K in Summercamp

K in summercamp – a performative installation

WERK X | Vienna AT 2018
Duration 4h

“We are the theatre that has a place for everyone, everyone in his [her] place!” reads the Natural Theatre of Oklahoma’s recruitment poster on the last pages of Franz Kafka’s unfinished novel Amerika. Along with many others whose curiosity is stirred by that poster, Kafka’s protagonist Karl, who had to leave Europe and arrives in America as an immigrant, finds himself in front of this poster after many trials and tribulations, including unsuccessful job attempts. After the auditions, a large group of those who got hired by the theatre boards a train that takes them to their new destination of working and living – to an unknown place with an unpredictable future. The narrative abruptly ends in the middle of this train journey, leaving the plot unfinished and opening up space for speculation: what is our future, where are we headed to, what have we said YES to, are we just a brick in the fortress of capitalism? Are we participating in a society arena or are we observers seated in the auditorium? Are we lured by the invitation and by trusting the word “welcome”, are we ready to risk and/or trade everything we have, solely based on a promise? Where do we position ourselves in the pyramid of a capitalist society? Is the yet unknown place already pre-defined and projected, no matter to where we move? Do we feel free if we accept the offer? Why do we move?

The authors of K in summercamp tackle these questions through a performative installation. It is a culmination of a five week research of the WienWoche Working group, formed through an open call for participants without a selection procedure. With a place for everyone, but with conditions to be negotiated and decided, the interdisciplinary group, with members coming from performance, visual art, literature, theory, stage and fashion design background – used Kafka’s writing as a trigger for a study of our contemporaneity. With its surgically precise depictions of power structures, administration and precarity 100 years ago, this classic still is a diagnosis our current social condition.

K in summercamp uses the very performance space and its surrounding spaces, as well as buildings’ mechanisms in creating paths, parcours and environments. The audience follows artistic interventions / stations that criticize, strip bare, illustrate or deconstruct key notions from the research: invitation as interpellation, migration, camp, precarity, media and ideology disorientation. The spatial dramaturgy leads from a flashy and seductive, mediatized ‘lobby’ into a more segmented and strict space of organization, control and regulations happening in front of our eyes. Locating Kafka’s iconic character K in the summercamp points out to the menacing omnipresence of the politics of the camp that still is the operating logic of society that functions on inclusion and exclusion.

By and with Elena Carr, Bojan Djordjev, Mirjana Djotunović Mustra, Jana Dolečki, Siniša Ilić, Asija Ismailovski, Srđan Knežević, Eva Kovač, Kristina Malbašić, Franziska Schindler and Mirjam Stängl
Artistic direction Siniša Ilić and Bojan Djordjev
Guest performers Amar Kulenović, Jan Liefhold, Vid Jeraj, Agnieszka Salamon and Eliah Stängl