studied set design at the Kunsthochschule Weißensee in Berlin and then directing at Goldsmiths’ College in London. She makes documentary theatre that engages social realities, focusing on migration, labour and the city. Each project is based on intensive research. The performers are mostly non-actors, people engaged in other professions, old people, children, refugees. From 2000 to 2002 she and Antje Wenningmann, under the name C&A, directed the theatre of homeless persons, Ratten 07, in Volksbühne Berlin. She produced ‘Let’s go West 2003’ with residents of Wismar who lost their jobs after German reunification, the theatrical bus ride ‘Endstation West’ dealing with migration in Munich, and the ‘Win-Place-Show’ with former pupils of secondary schools. Since 2006 she has been involved in several city projects of the Münchner Kammerspiele. Recently, she works in Freiburg with priests from different religions.
Combining documental materials with fiction, Latvian artist Katrīna Neiburga creates stories based on personal experience, in which, alongside such unique categories as solitude or love, it is possible to find indications both to the woman’s social role structures and cultural historical references or critical commentaries on modern society. The artist wonderfully expresses herself through video which, supplemented by specifically elaborated sound material, results in an amazing and sensitive intonation of narration. She is interested in the lives of people, such as the peculiar community of tea mushroom growers, block housing inhabitants, girls met at nightclub bathrooms, women that work as taxi drivers. Katrīna has exhibited her works in Sidney and Moscow biennale, has been a candidate for Ars Fennica art prize (2008) and is the Purvītis Art Prize winner (2008). She regularly collaborates with the sound artist Andžonis and with the Latvian National Opera as scenographer and video artist.
Austrian artist and scenographer Rudolf Bekic has been living in Latvia for many years, contributing to the local cultural scene with neat, functional and precise set and exhibition designs. Hidden from the public eye in his workshop, is Rudolf’s handmade objects and mechanisms, resembling his own view of the world and art.
Zane Zajančkauska is an Latvian editor, curator, producer and a researcher of communities and different cultural phenomena. She is director’s assistant in ‘Lost Gardens’, researching the small garden culture and helping in communication with the locals.
Author and director: Christine Umpfenbach
Co-authors and performers: Asja Andrejeva, Konstantīns Barkovs, Anatolijs Bistrovs, Elizabete Bistrova, Zenta Naļivaiko, Gaida Petriņa, Ņina and Anatolijs Beļakovi
Video artist: Katrīna Neiburga
Scenographer: Rudolf Bekic
Dramaturg: Zane Zajančkauska
Sound artist: Andris Indāns
Video assistant: Zane Raudiņa
Producer: Sandra Lapkovska / New Theatre Institute of Latvia
3, 4, 6, 7
7 and 5*